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The Castlemaine Murders (Phryne Fisher #13)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,665 Ratings  ·  159 Reviews
The fabulous Phryne Fisher, her sister Beth and her faithful maid, Dot, decide that Luna Park is the perfect place for an afternoon of fun and excitement with Phryne's two daughters, Ruth and Jane. But in the dusty dark Ghost Train, amidst the squeals of horror and delight, a mummified bullet-studded corpse falls to the ground in front of them. Phryne Fisher's pleasure tri ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2006 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 2003)
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Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Castlemaine Murders by Kerry Greenwood is the 13th book in the Phrynne Fisher Mystery series. During a trip to Luna Park, Phrynne finds the body of a mummified murder victim in the ghost train. Lin is also on a quest to find missing family gold. Another interesting book looking at events that had taken place during the gold rush. I enjoyed the contrast between the way Phrynne and Lin went about solving their various mysteries. Another fun book with plenty of adventures.
There was a LOT that I didn’t get in this instalment of Phryne Fisher, and I’m not sure, but it may have been because there was a lot about the Chinese in this one - Lin Chung is investigating some inter-family disputes from 150 years ago on the goldfields and the key to Phryne’s investigation (she breaks a carnival dummy at Luna Park when a shoe breaks off in her hand and is found to contain human bones) is partly to be found in Lin Chung’s investigations.

But that’s OK - I just let the story (
The Castlemaine Murders is a fairly typical outing for Phryne, featuring her usual liberal attitudes to sisters, queer people, Chinese people, marriage and danger. At various points, it felt like Lin Chung was more the protagonist than Phryne was — which wasn’t bad, as such, because I do like the character and his relationship with Phryne… but on the other hand, he is definitely not what I’ve read thirteen books and counting for. Watching him come into himself and act with responsibility is kind ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Greenwood brings several threads to this story of murder, greed and mayhem, and weaves them together in a jazz pattern. Phryne's sister Beth arrives from England all unexplained, and so abrasive and obnoxious that Phryne hardly recognises her. She leaps at the post and refuses to explain what's wrong.
Lin Chung finds himself head of a huge extended family, in charge of their multifarious business concerns as well as looking after indigent members of the race and dealing with ancient feuds betwee
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, historical
Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher novels are definitely a case of "more is more." Each book, on its own, is a fine, light read but not noteworthy. But the series, taken as a whole, is a total joy.

The vibrant, totally unbelievable, characters and period setting (Australia in the 1920's) make this sizzle. I have been simultaneously binging on both the books and the PBS Mystery shows (Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries) and the tv programs do not detract from the books at all. They are so loosely tied to
In The Castlemaine Murders Lin Chung comes into his own. He has carried out important missions for his family before, but in this book he's shown as establishing diplomatic links with other Chinese families and taking a philanthropic role in giving assistance to elderly impoverished Chinese.

The significance of this novel goes beyond Lin Chung's metamorphosis into a family and community leader. It also deals with race hatred directed at the Chinese in the Australian Gold Rush during the 19th cent
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Another wonderful story in the most Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher stories. Phryne's little sister has come to stay, and she's driving Phryne crazy! Looking down her nose at everyone, and loudly proclaiming that Melbourne is nothing compared to London, Phryne desperately organises a trip to Luna Park with her and her adopted daughters, Jane & Ruth. On their last ride they choose the haunted house, and find that a stuffed cowboy is really a mummified corpse. Phryne decides to investigate, and w ...more
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
A pleasant time-pass while I'm reading them but once I put down the book, Phyrne's adventures are soon forgotten. The fabulous descriptions of the '20s attire are often my favorite bit, but even they seemed to be lacking in this volume.
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audios-owned
A solid entry in the series, although I'm getting a little weary of the "arrangement" between Phryne and the now-married Lin. Yes, my prudish inner judgement rears up!
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Not one of her best. Lin Chung's storyline about growing into his role as the head of his family was much more interesting than the mystery itself.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

This was the first time that one of Phryne Fisher’s mysteries gave me a bit of a book hangover. Normally, this series is more like a palate cleanser for me, in that when I find myself in need of a quick, comfortable read, I pick up the next book in the series, read it in one night and the next morning I’m ready for whatever is next on my actual schedule.

The true historical elements wrapped into this story, combined with the cultural background on Chinese im
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
3 1/2 stars. Suspend disbelief and prepare to be charmed by the formidable Phryne Fisher, whose snooty sister Eliza has parked herself in Phryne's house for a long visit. When Phryne discovers a mummified corpse in an amusement park ride, a number of stories collide: her sister's, her lover's, and the Wild Colonial Boy's.

Nothing is as satisfactory as the descriptions of Phryne's domestic life; I wish I could visit her. The mystery is pretty frivolous, and the reader will have things worked out
Suzanne Fournier
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can't get enough of these books. The last 3 or 4 have been top notch. Exciting plot and drama yet not too far fetched. I love this character and world Greenwood has created around her.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Castlemaine Murders is the thirteenth book in the Phryne Fisher Series. While it can be read as a standalone, I think it's better to read them in order for the full experience. With this book we get to see not just Phryne dealing with mysteries but Lin Chung as well.

