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Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,574 Ratings  ·  1,352 Reviews
Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher solves theft in 1920s London High Season society, and sets her clever courage to poisoning in Melbourne Australia. She - of green eyes, diamant garters and outstanding outfits - is embroiled in abortion, death, drugs, communist cabbies - plus erotic Russian dancer Sasha de Lisse. The steamy end finds them trapped in Turkish baths.
Paperback, 175 pages
Published April 18th 2007 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1989)
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Delia Binder No, they're not - Phyrne's much younger in the books (late Twenties), and Jack is a decade older (early Fifties) and still married.

I believe the…more
No, they're not - Phyrne's much younger in the books (late Twenties), and Jack is a decade older (early Fifties) and still married.

I believe the "Caskett" relationship between Phyrne and Jack initially came about as a result of casting the fortysomething Essie Davis as Phyrne (who I think is more believable, given the character's accomplishments), and her obvious chemistry with co-star Nathan Page as Jack. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Richard Derus
Nov 21, 2013 Richard Derus rated it liked it

COCAINE BLUES (Phryne Fisher #1)
Poisoned Pen Press
$14.95 trade paper, available now

Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher solves theft in 1920s London High Season society, and sets her clever courage to poisoning in Melbourne, Australia. She - of green eyes, diamant garters and outstanding outfits - is embroiled in abortion, death, drugs, communist cabbies - plus erotic Russian dancer Sasha de Lisse. The steamy end finds them trapped in Turkish baths.

Mar 19, 2016 Phrynne rated it it was amazing
I first read this book a long, long time ago and I had forgotten just how good it is. Since then I have read the whole series up to date and have enjoyed every one of them. In this first book we are introduced to the amazing Miss Fisher and we quickly find out the basic facts about her charmed and charming life. I enjoy all the little details about life at that time, about the clothes they wore (and Phryne Fisher wears lots of different clothes. Sometimes she changes four or five times in a day! ...more
Dana Stabenow
May 06, 2015 Dana Stabenow rated it really liked it
A fully enfranchised flapper in Melbourne after the first War, Phryne Fisher is a heroine after anyone's heart, and Greenwood's prose does her full justice. Take this, for example:

Phryne Fisher had a taste for young and comely men, but she was not prone to trust them with anything but her body.


Phryne, carrying the cocktail, decanted it unobtrusively into a potted palm against which she had no personal grudge, and hoped that it would not give her away by dying too rapidly.

In this first novel sh
Mar 07, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I am madly in love with the savvy, promiscuous, and fashionable Phryne Fisher. The best part is that I just now discovered the series: 19 books in all so far (Cocaine Blues is the first)! I picked up the newest in the series at the lib and read a few pages and was hooked. I forced myself to put it down and go get this one and start at the beginning (see, Delee, I'm being good!). Such fun. Five stars!
Sep 27, 2014 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm well and truly addicted to this series now. First I read the most recent entry, Murder and Mendelssohn. Now I've read the first book. On to the others. It's possible to see how Greenwood has developed both her characters and her writing style, but it's also obvious that she has had an over-arching theme from the beginning. I also enjoy how she manages to address contemporary themes in the guise of 1920s issues.

Onward to more Phryne Fisher mysteries!
Quickly revealing the identity of the petty thief at one of the society events of the season set the Honourable Phryne Fisher on her next journey – interviewed by the Colonel and his wife, they requested she go to Australia and rescue their daughter, Lydia, from the clutches of her husband Andrew, who they were sure was poisoning her, slowly but surely; he would inherit a large sum of money on her death.

Phryne accompanied her friend, Scottish doctor Elizabeth MacMillan on the ship across to Melb
Apr 11, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Let me begin by saying that Phryne Fisher is one of my favorite characters to come along in awhile. After reading only a few pages, I felt that here was a girl to befriend! I'm afraid that I'd be rather more like her maid, Dot, "Oh, no, miss. Surely nice girls don't wear dresses like THAT!" but there is certainly something to admire in Phryne's wild exuberance for life, and her passion for following her own mind and heart, despite what her upper-crust society would say about it! Even if she does ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Lorena rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars. I think the best 4-word summary of this book would be "Nancy Drew Gone Wild." (Which, in my world anyway, is high praise.) Kerry Greenwood makes the most of her Roaring 20s setting and her glamorous heroine. Phryne Fisher is not without her flaws, and she is not entirely unscathed by life, but she is refreshingly free of needless self-doubt and insecurity, which makes for a nice change from many of the endlessly neurotic characters that populate so many modern books.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I would never have come across this book without the huge master lists created by the members of the Around the World in 52 Books challenge that I've been participating in since January. The book title under Australia caught my attention, and when I read the description, I thought it sounded like a fun read. A lady detective in Melbourne, in the 1920s?

