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Unnatural Habits

(Phryne Fisher #19)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,367 ratings  ·  430 reviews
1929: Girls are going missing in Melbourne. Little, pretty golden-haired girls. And not just pretty. Three of them are pregnant, poor girls from the harsh confines of the Magdalene Laundry. People are getting nervous. Polly Kettle, a pushy, self-important Girl Reporter with ambition and no sense of self preservation, decides to investigate - and promptly goes missing herse ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2012)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Amalia Gkavea
*Disclaimer- I never grant more than 3 stars to a cozy mystery. For me, a 3-star rating means that this is an excellent example of the genre.*

When I want to try my luck on a new -to me- cozy mystery series, I have a weird habit. I choose an installment at random and begin. It may be the 2nd in the series or the last, but never the first. I feel I am getting a better grasp of the writing and the characters and the introduction to the plot is quicker. It paid off in the Mary Russell mysteries, it
When Miss Phryne Fisher observed a young woman being harassed by boys on the street, she intervened. But Polly Kettle wasn’t particularly grateful for her rescue – a reporter from a local paper in Melbourne she was filled with a determination to get ahead; to get her story at any cost. And her cost came when she vanished – it seemed she’d been abducted; Phryne was sure she would find her, with the help of her good friend, Jack Robinson the local policeman.

When three young women who were very pr
*I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This is by far my favorite Phryne story so far!

There are so many issues discussed in this book (from homosexuality and a club that offers a safe haven for them under the guise of "gentlemen's club" to brothels, child abuse, communist communes, white slavery, and Eugenics (the idea that a population can be improved by controlled, scientific breeding to weed out "flaws"), all set to the seemingly glittering world
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Unnatural Habits is the nineteenth book in the popular Phryne Fisher series by Australian author, Kerry Greenwood. A chance encounter with a young female reporter for The Daily Truth in a laneway leads Phryne Fisher to investigate the disappearance of three pregnant girls and said reporter. Margaret Kettle, better known as Polly, is determined to make her name as a serious journalist and steals a colleague’s story on White Slavery. But her enquiries into the fate of three very pregnant teenagers ...more
I really should be used to the differences between the books and TV episodes by now. The episode inspired by this book bears almost no resemblance to the book. Basically, all they have in books common is missing pregnant teen girls.

So, the book. Phryne encounters a female reporter and finds herself getting involved in the case of some missing poor, young girls. Then the reporter goes missing. And soon, Phryne and her crew, or minions as she likes to call them, are on the hunt and up to their ne
Mike (the Paladin)
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Well...another good novel and the title speaks for itself, a bit.

Phryne get's into a case with some very sad, unpleasant and unsavory situations. The books do not flinch at blunt and graphic depictions and that doesn't bother me. I've mentioned Phryne's proclivity to enjoy (graphic) sex with (sometimes seemingly any available) numerous sex partners. That's not what I refer to here. The plot here is one that's a bit more serious (not that murder isn't serious enough) than some of the other books
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's almost impossible now to read these books and not have visions of the perfect Essie Davies as Phryne in the TV series wafting elegantly before your eyes. Which actually enhances the storylines as, although always beautifully described and outlined by Greenwood, she now has a physicality and a more three dimensional feel. It also didn't hurt that the dialogue, which was always crisp, sharp, clever and funny, has a voice as well.

I sort of lost my way with the Phryne Fisher series somewhere ba
Ivonne Rovira
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty, blonde girls who are down on their luck have begun to disappear in Melbourne — including three in their eighth month of pregnancy. In the nineteenth novel to feature the Honorable Phryne Fisher, set in 1929, the fabulous Phryne begins the investigation with the disappearance of a well-meaning but blundering girl reporter with the made-for-19th-century-melodrama name of Polly Kettle. Phryne’s investigation then expands to the three missing unwed mothers and, eventually, to the larger crim ...more
Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood is the 19th book in the Miss Fisher Mysteries series. Polly Kettle, a reprter, is investigating the disappearance of 3 pregnant girls when she is kidnapped and Miss Fisher finds herself investigating multiple disappearances of blonde girls. A superb, entertaining and absorbing book with all the usual characters included and multiple side mysteries and investigations. Everything is nicely wrapped up in the end.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
This was my first time reading this author. It's also one of the few times that I enjoyed the television version better than the book. I will try to read a few more to see if they grow on me but overall, I find the story written very lightly while the subject matter was very dark and heavy. The characters seemed very 2 dimensional and somewhat a disappointment. ...more
Carl Brookins
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I confess it’s a cause for celebration when another Phryne Fisher adventure shows up. Yes, the publisher sent this novel in the hope that I’d give it a review. Yes, I have written elsewhere that I love the Phryne Fisher crime novels. The Honorable Phryne Fisher is an aristocratic displaced single woman living on her inheritance in Melbourne, Australia where she serves the downtrodden and criminally beset. Her relations with a few coppers is excellent and she has over the years, taken to her boso ...more
❂ Murder by Death
As usual for this series, this book was excellent. Really excellent. Phryne is like the 1920's, female version of James Bond. She's not a spy, mind you, but that same self assurance, unlimited means, elegant taste and ability to strike fear in all hearts, as well as lust in the male ones. She answers to nobody and lives by her own standard of ethics and morality, not the law. Nothing scares her.

