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Blood and Circuses

(Phryne Fisher #6)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  4,872 ratings  ·  425 reviews
The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher is feeling dull. But is she bored enough to leave her identity, her home and family behind and join Farrell's Circus and Wild Beast Show?

There have been strange things happening at the circus. And when Phryne is asked by her friends - Samson the Strong Man, Alan the carousel operator and Doreen the Snake Woman - to help them, curiosity
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  4,872 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Start your review of Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This installment of the Phryne Fisher mysteries takes a more sensationalist turn (yes, even in light of the incest, blackmail, drug-dealing, rape, and child-trafficking in earlier volumes). Hermaphrodites! Dripping pools of blood! Multiple and varied sexual assaults! Raving alcoholics! Bar brawls! Gang wars! Escapes from prison! People rendered unconscious by gunshots, stabbings, blows to the head, and simple exhaustion! Sex with clowns! Sex without clowns! Lions, tigers elephants and bears!

By FAR the worst Phryne Fisher I've read so far, and one I almost didn't make it through.

Phryne goes undercover in the circus to help some people she didn't really want to help, because she'd slept with one of them once. She immediately gets massive doubts about how she'll be able to cope without her creature comforts, including Dot to help her get dressed and her own bathroom and cook. Interesting considering how often she rubs in people's faces that she was born poor and grew up without any
Alice Lippart
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2019
Not the strongest book in this series, and I missed some of Phryne's passion and spark, but I still enjoyed it.
David Monroe
I can tell what happened here.

Blood and Circuses, the 6th Phryne Fisher mystery, is so far, the least satisfying, and I think I know why. Kerry Greenwood has written the character for 6 books and five years at this point. I can almost hear her inner monologue: Am I in a rut? Are all of the books going to follow a pattern? Do I want to switch things up a bit? She did that.

This is essentially supposed to be a fish out of water story, with Phryne playing the fish. Specifically a play on a
This is a nice change of pace for Phryne, taking her out of her element and putting her in the circus, where she isn’t automatically great at everything and people don’t automatically like her — some of her privilege of being a rich person gets stripped away, leaving the tough kid who grew up in poverty to deal with things. There’s a good bit of drama towards the end, which got a bit too much for my tastes in a cosy mystery (attempted rape, protagonist is left naked in a cage with large predator ...more
Jammin Jenny
I love Phryne Fisher and all her escapades. In this story, she joins a circus to try and help one of her old lovers figure out why things are going wrong. In typical fashion, she uncovers the mystery and gets herself out of her scrape. There were a lot of close calls though! Love this series.
In this installment, Phryne leaves behind her safe and comfortable house to do some slumming with the circus. She’s implausibly great at everything, of course, so it’s no surprise she learns how to do some trick riding. It’s also no surprise that her lovers are a clown and a carnie — and neither of them mind.

I was tempted to drop my rating from four stars to three this time when I think about how dramatic this one gets. There’s a lot of violence, with a whole gang situation. And there’s also
Jody McGrath
Phryne is bored with all her riches and comforts so she jumps at the chance to go help an old friend at the circus. She goes undercover as a trick rider named Fern. Amazingly, this time she is all on her own. Phryne doesn't take any of her normal entourage with her and she goes mad trying to cope without them. She also learns how mean people are when you are not so rich and powerful. This confused me a lot. Phryne grew up poor. I know her life has been different for quite awhile, but we are ...more
Ben Boulden
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A slow start as the pieces are place on the board, but it sharpens into a nicely done whodunit with a few twists and surprises. The circus setting is beautifully rendered, and Phryne Fisher is a marvelous heroine.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Gang war threatens the streets of Melbourne, as Jack Robinson and his constables try to figure out who is spiriting crooks away, out of the clutches of the law. A locked-room killing spices up life in a respectable boarding house. Meanwhile, Phryne Fisher is bored with her easy life and easy of course, she runs away and joins a small-time circus, to find out who is trying to drive it to ruin.

True to form, the redoubtable Miss Fisher can already ride, and apparently the skills of haute
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-to-do Phryne Fisher is a little bored, so when an old friend from her childhood asks her to help him solve a mystery in the circus and carnival where he is employed, she jumps at the chance. This means going undercover as a trick rider and keeping her eyes open.

Unfortunately, Phryne is not a trick rider. She is, however, an attractive woman who learns quickly, so equestrian director Molly Younger takes her on.

In the mean while, a man has been murdered in a local boarding house, and
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Quite frankly, I found this one too dark, and thought it contained too many thoroughly horrible elements. It felt widely out of step with the tone of this series, which is generally charming and light (terrible things happen, but not like this). (view spoiler)

It doesn't
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood is the 6th book in the Phryne Fisher mystery series. Phryne joins the circus to investigate a series of mishaps culminating in the murder of one of the performers. I love how she is always willing to try something new and to be taken out of her comfort zone yet always comes out on top. Another great addition to the series.
While Greenwood could still use a more stringent editor (point of view changes randomly mid-scene; we're told that certain relationships are long-established and important without ever seeing that), Blood and Circuses is perhaps an improvement on the earlier books in the series. The mystery isn't quite so melodramatic and easy to figure it out, though that's not to say that Greenwood doesn't pack in everything bar the kitchen sink into this novel—pools of blood dripping into teacups! gang ...more
I like listening to Phryne Fisher books because I like Stephanie Daniels' voice!! These are definitely a light read, but fun. I lost the plot of this toward the end - entirely my fault, I'm sure, as I was listening while driving and my attention probably wandered at some point over some mundane detail like which street I needed to turn down, making sure I didn't run down a pedestrian or wondering why a car in front wasn't turning with a green arrow or something. So in general, it is probably ...more
Elanor Matton-Johnson
There is perhaps some problematic terminology & descriptions due to the status of 1920s circuses, but it was still a fun read. I found the conclusion mildly arbitrary but the mystery almost wasn't the point - rather an exploration of circus life.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, mystery
My last review was premature. THIS volume is also very different from the TV adaptation. Some of the key characters are the same, but the ne'er do wells are totally different. I much preferred Phryne's roll as a trick rider to the TV's magician's assistant. As is no surprise the backstory is much richer in the book. I really appreciated the different caste levels as they were laid out in the book about circus life - within the circus itself as far as who was the top tier performers and then how ...more
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a little bit maudlin compared to the others. Makes me wonder what the next will be like.
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