I really enjoy this series and it's characters, the mysteries are wonderful and well plotted, and the descriptions and attention to detail are always welcomed. Phryne deals with a sister with secrets (who isn't so bad once we g
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the 4th Phryne Fisher mystery in a binge reading session. And I think I will stop for a bit.

I think there is a part of us that wants to be like Phryne: rich, beautiful, unconventional, fearless and fully in charge of her own life. Not to mention being envious of her beautiful clothing. The part I like best, though, is that the author weaves in Australian history and religion into the mysteries. In this book it was the gold rush in Castlemaine and the Chinese role in it.

I decided on this
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would like to take a moment to sing the praises of that most distinguished of gentlemen, Lin Chung. Lin and Phryne are both directly involved in goings-on at the centre of this book, but approaching the mystery from their own separate directions. For Lin, this means sorting out the blood feud between the Lins and the Hus, interviewing cantankerous ancients about what happened back in the goldfields days, and making an official visit as head of the family to the country cousins and remnant Chin ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Phryne books have just been getting better and better. I think it's maybe that they author isn't trying so hard to make everything Phryne does seem shocking? It makes so much more sense that Phryne would do shocking things and consider them not noteworthy, I think.

She's still using the adverb "artlessly" at least three times per book, but I think that's a small annoyance in exchange for these ever improving stories.
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This would be a really good one to turn into an episode. I like that Lin figures out his mystery on his own- although I'm also getting kinda bored of him as the lover. Especially now that he's married. I know that is puritan of me, but it makes me think less of him that he can treat a woman like that.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimethriller
Lots of fun and lots of information about the goldfields during the 1850's.
We're introduced to Eliza, Phryne's little sister, who's arrived from England, bringing with her lots of baggage in more ways than one.
There's a nice trip to Luna park, and something unexpected in the ghost train. Threats, murder and a mystery some 70 years or more in the past.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Not as excited with this story.

Phryne's younger sister arrives under conspicuous conditions and a trip to an amusement park/carnival leads to a mysterious murder from Australia's gold rush days. Heavy on Chinese culture which went on a bit much that I sometimes forgot that there was a murder mystery somewhere in the mix.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
A solid mystery but the reveals were too sudden for me. I loved the research in this, though, as I know nothing of Australian history. And Lin has a huge role, definitely a plus. I think it is my own lack of background that made this one not click.
A thoroughly engrossing story, crossing from the Australian Gold Rush in 1874 to Phryne's life in 1928 Melbourne, and involving her own family and that of her lover, Lin Chung. One of the best in this series.
Bcoghill Coghill
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Is it possible! Do they keep getting better? This seems to be the case with this series. Delightful.
Robin Edman
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Yep, that's the last one. I am done with this series. Where are the Erte gowns and the fabulous furniture of yesteryear?
Bill Porter
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Oh Phyne, what's happening? Has Kerry momentarily lost interest in you? Has unlucky #13 struck again? Is it all over between us?
Jan 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Concubine status? No that's just too much. I'm done.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I listened to this on audiobook. The story was enjoyable, and the reader, Stephanie Daniel, was excellent.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, audiobook
Only Phryne would notice the dummy in the Luna Park Ghost Train ride is in fact, a real body.
Doctor Treasure does the autopsy of the dessicated corpse ably assisted by Egyptologist Prof Ayres (from Cricket book #10) and watched by Jane who wants to study morbid psychology. It has been mummified in the Egyptian way and done well enough they can still see the tattoo on its arm.
The house is tense, Phryne’s sister Elizabeth has come to visit and she’s behaving like a pretentious pom and won’t tell a
Nicole Field
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel as though, Murder in Montparnasse breathed new life into this story for me, and that was definitely new life that was followed on in this novel.

Phryne's sister comes to visit after their father has exiled her due to the fact that she refused to marry either of the two suitors he put forward for her. I went into this book knowing already that Phryne's sister, Eliza or Beth (she answers to both at different parts of the story) was a lesbian, but the reveal for this was truly amazing.

At th
Jess Hale
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hum. I enjoyed reading this book but having finished it, it didn't really make an impression on me.

It starts strong - Phryne's sister! Carnival dummy is a real corpse! And there were some points I liked:
- Jane's interaction with the scientists
- Eliza's storyline - a bit convoluted in places and maybe missing a satisfying conclusion with Phryne, but overall okay
- Although it started to drag a little, I liked seeing Lin Chung's point-of-view

Less strong elements for me:
- The chapter-starting epist
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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,
More about Kerry Greenwood...

Other Books in the Series

Phryne Fisher (1 - 10 of 20 books)
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  • Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)
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“One only has a few fragrant nights of spring. Store your memories for when you are old. You will enjoy them again under such a moon as this.” 5 likes
“Conversation is a minefield until you learn the conventions, Jane dear.’
‘I’ll never learn all the rules,’ muttered Jane.
‘Yes, you will,’ said Phryne. ‘Then you can bend them. The best advice I would give you is, “If under attack, cause a diversion”.’
‘A diversion?’
‘Yes, trip over the dog, spill a glass of wine on your attacker, burst into song, challenge your attacker to a duel. And the angrier you get, the lower your voice should be. Never shout unless you are shouting “Fire!”
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