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Death by Water (Phryne Fisher, #15)
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Death by Water (Phryne Fisher #15)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,201 ratings  ·  93 reviews
'Who are you?' asked the doctor. 'You are not the standard cruise passenger, I can tell you that.' 'Thank you,' said Phryne in a self-possessed manner. 'You are correct. I am a lot of things, some of which do not concern you, but mostly I am Phryne Fisher.'

The nice men at P&O are worried. A succession of jewellery thefts from first class passengers is hardly the best
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Paperback, 290 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2005)
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Silent in the Grave by Deanna RaybournCocaine Blues by Kerry GreenwoodDeath at Victoria Dock by Kerry GreenwoodThe Green Mill Murder by Kerry GreenwoodThe Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry
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9th out of 85 books — 19 voters
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59th out of 425 books — 107 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,898)
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Siria
This is definitely one of the weaker installments with the series. I got the sense early on that Greenwood was trying for a sort of Murder on the Orient Express solution, but what we ended up with managed to be anticlimactic and confusing rather than satisfyingly clever. There are also some racial issues here which go beyond a realistic evocation of the kind of racial attitudes which a group of upper class white people were likely to hold in the Australia and New Zealand of the 1920s. There are ...more
Lia
I haven't read any of the Phryne Fisher series for a few years but I remembered it really fondly. I mean, it's fluff but good fluff - sweet, sassy crime fiction set in Melbourne in the 1920s, vaguely liberal-feminist and pro-unions. But fuck this book has a totally ridiculous plot, the worst resolution ever and heaps of dumb racist white people. And it's not even set in Melbourne.

It's set on a trans-Atlantic cruise and the entire cast of characters is (a) helpful servile people of colour (b) wh
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Kathryn
Normally I like to read books of series in sequence and this is book no. 15 in the Phryne Fisher series and I’m only up to no. 11. But when I found out there was a Phryne Fisher book set on a cruise ship going to New Zealand, just as I was doing in the second half of January, I simply had to take it along for my shipboard reading material!!

Reading it under similar circumstances to its setting certainly gave it more relevance to me, and despite the fact that Phryne was travelling in the 1920’s, i
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Harriet
This Miss Fisher is the first I've read after enjoying the first video series (I'm still trying to get to see the second). I really enjoyed it and I think it stands a good chance of replacing Agatha Raisens as delightful fodder to clear my palate between heavier reading.
Vivienne
Again Kerry Greenwood has Phryne tackles a classic Golden Age Detective scenario: the locked room mystery. In this instance the case takes place on board a cruise ship sailing between Australia and New Zealand.

I found it one of the most appealing of the series with lots of period detail and an emphasis upon New Zealand and Maori culture as well as life on board the ship, the S.S. Hinemoa. Greenwood created this fictional ship as there was not much information available on the actual cruise ship
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Sherry Chandler
The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher is invincible, insatiable, and incredible.

She's also a clothes horse.

She associates with Wobblies, prostitutes, and policemen as well as the aristocracy in 1920s Melbourne.

She drives a Hispano-Suiza and flies a de Havilland Moth.

Her most favored lover is a suave Chinese clan leader.

She lives life with panache. With, in fact, a different panache for every occasion. She wears them in her straight black hair.

Kerry Greenwood is akin to Terry Pratchett in her wit, tho
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Chris Davis
If you are looking for a murder mystery, move along.

However, if you're looking for a book filled with nautical trivia and lectures on the Maori culture imparted while rich people sit around a table and eat really well described food, then this is the book for you.

This was by far the worst of the Phryne Fisher books, and that takes the random and vague Green Mill Mystery and rambling Raisins and Almonds into consideration.

The death in the title does not occur until approximately page 197. (Note:
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Phryne Fisher combines work with pleasure as she and Dot take to the high seas to find out who is stealing the jewels from around the first-class passengers' necks on the dance floor. Of course she is given the Imperial suite, and the cruise ship adventure is like a house-party mystery on the water. We have the meal at the captain's table, the masquerade dance, the disappearing corpse--or is it? What's upsetting the ship's doctor? And why does one passenger eat nothing but omelettes at every mea ...more
Kay
Phryne (rhymes with briny) Fisher is an original. She lives in Australia, but was raised in England, spent time in France and has had many and varied experiences. As a private detective in Australia, she uses all she has learned to solve mysteries. This is another series with an historical base, Australia in the mid to late 1920s, a time and place I knew nothing about. After the first 15 volume, I know a little about a lot of different subjects , thanks to Phryne. In this story, Phryne takes a j ...more
Damaskcat
Phryne Fisher is not looking forward to Mr and Mrs Butler going away for a fortnight while she has her sister, Eliza and her partner Alice staying with her. Fearing that she will have a disorganised and noisy time of it she decides to accept a request from P&O to go on a cruise to see if she can discover who is stealing passengers' jewellery.

