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Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher #3)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,591 ratings  ·  258 reviews
When the 1920s' most glamorous lady detective, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, arranges to go to Ballarat for the week, she eschews the excitement of her red Hispano-Suiza racing car for the sedate safety of the train. The last thing she expects is to have to use her trusty Beretta .32 to save lives. As the passengers sleep, they are poisoned with chloroform.
Phryne is l
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Hardcover, 151 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2.5* of five for the book, 4* of five for the series.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries episode 2 was Kerry Greenwood's third novel, MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN. Four stars for the episode! My review is at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

These episodes, the series in general...such a treat. So satisfyingly beautiful to look at, and the problem of Greenwood's almost taciturn take on exposition is handled by the visuals. An excellent marriage.
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Miriam
What this country 1920s Australia coming to these days? A body can hardly take a train without being chloroformed or horrifically murdered or having molested orphans palmed off on her. And it was such a short book, too! When you subtract all the time spent talking about clothes and seducing the boring college boy (not that he held out long) it's a wonder any detecting got done at all.
Brenda
As Phryne Fisher struggled to wake, she was assaulted by a dreadful smell – a strong smell which made her feel she was swimming up through a very thick substance. Fumbling for her Beretta she shot out the window of the fast moving train and when a gush of cold air hit her, she could feel her senses gradually returning….

Phryne and her maid Dot had decided to travel by train from their home in Melbourne to Ballarat for a restful few days, little knowing the nightmare they would soon be embroiled i
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Kathryn
Another well-written installment and one that I quite enjoyed--for the most part. Unfortunately, one of the later chapters was decidedly un-cozy in tone -- unsavory men and young, innocent girls and selling them into awful professions -- but the humanity of Phryne and her friends got to shine the more for it. Even so, I'm hoping that the other books in the series follow more along the lines of "Away with the Fairies."
Abbey
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best of this long series IMO, as we get to meet two people who are going to become very close to Phryne in the future - Jane and Ruth. Their introduction might have been pure melodrama, but Greenwood only very slowly spins out their odd stories, which resolve in a rather grisly - albeit satisfactory - manner.

Almost as contrived as an Edgar Wallace or Sax Rohmer tale, but with Greenwood's nicely light touch the plot just flows along and as long as you can manage to take t
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Anastasia
Murder on the Ballarat train by Kerry Greenwood is the third Phryne Fisher Mystery book. Fast paced action and adventure from when Phryne foils plans to chloroform the passengers on the Ballarat train. She is hired to solve the murder of one of the passengers as well as help another girl on the train who has lost her memory and is found to have been molested. I enjoyed this book very much. Non-stop action kept me reading through to the end making it a quick read. I loved catching up with and fin ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
The third and I hope final set-up novel in the Fisher series, in which Jane and Ruth and Ember join Phryne's menage. Not Ms Greenwood's best work, very little substance. A quick light read, but I figured out who the baddy was almost immediately after said baddy made an appearance. Not much in the way of red herrings for either of the mystery threads involved. There was a rather major failing, in that it is repeatedly stated that "you can't be hypnotised if you don't want to be" and yet mesmerism ...more
LJ
MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN (Amateur Sleuth-Australia-1920s) – G+
Greenwood, Kerry – 3rd in series
Allen&Unwin, 2005- Trade Paperback
Phryne Fisher and her companion Dot are on the Ballarat Train. Phryne awakens realizing the first class car is filled with chloroform fumes. She opens the windows, saves the passengers but realizes that the quarrelsome mother of one of the passengers is missing. The mother’s body is found badly broken and Phryne agrees to find the killer. Additional, Phryne resc
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A.M.
Phryne hates chloroform, so when she finds herself almost passed out on the floor of the first class carriage, she pulls her small gun from her purse and shoots out the window. She breaks it with her shoe heel later to cover that she carries a gun. She thinks of everything.
But once they have stopped the train, opened all the windows and roused all the passengers, they find one is missing. The daughter’s face is badly burned by the chloroform and her aged mother is missing. When they find the mot
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Jo
This one was much better then Flying Too High, which thank god they skipped in adapting the series to tv. Unfortunately, I already knew who the murderer was from the show, so there was no suspense at all. This left the problems with the book in more glaring relief. It would be wonderful for Miss Fisher to be bad at a single thing, just for variety. This is also the first one I read in hardback instead of on my kindle, and it was revealed that I am not an amazingly fast reader, instead they are a ...more
Renae
I found Murder on the Ballarat Train to be just as strong, if not stronger, than the previous books in the series. I do enjoy it when an author is able to keep up standards over the course of a long-running series—it really doesn't happen too often. The only real drawback to this book was that the murderer was a bit too obvious, though it didn't affect how engaging and compulsively readable the book was as a whole. Besides a murder, Greenwood concerns herself with a child prostitution ring, a hy ...more
Agnesxnitt
I am a confirmed fan of the tv series based on these books, but this is the first one I have read - thanks again my excellent local library :) I will try to track down more - with self-imposed austerity measures in place my days of mad spending sprees on Amazon are things of the past (if only temporarily) so I am dependant on my local library and second hand book emporia.
Phyrne, the Honarable Miss Fisher, is a bit of a girl one way and another, with confidence and money enough to do what she lik
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Dallass
I adore the TV series adapted from this series, but had never really read any of the books. This was the first book I read in the series, and although I'm not usually a fan of Australian period series, I was swept away by Miss Fisher. A great whodunit, with great characters, vibrant settings and amazing fashion.

