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Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher #10)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  2,132 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
The sassy Phryne Fisher sets the seamy side of Sydney alight in her tenth adventure.

Phryne Fisher has plans for her Sydney sojourn - a few days at the Test cricket, a little sightseeing and the Artist's Ball with an up-and-coming young modernist. But these plans begin to go awry when Phryne's maid discovers her thoroughly respectable sister has left her family for the murk
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Hardcover, 228 pages
Published 1999 by Allen & Unwin
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nikki
I’m not sure why I didn’t review Death Before Wicket when I read it, in the correct order, before Away With the Fairies. Not that it really requires solid anchoring in the continuity: most of the usual characters are missing from this book, and Phryne is totally out of her usual context. It’s, not coincidentally, not the most engaging of the books.

The worst thing, for me, is that there’s this whole magic and mysticism plot where Phryne pretends to be Isis and breaks a magical/hypnotic hold on a
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Katie
Feb 08, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phryne Fisher is on holiday. She means to take the train to Sydney (where the harbour bridge is being built), go to a few cricket matches, dine with the Chancellor of the university and perhaps go to the Arts Ball with that celebrated young modernist, Chas Nutall. She has the costume of a lifetime and she's not afraid to use it. When she arrives there, however, her maid Dot finds that her extremely respectable married sister Joan has vanished, leaving her small children to the neglectful care of ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I was dissatisfied with this book, as Ms Greenwood brought far too many things to the table and tried to include them all. It reads like a ragbag full of jumbled scraps and bits instead of a patchwork quilt where everything fits together in a satisfying whole. Too many characters, too many burning issues, too many rants and not enough of a light touch.

Dot's sister has gone missing and Phryne wants to find her. Two university students beg her to find out who emptied the Dean's safe of valuable ar
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Ashley (yAdult Review)
Feb 27, 2012 Ashley (yAdult Review) rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, blog, tbr-2012, audio
Originally posted at Nose in a Book

In her 10th novel Phryne goes on a trip! To Sydney! It was nice to leave Melbourne for awhile, and there was a cricket back story and even a story involving Dot, Phryne’s companion. Yet this story could not be saved for me. It was dry, it was dull, it was boring. I missed the usual pizazz that is Phyrne Fisher in this story. Part of her is still there, but at the same time she changed a lot from the previous stories. Maybe that is because her lover, Lin Chung i
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Nancy
Aug 17, 2014 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
This is my Phryne Fisher summer. I have been binging on Kerry Greenwood's books as well as the PBS Mystery Series (on Netflix). I am a huge admirer of Greenwood's character--a striking, savvy, smart girl who is more than a teeny bit naughty.

But, a lot of Phryne Fisher's charm was missing in this book:

I missed the elaborate descriptions of her beautiful clothes;

I missed her devoted butler and their household routines;

And, most of all, I missed her repartee with Inspector Jack Robinson.

So, a lot
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Kate
Feb 03, 2016 Kate rated it liked it
As usual, Phryne has an interesting mystery to solve, this time a theft from a university safe and Dot's missing sister. I didn't love the mystical elements (Phryne channeling Isis? She seems too hard-headed for that) but the research is apparent, and I know more about Aleister Crowley, academic life, cricket, and Sydney in the 20's than I ever expected to.
Sarah
Oct 06, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really gets 3 1/2 stars. As one of the longer Phryne Fisher mysteries, there are a number of crimes Phryne must investigate. She moves out of Melbourne for the time being & goes to Sydney to investigate the disappearance of a sacred papyrus, jewelry, and an indigenous axe from the university there. To compound the problem, Dot's sister has gone missing & is suspected to be involved in (gasp!) prostitution.

This one is a little different from the others because the occult plays
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Renae
This was definitely one of my least favorite Phryne Fisher novels. Greenwood has always had a lot of literary/cultural allusions in her books, but this time she took it so far as to be pretentious, not to mention indecipherable to the common lay reader (even a rather well-read one, such as myself). I felt like this book was dealing with subjects only known to academics, and as the author made absolutely no effort to invite the reader into this world, it was difficult to engage in the text. I was ...more
notyourmonkey
Thoroughly enjoyable little academia-set mystery, but it turns out my ability to give a shit about Cricket Games In Posh-Set Mystery Novels Between The Wars is limited to one, and that vacancy has already been filled. Thankfully, flipping through those pages rapidly had little to no bearing on the rest of plot. But still, yergh. No faster way to kill the action than to put a detailed description of a sporting event that has zero effect on the plot in the first quarter of your book.
Anna Wells
Jan 22, 2011 Anna Wells rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I do love and would definitely recommend the Phryne Fisher series and have read almost all of them but if you are planning to add this one to your collection - give it a miss.