I wasn't wrong. I haven't had so much fun reading a mystery novel in a long time. There were moments that made me laugh, and others where I was of
Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher travelers back to Melbourne, Australia after years abroad. But she isn't there on a social visit. A couple has asked her to investigate why their daughter gets terrible ill now and then. Is her husband trying to poison her?

It always a bit tricky reading a book after watching a tv series based on it, and vice versa. But I, despite all the difference between the book and the tv-series still enjoyed the book immensely. But I must admit that I miss the sexual tension bet
Aka Cocaine Blues. I did actually try to read this once before, and really didn’t get into it — I don’t think I read more than a couple of chapters. Looking at that review now, I think I must’ve been really cranky that day, because all I complained about was adjectives. Which, yes, are present… but not nearly as bad as I seemed to think back then. Perhaps a case of finding the right book at the right time, because reading this during the readathon, I loved it!

Even the first time, I was impressed
Book Concierge

Phryne Fisher was born in poverty, but is now a wealthy heiress. After she quickly and discretely solves a theft of diamonds at a party, she’s asked by another guest if she might be willing to try to find out what is ailing his daughter. Seems every time Lydia goes to her husband’s home in Australia she takes ill, but as soon as she returns to England she quickly recovers. Bored with the social life in and around her father’s country estate, and equally bored with the “charitable ladies” ch
Mar 11, 2016 Ariel rated it really liked it
I too became aware of Phryne Fisher first from the Netflix series. Set in 1920's Australia, Phryne is played by the excellent Essie Davis. I am so excited to see that Essie is going to appear in Game of Thrones. Essie imbues Phryne with charm and sophistication, you can't help but love her. The Phryne in the book has the same endearing qualities. She is a young, wealthy unmarried women who doesn't mind hopping in bed with a fellow and makes no apologies for it. But she is not just a shallow cari ...more
Cocaine Blues is set in the 1920. The stylish and wealthy Phyne Fisher travels to Melbourne Victoria on behalf of an English couple to uncover the mysterious illness surrounding their daughter Lydia, who they suspect is being poisoned. Once Miss Fisher settled down at Windsor Hotel, she set out to mingle with the socialite’s of Melbourne to discover a little more on Lydia and her circle of friend, but soon finds herself caught up in, and investigating cocaine dealers, backyard abortions, and cor ...more
ADVERBS. Save me from the adverbs!

As you can tell, I didn't get along with this. I'm not sure what the prose was aiming for, but it was unbearable for me. It's littered with, well, adverbs. Clumsy inquits. I think there's an attempt at period prose, but if you've read Golden Age crime fiction like that of Sayers, it just looks bad.

The good points are that the main female character has full agency, even regarding her sexual habits and everything else: it's unusual, I think, for people to consider
Feb 01, 2016 Robyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I knew I would love this and I did - probably worth five stars for sheer enjoyment. A wonderful introduction to the Honourable Phryne Fisher, lady detective extraordinaire of Melbourne.
Dec 17, 2013 Insouciantly rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Yes, I admit it, I'd never even heard of this series until the TV show came out. But I fell in love with Phryne on the big screen, and I need more of her. I'm not sure if its because I saw the show first, or because they just did such a fantastic job, but I think this is one instance of the show being JUST AS GOOD AS THE BOOK. And by that, I mean, I also loved the book. Some minor differences, but so far they're staying very true to the characters and the plots. And it turns out that the only pl ...more
Dec 21, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it
Do one thing every day that scares you.

I think Eleanor Roosevelt's message found the Honorable Phryne Fisher and echoed inside a mind more than willing to allow it to take over. I honestly believe that must be one of Miss Fisher's life mottos. I don't think she goes on these adventures just out of curiosity or for the sake of the adrenalin, I think she's looking for meaning. Or I might just be reading too much into things, as per usual.

"Phryne can not get enough of adventure and the reader can n
Ruby Rose Scarlett
Sep 03, 2010 Ruby Rose Scarlett rated it it was amazing
I first heard of Kerry Greenwood a few years ago - her series of mystery books focusing on Phryne Fisher was presented amongst various cozy mysteries, this kind of mystery which prohibits swear words, sex or violence. I was then between two minds - on the one hand, it seemed really I wasn't the target audience for this as I don't avoid all those things in my reading or indeed in real life (except for the violence part, obviously). On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of The Thin Man movie series wh ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books are currently hugely popular in Australia, but I'm afraid I will do the rare thing and say I rather the tv series. It's very different, and much less... Frantic, might be the right word. Greenwood 'borrows' from one of my recent reads, Dorothy L Sayers' Strong Poison, with her poison mystery, but in between that there're abortionists, rapists, communists, and drug dealers. All too much, I think. And Phyrne is all rather annoyingly good at *everything* in the book version. She's a bit ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Trish rated it did not like it
First let me say I listened to this book on audio and the reader, Stephanie Daniel, was totally annoying. Her voice was pleasant, and her accents fairly decent, but her inflections made the whole reading unbearable. Every sentence had at least one exaggerated high or low. It was like listening to a cheesy tour guide. Several times I almost stopped listening to it, but since I had actually bought the audio book I figured I had to get my money's worth.