She takes her companion, Dot Williams with her, and looks forward to a quiet two weeks with a little light detecting on the side. When she arrives on bo
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Abbey
BOTTOM LINE: #15 Phryne Fisher, Investigator, 1928 Melbourne & S.S. Hinemoa; cosy PI with bite. Asked to investigate the theft of jewels from a luxury cruise line, Phryne finds herself amongst some really strange birds when she sails on their next trip around Australia and New Zealand. Another satisfying trip with Phryne into her ultra-chic world; still one of my favorite series after fifteen entries - it hasn’t disappointed me yet.

At first I thought this story was only fair (for this usual
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Bev
Death by Water by Kerry Greenwood is a cozy little installment of the grownup's Nancy Drew, Phryne Fisher. This mystery series is set in 1920s Australia and stars the Honorable Phryne Fisher--rich, beautiful and smart child of the Jazz Age. Like Nancy, she can keep up with the men and boys and give as good as she gets. She can handle a pistol and herself in a fight. She drives a beautiful, fast car and can fly an airplane. She swims like a fish and can dance all night. And she run circles around ...more
Marianne
Death By Water is the fifteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. This instalment is a version of closed room mystery, with the closed room being the First Class section of the P&O liner SS Hinemoa on a voyage from Melbourne to New Zealand. Phryne accepts an invitation from P&O to help them catch a jewel thief who has managed to boldly lift diamonds, pearls and emeralds from passengers on three separate cruises, once on a crowded dance floor. ...more
Sarah
It's always fun to revisit the world of Phryne Fisher. She is like a comforting friend to turn to when I need some on the light side to read. She is a friend I would like to have in real life, although some of my friends do incorporate some of her positive traits. I like Phryne Fisher as a character because she is an independent woman ahead of the time she lives in. She thinks for herself, and does what makes her happy, no matter what convention dictates, and no matter how people look at her. He ...more
Hope
I enjoyed the ship setting, although the reveal of one subplot struck me as weird--but my heart will go on!

Edited to add: As some other reviewers have mentioned, there are definitely some issues with depictions of racism and characters who are meant to be 'enlightened' in ethnic clothing, although Greenwood doesn't seem to have fallen as far down the rabbit hole with her idealized British colonial characters, as say, Laurie R. King in O Jerusalem and Justice Hall (or was it Kingdom Hall?).
Sally
In "Death by Water" Phryne is driven to work as an investigator on a cruise ship by the level of domestic turmoil at her home. Her role onboard is to find the jewel thief who has been at work on the ship over several recent cruises, as the shipping line is keen to save their reputation.



Again, Phryne is self assured, fabulously fashionable, confident and capable of holding her own against some very nasty characters.



The descriptions of the interior of the ship were beautiful and evocative and the
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Anne
Another fun Phryne story!

I love the Phryne series for its entertainment value, it is easy reading or listening if you do the audible book, yet engaging as well. The characters are interesting and I like the way Greenwood is developing them. I also enjoy the tidbits of Australian history provided. I also enjoy being able to go back and forth between reading on my Fire and listening to audio on my phone.
Marcia
I found this book boring but interesting. For me there was to much information about New Zealand and the titanic. The main character was bored on the boat and so was I.

The book gave me a pretty good indication of what it would be like to be on a cruise. It didn't really sound very exciting at all. Phryne seemed bored at times as well.
Mona
Phryne Fisher is an intelligent, sexy, and stylish lady detective in 1920s Melbourne. In this book she attempts to solve jewelry theft and murder on a luxury cruise ship. Along the way she and her trusted companion Dot Williams try to eliminate suspects from among their co-passengers, many of whom hide guilty secrets.