Will definitely be picking up other books in the series.


oh, and for those who watch the series the book is very different from the episode and well worth a read.
ms bookjunkie
Story: Absolutely delightful. I love Phryne so much, and I especially appreciate her straightforward attitude toward sex. I love that the series seems to highlight the daily perils of girls and women who are not in a privileged position. 4 stars

Narration: Wonderful. I don't know how accurate her accents are, but I like them, and her voices (both male and female) are a pleasure to listen to. Distinct. Great basic narrative. Also…she sings—really well. 4-4.5 stars
Marina
Some spoilers.

The series is progressing nicely. I still can't help but compare to the TV show, but I like it nonetheless.

What this book suffered from was the meandering storylines. While I was able to follow them quiet easily, the fact that the two mysteries has little to do with each other, was distracting. Greenwood should just focus on more and make it a little harder to solve. The villains of this story were a little two obvious. The scary thing is that the villains are very real.

Men like Al
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Damaskcat
Phryne Fisher and her maid Dot are travelling by train to Ballarat when someone tries to chloroform the whole carriage and an elderly lady is murdered. Thanks to Phryne’s quick thinking no one else suffers any lasting ill effects from the frightening experience. Phryne is asked by the victim’s daughter to investigate the murder.

I enjoyed this fast paced story and thought it was well plotted. This is the third in the series Bert and Cec the taxi drivers find themselves investigating a mystery of
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Patty
I learned about this series from the TV show from Australian Broadcasting Company. I love the costumes and Roaring 20's settings. The plots sometimes have a few holes in them, but they are nice and light. The characters are so fun. Phryne Fisher is a lady detective, horning in on the police work. Sometimes a lady can get information better than a policeman. She's also a pretty risque, independently minded flapper!
Nikki
It's times like this that I wish you could give 3 and a half stars to things because I genuinely enjoy this series of books. I find them funny and quirky and they are really easy to read. I like the characters and the plots and I love that they're set in 1920's Australia which is a setting I don't know much about. I'm quite stingy about handing out 4 and 5 star reviews because I have to love a book for it to get 4 and I have to love it and be unable to stop thinking about the many ways in which ...more
Laura Morrigan
While I usually enjoy these books, I have to agree with some of the reviewers and say that all the slimy characters and references to paedophiles and sexual slavery left me with a distinctly nasty taste in my mouth and an unfriendly feeling towards humanity in general. This eventually wore off.

However, this is not half as enjoyable as the other Phryne Fisher books, which, while dealing with murder and kidnapping, are usually fun adventures with wonderful food, clothes and exciting and dangerous
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Lorraine Montgomery
After watching Season One of the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries , a TV series produced in Australia, and enjoying them so immensely, I decided it was time to read one of them. As it happens, this particular book, Murder on the Ballarat Train , was one of the mysteries I had watched, so it's easy for me to compare the book to the episode in the series.