As for the actual story it was pretty cheesy t
Dec 10, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-shelf
This is the first in the Phryne Fisher series written by Kerry Greenwood and published by Poisoned Pen.
Phryne is a wealthy heiress with a talent for solving crimes. Bored with polite English society, Phryne heads to Australia to see about a woman that could be a poisoning victim. Phryne plans to stay in Australia and start her own private detective business. This first case has Phryne chasing down hack abortionist, a cocaine ring and of course finding out if her friend's daughter is being poison
Aug 05, 2014 Alissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Enjoyed this thoroughly! A friend has been trying to get me to read this series for years and I finally relented. I've been drowning myself in M/M for awhile now and was looking for something new. She actually has the majority of books in paperback and brought them to me ... it's been quite the experience reading an actual REAL book.

This book had everything that interests me: (well, except for two hot male main characters)

1. An awesome heroine in Phryne Fisher with a past I MUST know more about
Apr 12, 2015 Catsalive rated it it was amazing
The first of Phryne's adventures from Australia's most elegant and irrepressible sleuth.

The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honourable Phryne Fisher - she of the green-grey eyes, diamante garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions - is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing
Goodreads ate my long review and I can't be bothered to retype it. Blegh.

Short version: there were things I liked, and things I didn't like that much. Might read more some day but have no particular desire to.
"A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance."

Is there a better way to return to reading and reviewing than write about a light, bubbly, vibrant, and sparkly mystery? When my studies calmed down a bit and my brain began to miss fiction, I started a ridiculously long classic, but then I noticed a book whose blurb made my heart beat a little bit faster. A detective story that is set in the roaring twenties and whose main character is a bold
Miss Phryne Fisher is a fantastic character; I first encountered her in the TV show Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. I prefer my mystery novels to be dark and hard-boiled but in the effort to be a literary explorer, I decided to pick up the first in the Phryne Fisher novels. What I love about the TV show plays a small part in this cosy crime novel.

Set in 1920’s Melbourne, Cocaine Blues follows Miss Fisher as she tries to hunt down an illegal abortionist who is leaving so much damage that the wome
Oct 11, 2015 Tracey rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star
This is the first book in the Phryne Fisher series, and it's golden. The introduction is priceless, as the young lady puts Sherlock Holmes to shame in the instantaneous and almost offhand solving of the theft of a necklace.

The whole book is a bit like that, brisk and breezy and offhand. Phryne Fisher is a creature unto herself, unconcerned by anyone's opinion and a bit puzzled, if anything, if it comes to her attention that someone disapproves; she's the sort who, if disapproval is detected, wi
In Cocaine Blues, the first volume in the long-running Phryne Fisher mysteries, Kerry Greenwood has set up all the necessities for a delightful series. The story was interesting and fast-paced, the author’s prose was simplistic in an elegant way, and the Honorable Miss Fisher herself was a delightful character I certainly want to read about again.

I picked this book up because I wanted to read more mysteries, and this series seems to have a rather favorable reputation from readers of the genre. I
Oct 25, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it liked it
Once an impoverished hellion, Phryne Fisher inherited a life of wealth and privilege when the Great War killed a number of her relatives. Now a titled young woman with money and free time to spare, Phryne turns her jaded eyes toward detective work. In this, her first book, she investigates a rapist abortonist and a cocaine smuggling ring.

Phryne is a good detective, but its through a combination of experimentation, courage, and persistance. She's not a detective in the line of Sherlock Holmes, p
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The World's Liter...: Australia: Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood, introduced by Ema 15 20 Jan 13, 2016 05:22AM  
The Better Book C...: Phryne Fisher Mysteries vs. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries 17 16 Apr 13, 2015 12:39PM  
Could this be considered a "cozy" mystery? 15 109 Dec 10, 2014 11:58PM  
Kerry Greenwood 5 32 Oct 08, 2014 11:24AM  
What is the order of these books? 5 63 Oct 22, 2012 10:58AM  
  • Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple, #1)
  • Royal Flush (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #3)
  • Million Dollar Baby (A Marjorie McClelland Mystery, #1)
  • Dying In the Wool (Kate Shackleton, #1)
  • Consequences of Sin
  • Bellfield Hall (A Dido Kent Mystery, #1)
  • The Strange Files of Fremont Jones (Fremont Jones, #1)
  • The Ninth Daughter (Abigail Adams #1)
  • The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2)
  • Mark of the Lion (Jade del Cameron Mysteries, #1)
  • Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs, #4)
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,
More about Kerry Greenwood...

Other Books in the Series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • 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)
  • Away With the Fairies

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