Kerry Greenwood has created one of the most memorable female detectives in recent literature. Phryne Fisher is smart and fearless, an independent woman doing what she loves best - s
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Regina
Audiobook

A luxury liner, jewel thieves, a murder in the final third, and some Maori culture thrown in as well. Entertaining as usual though I did find the solving of the heists a bit contrived.

I really wish the reader, Stephanie Daniel, would not sing; she has a beautiful speaking voice but her singing voice is truly grating. Tis a shame really, as the actress in the televised Australian series, Essie Davis, has a lovely alto voice when she sings.
Marlene Debo
Surprised me -- I liked it. Not a mystery reader.

PROS Liked the character Phryne: smart, independent, flapper detective... Liked the setting on a luxury cruise ship in the 1920s. She surprised me with the end. I didn't know who did it.

CONS Pretty repetitive chapter after chapter.
Melissa Burke
Misleading

With attempts to steal a sapphire, a mistaken murder , a wife beater and an adorable but scrungy cat, this story with a taste of Maori culture thrown in is interesting, misleading and very entertaining.
Hannah Baker
I fell in love with the Phryne Fisher series from watching the Australian tv show....and the books are just as delightful! Full of period color, dress, manners, and activities, these books will wish you away into another captivating world.
Ms_prue
Sneaky Kerry gets back to the classic Phryne and Dot mystery-solving team by sending the pair out of Phryne's increasingly bustling household and onto a cruise to beautiful New Zealand.
Kasia James
Phyrne Fisher, the female James Bond of 1920's Melbourne is back to solve a series of jewel thefts aboard a P&O ship Hinemoa to New Zealand. The ultimately unflappable flapper, she sails through murder attempts, difficult company and lots of gin-and-tonics to solve the mysteries before the police, in a series of gorgeous outfits.
This is not one of the adventures which has been recently serialised for television by the ABC, and so is a new story to discover!
As entertaining as ever, this novel
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Debbie Maskus
#15 in the Phryne Fisher series and this one explores a luxury cruise for Phryne and Dot. Phryne is investigating the disappearance of jewelry taken from First Clas quests. Again, Greenwood shows the life of the rich and their carefree life styles. The book makes many references to the sinking of the Titanic and the changes made due to that disaster. As usual, Greenwood has sumptous quotes at the beginning of each chapter--this time Dickens and Chaucer. There is also a correspondence between peo ...more
Alisonpaddock
This is the first of these adventures that I thought could have used a tighter edit. Good plot, good characters, but seemed overlong. No other complaints!
Caroline
What a delight! I'm glad I stumbled across this at the library. Kerry Greenwood is a new-to-me author that I hadn't heard of before. I'm going to go back and read the first in the series and work my way through - I'm happy there are so many. What a treat!
Cindy
I loved this for the ambience of the luxury liner cruise in its hayday. Also, although I suspected the villians, I was not sure until the end. Phryne is always a delight.
Writerlibrarian
More like 2 1/2 stars. The plot doesn't make any sense, the Maoris are described like either children or innocent. Greenwood does try to be fair in her description of the time but it reads like a fairy tale. I think that the author fell in love with her subject aka cruise ship of the 1920's and lost control of her passion. Because the setting is shown not told, you are on the ship. But the whole mystery about the thieves and the murder and the Christie like setting of the usual suspects doesn't ...more
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Kerry Greenwood was born in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray and after wandering far and wide, she returned to live there. She has a degree in English and Law from Melbourne University and was admitted to the legal profession on the 1st April 1982, a day which she finds both soothing and significant.

Kerry has written twenty novels, a number of plays, including The Troubadours with Stephen D'Arcy,
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More about Kerry Greenwood...

Other Books in the Series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
  • Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2)
  • Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
  • Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)
  • The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)
  • Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
  • Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)
  • Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)
  • Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)
  • Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)
Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1) Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2) Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3) Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4) The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)

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“He could pass off the inferior bottles on tables seven and four. Table seven knew nothing of wine, sending back a bottle of Riesling as "corked" because it had bits of cork in it, the imbeciles. Table four had gulped down a very special old pale brandy as though it was common wood alcohol, which was probably what they had been drinking because they had said that his brandy lacked bite. They deserved inferior burgundy. The bottles that had been stored too close to the stove might have enough bite by now for table four. A wine waiter's revenge may be long in coming, but it arrives in the end.” 0 likes
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