The narrative is typical of the series but in this case the conclusion of the mystery was implausible and unsatisfactory and the side or B story annoyed me personally but I won't spoil the ending if you are going to make the mistake of reading.
Kim
Aug 08, 2014 Kim rated it it was ok
I get that Phryne is supposed to be this nonconformist free new woman. I'm about the most rabid liberal I know. But I'm getting a bit tired of the over the top sex stuff. I mean really, jerking off a college student at a nightclub? And then keeping the handkerchief around your neck as an amulet? Ick.
Kathryn
Always a pleasure to listen to Stephanie Daniels narrating a Phryne Fisher mystery. This one involved some cricket, which is certainly not one of my favourite sports, so the parts of the book spent watching cricket matches were rather tedious, but thankfully not too long.
Martha Bullen
Jan 08, 2016 Martha Bullen rated it liked it
Like many mystery fans, I discovered Phryne Fisher through the TV series set in Melbourne in the 1920s featuring the unflappable, clever and daring Miss Fisher. So I suggested that my mystery book club read one of her mysteries for our January meeting. I chose Death Before Wicket due to good reviews, and I found it diverting. Phryne is in Sydney to solve a case at the University of Sydney ... and she and Dot soon discover that Dot's sister has gone missing, leaving two small children and an extr ...more
Anastasia
Aug 06, 2016 Anastasia rated it really liked it
Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood is the 10th book in the Phryne Fisher Mystery series. Phryne is holidaying in Sydney to attend the cricket and is asked to look into a safe burglary at the University and to find Dot's sister who has gone missing. Another interesting book in the series, although the usual supporting characters are missed. It just doesn't seem as fun without them. Otherwise it was still entertaining and Phryne still came out on top, although she seemed to miss all the others ...more
Donna
I've been loving the Phryne Fisher mystery series, but this one left me a little disappointed. For one, the story takes Phryne away from Melbourne and all of her delightful family and companions except for Dot. The lack of those fun characters really took something away from this book. It was interesting to read about her going to Sydney, but I'm sure it would have been even better had I known a bit more about the city. Also I hated every dull passage about cricket, which is a completely incompr ...more
LJ
First Sentence: Sydney struck Phryne Fisher, quite literally, in the face.

Phryne Fisher is off to Sydney for a bit of cricket, sightseeing and to attend the Artist’s Ball. She is barely off the train when two young men, students at the University of Sydney, ask for her help. Exams have been stolen from a safe in the dean’s office and their friend has been accused. Phryne is also soon asked by Dot, her maid, to find her sister who has disappeared leaving behind two small children with Dot’s less-
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Gillian Murrell
Sep 13, 2016 Gillian Murrell rated it it was ok
Shelves: wobble-2016
This was a rather odd story where Phryne is in Sydney with Dot. Dot discovers her sister is missing so Phryne decides to investigate at the same time she is approached by 2 students who enlist her help in proving their friend did not break into the schools safe and steal the exam papers along with a mystical artefact. Phryne was possessed by Isis at one point, throw in some random sex scenes in fact Phryne is obsessed with having sex or thinking about if she would consider having sex with most o ...more
Jenn Konkel
After 10 books I've come to two conclusions: the books just keep getting bigger with worse and worse writing, and Phryne is basically a conceited slut. I really liked the tv series based on these books, but I'm not sure that ill continue reading unless my library picks them up or I get them free.
Loretta
Jun 06, 2016 Loretta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1920-s, australia
This is my first book of the Phyrne Fisher Mystery series that I have read.
It is also somewhat historical as these stories take place in the mid-1920's between the two world wars. In this novel Miss Fisher, although born and raised in London is currently living in Australia. She and her maid go on holiday from Melbourne to Syndey; partly just to have some fun and watch cricket (which Miss Fisher loves) but also to help two college men locate some very important articles stolen from their Univers
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Hannah Sutton
Nov 01, 2015 Hannah Sutton rated it really liked it
Death Before Wicket, book number 10 of the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series by Kerry Greenwood, was a twisty book with black magic, snake venom, blackmail, and certain people M.I.A. The difference of setting from Melbourne to Sydney was a nice change, which gave it a different sense of adventure and also new people to meet along the way.

Something that I particularly enjoyed about the book was the fact that there was more than one problem to solve for Phryne, but they all still ended up blen
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Nate Briggs
Jun 28, 2015 Nate Briggs rated it really liked it
We arrived on Miss Fisher’s doorstep in a “bass-akward” kind of manner: first by the television series from Australian Broadcasting being “recommended” by the Affinity Engine in Netflix, and then discovering that there is a whole shelf of books following the Honorable Phryne Fisher through her career as Melbourne’s most discerning, delectable, sexually-active, and wealthiest female detective.