There are two crimes to be solved in this story. Or is it three?

The first one is easy. Phryne begins the story feeling bored to death. Diving headfirst into solving the second crime takes care of that. If she doesn’t discover the perpetrator in time, she won’t be merely bored to death. She’ll just be dead.

But just as Phryne is screwing up her own courage, there’s a murder. And this one isn’t Phryne’s case. At all. At least at first.

Mr. Christopher has been
Elaine Tomasso
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a review copy of Blood and Circuses, the 6th outing for the Honourable Phryne Fisher, a private investigator in late 1920s Melbourne.

With her friends otherwise occupied Phryne is bored so she is interested when her friends from the carnival ask her to investigate a series of "accidents" at Farrell's circus culminating in the murder of Mr Christopher, one of the acts, in his bed with the door locked. Phryne joins the circus as a horse
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Poorest showing for Phryne Fisher in the series so far.

While the previous books were fun reads, they also tried to establish Phryne as the ultimate heroine. She's smart, confident, and sassy. She may be suuuuuuper rich, but by golly she was born poor and knows what it was LIKE, y'all.

Blood and Circuses tries to divert from the usual formula by taking Phryne away from her creature comforts. While the circus details are interesting, the development of Phryne's character made me want to bang my
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimethriller
Phyrne is bored, as can be seen by the fact that's it the afternoon on sunday and the shameless hussy is still in bed, and alone too.
However distraction is at hand with a murder in the offing and strange goings on in the circus.
Miss Fisher dons tatty old clothes and joins the circus under cover, leaving Dot and co behind.
There's a chance to meet a whole host of interesting characters, and a new set of rules to learn about life around the big top. Fun read in the ongoing series.
I was looking forward to this one because CIRCUS, but this installment in the Phryne Fisher series just left me like:

So many different PoVs and here and there and everywhere except focusing on any one thing.
Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood is the sixth book in the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Phryne Fisher is home alone on a Sunday, and she is bored. Then the doorbell rings and she finds Samson, Alan Lee and their friends on her doorstep. They need Phryne’s assistance with problems that are plaguing Farrell’s Circus and Wild Beast Show. If the person behind these nasty incidents is not found, the circus may go under. Phryne agrees to go undercover as a trick rider if she can learn the ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one more than I had expected. I appreciated the parallel investigations and the increased role by the police.

Unlike some of the other reviewers, I was not overly bothered by the change of pace in this book from the rest of the series. Although having a parallel plot line was new, I did not really see that Phryne had deviated all that much from her character in the other books. She is someone who is somewhat self-involved but still generous and good hearted to other people. To me,
Rishika Aggarwal
Feb 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
This one...No.

I'm not sure why, but there was just something missing in this version of Miss Fisher's adventures. While the last book was arguably the best one yet, this was unarguably the worst.

Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. The TV version was better. Not a recommended read AT ALL.

Look, usually I like myself a book centred around a circus. They're usually fun and thoroughly enjoyable. This one? Not so much.

In this one, Phryne's convinced to investigate a circus' spate of bad luck by
Aminah Safi
I've started this thing where I listen to audiobooks on the treadmill. Low intensity cardio is great for you. Do you know what is the most boring thing in the world to do three times a week?

Yeah, low intensity cardio.

Add a murder mystery though and suddenly low intensity cardio becomes SUPER interesting. What I'm saying is-- get yourself an audible subscription and only listen when you do your workouts. Nothing gets me to the gym faster.

Plus, it's Phryne. Who doesn't love Phryne?

N.B. this is
An easy entertaining read veering towards the "cosy-murder" genre (although Lizard Elsie's language is a lot riper than you'd get in most "cosy" tales!). Phryne Fisher is just what you'd expect from a heroine of the 1920's - yes, of course she's an eccentric, courageous daredevil who just happens to have the knack of getting involved with murder.

Not the best book I've read in this style but still entertaining enough, with the quirky heroine keeping it amusing. It would appear there's about 20
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
C Valeri
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Phryne Fisher kicks ass once again in her 6th mystery.
Although her usual helpers weren't in this one as much, i.e. Dot, Bert & Cec, the Butlers, the cast of characters was interesting and varied and I especially liked that we got more time with Jack Robinson.
Greenwood expertly weaves the two story lines together and the pacing is spot on. Was on the edge of my seat towards the end, literally felt Phryne's terror.
Loved how Jack Robinson kept calling her an "interfering woman".
Look forward
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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,

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)
  • 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 (Phryne Fisher, #11)
“Even the reeking dark in the lion's cage seemed precious and infinitely preferable to whatever lay beyond. She would go out like the flame of a candle. Where does the candle flame go when the candle is blown out?
She laid her painted face against the iron bars and bared her teeth at death.”
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