While the series (books and TV episodes) takeplace in Melbourne, Australia, in the 1920s, this story begins withthe Honorable Phryne Fisher, tra
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David
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sophie
Aw, this one was fun. It's got the arrival of Jane and Ruth, and the creepy hypnotist guy, and some Bert and Cec goodness, and A KITTEN! I think Greenwood must be a cat person, because cats keep showing up and I keep loving it.

Miss Fisher's Home for Wayward Girls is up and running, and of course there's a murder mystery to solve, but in these books figuring out the culprit doesn't matter so much--it's the characters' interactions that are the real treat. Phryne gets a new gentleman friend, who p
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Alyssa
On a train trip to visit family, Phryne wakes up to a pungent smell. Chloroform. She follows the smell back to the source which leads her right into a couple of mysteries. Who killed the old woman whose compartment was the source of the chloroform and who is the young amnesic girl with a ticket pinned to her coat? Murder on the Ballarat Train has all your favorite elements of a Phryne Fisher mystery: beautiful boys, loveable Communists taxi drivers, the flaunting of social convictions and of cou ...more
Alissa
Loved it ... 4 and 1/2 stars!

I was feeling let down after the second book in the Phryne Fisher Series. It wasn't bad ... just it wasn't up to the caliber of the first book. So I went into book #3, Murder on the Ballarat Train, not knowing quite what to expect. I am very happy to report that it is quite fabulous!

*possible spoilers ahead*

In the third installment, Ms. Fisher and her companion, Dot, are headed to Ballarat via train to visit relatives of Phryne's. During the trip, someone disperses c
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Gerry
Not quite like Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express because once the murder, which at first looked as though it could have been an accident, has been committed the action moves away from the train. Phryne Fisher, a very forward 1920s' young lady, is the amateur investigator and the police are grateful for her foresight in helping solve the crime. The Australian setting certainly provides a different background to a story that moves along at a gentle, but rewarding, pace.
Rose
Phryne sighed ... After all, this was a murder inquiry, and she had deliberately chosen this profession. "I could have stayed in Father's house and arranged flowers for the country," she reminded herself, and swept forward to greet the visitors.

* * * * *

Four and a half stars, really. It had a handful of elements I wasn't wild about (I have real problems with hypnotism, particularly as a plot point -- it's just a pet peeve -- and I can't decide if the voodoo scene was an acknowledge of different
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Lorena
I really love this series. Phryne (which I only learned in this volume is pronounced to rhyme with "briny") is a really fantastic character. Kerry Greenwood has created the ideal portrait of what a flapper should be. Heck, I've been a vegetarian for almost 20 years now, and reading this book has me almost wishing I could throw on an enormous fur coat (one of several, of course) and sashay out to save the world from evil-doers.
Kimberly
I discovered this lighthearted series from the ABC (Australian) TV show via Acorn TV. The books are richer and great fun.

This book starts with Phryne and Dot on a train - with the whole car being chloroformed. Phryne saves them by shooting out a window with her trusty gun. At least 1 victim has to take a while to recover. A different take than most books that use chloroform.

During the course of the story she picks up a few more strays, a new lover, in addition to solving 2 separate crimes. I ha
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Bryan Higgs
Well, this is the third in the Phryne Fisher series, and is another enjoyable romp. I enjoyed it, including some of the writing -- lots of tongue-in-cheek!

In my review of the first Phryne Fisher book [https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...], I mentioned that the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC, not to be confused with the American corporation of the same initials) had produced a season of 13 episodes of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries", and that they were available on Netflix. My wife and
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Caro Kinkead
I discovered Phryne thanks to the excellent Australian television series (available on Netflix, Series 3 coming soon), which led to a desire to read the books. If you've encountered the lady only through her screen appearances, there are some decided differences between the source material and the dramatization.

What the means for me is that I'm enjoying a different story in the books than what I see on TV, and while I may know who the murderer is, I don't necessarily know the motivation or some
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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)
  • 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)
  • Away With the Fairies
Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1) Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher, #2) Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4) The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5) Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)

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“She was sensible of the fact that while there were two sets of masculine arms to fall into, and one of them her current pet, Phryne had fallen into Dot’s.” 0 likes
“I looked over Jordan, and what did I see? Coming for to carry me home A band of Angels coming after me Coming for to carry me home.” 0 likes
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