For someone who tries to write well, it’s hard to shake the idea that “more” equals “less”. When biograph
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Suzanne
May 18, 2015 Suzanne rated it did not like it
It is, in short, a hot mess. It seems to want to be an homage to Dorothy Sayers crossed with -- whoever was writing supernatural mysteries at the time. There are too many characters, too many subplots, and far too much padding. For the first time, I was bored. Too many instances of "suddenly for no reason," too many coincidences, too many gratuitous and vulgar sex scenes trying too hard to be innovative. At the same time, the detailed descriptions of Phryne's period clothes, which were one of th ...more
Matt Williams
Mar 14, 2015 Matt Williams rated it really liked it
In the preface for Mike and Psmith, P.G. Wodehouse says "I must apologize for all of the cricket in this book." I fully suspect that in the twilight of her career, hopefully many years from now, when she will no doubt be Dame of the Order of Australia for services to literature, Kerry Greenwood will be presiding over the authoritative collection of her works, she will insert a similar apology in the preface to this entry.

The cultural tie to the 1920's is the inclusion of Egyptology and related o
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Connie
Apr 20, 2015 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In Death Before Wicket, author Kerry Greenwood has researched academe, Sydney (up the road from her hometown of Melbourne), Egyptian mythology and archaeology, Australian aboriginal life, mining, magic, religion -- and cricket.

When I visit family in Australia around Christmastime every few years, I take a little cricket handbook and try to learn a bit. I've learned at least not to walk in the lounge where the telly is on and ask: What's the score? Better questions are: What's happening? Or: How
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Erin Stuhlsatz
Mar 04, 2015 Erin Stuhlsatz rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Phryne goes to Sydney for dual purposes: to watch a lot of cricket and to solve a mystery (who has framed the scholarship boy for breaking into the Dean's safe to steal exam papers?). The plot thickens as dear Dot's sister seems to have disappeared (into the not-at-all respectable Sydney underworld), someone is possibly trying to kill said scholarship boy, there's ALL SORTS of academic drama, and poor Phryne takes almost the entire book to find a suitable partner to sleep with.

As always, I skip
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Kathleen Huben
Jan 08, 2013 Kathleen Huben rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Phryne Fisher is off to Sydney where she solves the disappearance of a number of items from a collge safe at the University of Sydney and helps Dot locate her missing sister.

I usually enjoy Phyrne Fisher but I really could not get into all the cricket discussion. There were simply so many play-by-play descriptions of the cricket games that I lost interest in trying to follow the other stories and characters.
Jessica
Aug 01, 2016 Jessica rated it liked it
Started out fine but got weirder as it went on.

Example: Phryne gives a hand job to a college student she met not even an hour previously, then wipes up his semen with her handkerchief and then has it sewn into an amulet which she wears in between her breasts? Gross, bizarre, possibly insane? Take your pick, but it's definitely not something I ever want to read about.

I don't mind occult things but this story was just sloppy and the different plot elements didn't fit together. It was like the st
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Martha Bratton
Aug 01, 2016 Martha Bratton rated it really liked it
I picked this as my first read of Miss Fisher because it hadn't been dramatized on PBS. Phryne is much more sultry in the books than in the slightly more wholesome TV series. But of course, I don't get to see the fabulous wardrobe. This one was difficult for me to follow toward the end because I don't understand cricket (who does?). But I was impressed with the bibliography, which made me think maybe Kerry Greenwood didn't understand cricket before writing the book either. I like very much the i ...more
Deanne
Jun 17, 2013 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimethriller
Phryne takes a trip to Sydney, so a lot of the usual characters are missing. Miss Fisher has two mysteries to solve, a break in at the university and a missing person.
Lots of fun, though I was concerned about Phryne for a while, normally she's been to bed with one of the men in the book within the first 20 pages, maybe it was the heat in Sydney.
Margaret
Dec 31, 2014 Margaret rated it it was ok
This book sort of dragged. On the plus side, it is set in Sydney instead of Melbourne, but I found some of the plot pretty grotesque (semen soaked amulets?). I don't mind that the "death" part comes later - for the first time there is no murder - but it seemed to take an unnecessarily long time to get to any resolution.
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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)
  • Away with the Fairies (Phryne Fisher, #11)

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“Come to the jacaranda tree at seven o'clock and you will hear something to your advantage. Destroy this note.'
No signature, no clue to the identity. Just what sort of heroine do you think I am? Phryne asked the air. Only a Gothic novel protagonist would receive that and say, 'Goodness, let me just slip into a low-cut white nightie and put on the highest heeled shoes I can find,' and, pausing only to burn the note, slip out of the hotel by a back exit and go forth to meet her doom in the den of the monster - to be rescued in the nick of time by the strong-jawed hero (he of the Byronic profile and the muscles rippling beneath the torn shirt). 'Oh, my dear,' Phryne spoke aloud as if to the letter-writer. 'You don't know a lot about me, do you?”
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“Phryne had defences against almost any argument, but not against two pretty young men at her feet. Very decorative they were and she might have uses for them.” 1 likes
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