Unnatural Habits covers more than a few plots - a missing girl, mistreatment of unwed soon-to-be-mothe
Unnatural Habits is one of the more memorable entries in the series, in that it has a lot of social commentary and some really appalling details which are, as far as I can tell, historically accurate, like the laundry run by nuns, the lying in homes where unmarried women had their babies and they were taken away, white slavery, etc. There’s also some interesting stuff with the Blue Cat Club — a gay club which apparently really existed — and the newspaper office where Polly Kettle, wannabe ace re ...more
Always an enjoyable book to listen to, although I got a bit lost at the end, but this is not unusual for me with murder mysteries! I also felt like the ending dragged a little - there seemed to be a lot of different threads in this one, some of which were wrapped up sooner than others, and I think it was that making me feel that the ending was dragging on.
I always love Miss Fisher! This one is about tracking down missing girls who are pregnant and forced to work in a horrible laundry by the Church. Another multilevel story with lots of twists and mysteries to solve. The gang (and its newest member - Tinker) investigate with enthusiasm. Loved it!
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I have to admit that it has been some time since I read Phryne Fisher, I did manage a handful of the early novels, even watched the television series but was surprised to realise that Miss Fisher is up to book 19. This was no deterrent in reading Unnatural Habits for the only things that seemed to be different, from my memory of the earlier books, is that Phryne’s household has grown and she has more notoriety with the general public.
Miss Fisher is still her independent, free-wheeling, scandalo
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This has multiple really disturbing elements, which seriously dampened the fun, although the scene on the boats was thoroughly enjoyable.
Angela Savage
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Explaining his reason for wrapping up the Kenzie-Gennaro series, Dennis Lehane allegedly says, "Have you every heard anyone say ‘The seventeenth book in the series was my favorite’?"

Perhaps Mr Lehane lacks Ms Greenwood's chutzpah as I'm here to say Unnatural Habits, the nineteenth book in the Phryne Fisher series, is my favourite to date.

The central plot concerns the disappearance from Melbourne of a swathe of golden-haired girls, some of them pregnant, and the ambitious but not at all streetwis
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a review copy of Unnatural Habits, the 19th novel to feature the honourable Miss Phryne Fisher in 1920s Melbourne.

Phryne is on her way to her club when she has to rescue the impetuous and naïve cub reporter Margaret "Polly" Kettle from attack. A few days later her friend Inspector "just call me Jack, everyone does" Robinson asks for help in finding not only Polly but 3 unwed pregnant girls who have disappeared from their lying in hostel.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
A nice, light, enjoyable read. Greenwood continues her love of punny names for characters (Polly Kettle, as in "put the kettle on", Sister Dolour, who's a real pain, etc). We finally make it into 1929 as Phryne steps into the breach to stop white slave trafficking out of Melbourne. Lin Chung makes only a cameo appearance in this novel, which is populated by prostitutes, good ol' boys, unwed mothers and nasty nuns of one kind and another...especially another.

Ruth, Jane, Tinker and Dot all pitch
Magdalene laundries in Australia? I had thought they were only an Irish phenomenon, but apparently there have been Magdalene laundries in any country where there have been Catholics. Girls from a Magdalene laundry are disappearing. A naive female writer decides to investigate and promptly disappears herself. So it becomes a job for Phryne Fisher.

Another interesting aspect of this novel is that Phryne has an apprentice who is a Tinker. There is some culture conflict between the young Tinker and
One of the best of the series. The more I listen or read, the more I like the book and the audio of it. Stephanie Daniel will be very much missed.

The whole 'Magdalen laundry' setup was shameful and outrageous, and I thank Ms Greenwood for exposing it. Can't do anything about it so many years after the fact, but we can be hopeful that such narrow-minded views never arise again.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This is another one of the darker Phryne Fisher novels. But the found family is particularly well done in it, so I have rounded up. I continue to enjoy Tinker. His dynamic with Jane is particularly good.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Phryne takes on Evil Nuns and other Bad People.

‘Tonight is for celebration. Have you decided what you are celebrating?’ ‘Freedom,’ said Phryne,
Stacie  Haden
Only one more Phryne Fisher left for me. Poop.

Australia 1929
Brandi Thompson
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read nearly the entire Phryne canon, and this may be my favorite book of the entire series! It’s full of feminism and the hatred of classism, while still retaining the charm and wit of Phryne and her companions.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic. Well done.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of the better Phryne books. Only one more to go!
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The quality of Greenwood's writing definitely improves as series goes on, and depth of her research, too. I love a well researched book, and I can't stress that enough. and this one a is a real beaut! ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Unnatural Habits is the 19th Phryne Fisher investigation and this time she looks at the dark side of Melbourne and the treatment of young unmarried mothers. Phryne gets drawn into the investigation when she rescues a young woman from being beaten up by three thugs. The woman turns out to be a reporter called Polly and she is investigating a story about 3 pregnant girls who have vanished from a convent that is supposed to be caring for them until after their babies are born. She believes that the ...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,

Other books in the series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 21 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)

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