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Cocaine Blues

(Phryne Fisher #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  19,670 ratings  ·  2,504 reviews
The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher—she of the gray-green eyes and diamant garters—is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately up ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published April 18th 2007 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published 1989)
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Lori Mulligan My decision to see a movie/TV show first and THEN read the book is based on this experience: I only got halfway through reading Les Miserables before …moreMy decision to see a movie/TV show first and THEN read the book is based on this experience: I only got halfway through reading Les Miserables before I saw the musical. I fumed through the musical until it reached the part I didn't know. And then I loved it. (Which means, when I do things in the above order, the show becomes my First Love and then I love the book because it is the Difinitive Work.) I say all this to explain that though I adore Jack and Phryne in the show, I began reading the books knowing that relationship wouldn't be there. And I don't miss it because the books are incredibly well-written treasures and the characters have their own personalities to love. (less)

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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  19,670 ratings  ·  2,504 reviews

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Start your review of Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
As part of my ongoing quest to read both women writers from around the globe and a variety of mystery series, I was lead to the work of Kerry Greenwood. Greenwood is the author of over thirty novels, and Cocaine Blues is the first of her Phryne Fisher cases. Set in the 1920s in her native Melbourne, Australia, Greenwood delivers a historical mystery that is fast paced summer fun.

Phryne Fisher is part of the English upper classes and has no desire to marry any time soon despite the best wishes o
Richard Derus
Nov 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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.

My Review: First mysteries aren't to be read for their mystery value, but rather for their potential to amuse and engr
‘Dangerous, Miss.’

‘Yes, but only I can do it, and it’s better than being bored.’

. . .
She was quite cool. The tremor had been hunting arousal, not fear. Phryne was enjoying herself.”

Phryne Fisher. Familiar to many from the Aussie TV series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Delicious, glamorous, naughty, daring, and most of all, surprising. Dirt-poor childhood in Australia until her English father moved up the family inheritance ladder to be called home to the Mother Country and the estates
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian-crime
4 stars
This is book 1 in the Phryne Fisher series. Phryne is a wealthy single woman living in England,when she is hired by Colonel Andrews to go to Australia to find out if his daughter Lydia is being poisoned by her husband. Phryne is actually from Australia, having moved to England at the age of 12, when her father became an Earl and inherited a large estate. Prior to that she was living in poverty with her family.

She agrees to go to Australia and investigate, but on her own terms. Phryne find
Nov 28, 2012 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
Dec 21, 2012 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
Jan 10, 2009 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
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Kerry Greenwood is a prolific Australian author that I was yet to explore until I read her first Phryne Fisher series book, Cocaine Blues. This great Australian mystery based novel also provided me with the opportunity to mark off a square on the personalised book bingo I am completing this year. Specifically, Cocaine Blues satisfies the book bingo category of ‘a book with a mystery’. Cocaine Blues is a fantastic romp which entertained me for the entire leng
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. Such fun. Five stars!
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

"Phryne leaned on the ship's rail. listening to the seagulls announcing that land was near, and watched for the first hint of sunrise. She had put on her lounging robe, of a dramatic oriental pattern of green and gold, an outfit not to be sprung suddenly on invalids or those of nervous tendencies - and she was rather glad that there was no one on deck to be astonished. It was five o'clock in the morning."

As much as I love the tv series, the book series will not one that I will continue with.
Sep 26, 2014 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!
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
Nov 15, 2008 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.
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
Feb 15, 2008 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
Mike (the Paladin)
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have been watching the TV series based on this series of books with a friend of mine. As is my wont if I enjoy a movie or TV series based on a book or books I went out and found these. reviews of these will probably be short as they are not deep and they are mysteries that share a lot book to book. That said they are, well fun. I'm going to give a slight warning below but the writing is very enjoyable.

Now let me say this. The biggest problem I had/have with the TV series and the books
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I waited way too long to read this. Phryne Fisher is young, stylish, smart and witty. She's constantly ON and I'm not sure that there is an off switch. Loved this first book that introduces her and 'her friends' along the way. She's a fun and compassionate girl and I would have loved to have been in her circle. This is a fast paced book, I think the writing is in line with Phryne's energy level, which worked really well. And no, it's not the coke LOL.
Alice Lippart
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Very enjoyable mystery and Phryne is an absolute boss.
Sep 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I admit that I am not the target audience for this type of book, but I still found the premise intriguing. The high society female detective in Melbourne in the 1920’s concept was original & I while knew it would be fluffy, I expected some enjoyment. So wrong.

I DID kind of like it at the start. The setting is definitely promising & the writing, while inexperienced, does have potential. Unfortunately I was eye rolling within the first couple of chapters & it just gets sillier & sillier. By the ti
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Cocaine Blues is book one of the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. Miss Phryne Fisher is new in Melbourne and wants to set up her new private investigation business in Melbourne. Miss Phryne Fisher caught her first case looking into Cocaine smuggling ring. However, Miss Phryne also became involved with two other cases when a cab driver Cec found a young girl Alice Greenham fainted in his cab and delivered to Miss Fisher's friend Dr MacMillan and friend was been poison. The reade ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first in the Australian mystery series, Honourable Phryne Fisher sails into Melbourne and thinks to herself why not become the perfect Lady Detective. If all else fails, she can join the season events or whatever tickles her fancy. It is the late 1920s and Phryne is a throughly modern girl with her wardrobe, cigarette holder, money, ideas, Hispano-Suiza racing car, and lovers. On the ocean voyage she had befriended Dr. Elizabeth MacMillan, a Scot in her mid-40s, who was starting her position ...more
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
Things I really liked about this book:
- The characters. They're a hell of a lot of fun.
- Women getting shit done and not apologising for their actions or their sexual desires.
- Very Melbourne. Most of the places mentioned are still around today, so it was very easy to be all "Ohh, right. I know where she is!" as Phryne sleuthed her way around town.
- The clothes sound AMAZING.

Things I wasn't so keen on:
- I kept being pulled out of the story by Phryne seemingly changing her clothes every couple
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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
Len Evans Jr
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first look at Miss Phyrne Fisher was through the Aussie TV series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries which is aired Sunday nights at 9pm here in Los Angeles on KCET 28.1. I am totally addicted to this series and so decided I needed to go to the source and read the books it is based upon. So this is my start with book one. I can only say that at least this first book takes the TV series to another level. I devoured this book, loving every bit of it. reading it was pure joy, fun and yes even a few ...more
Melissa Rose
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Okay, so I first read ‘Cocaine Blues’ a couple of years ago, so I decided to pick up the audiobook and relive the first installment of the Phryne Fisher series.

In terms of the actual book, the mystery was solid as were the characters; it is difficult not to love the charming cheekiness of Miss Phryne Fisher.

However, despite my enjoyment of the story, I have to admit I almost ditched the audiobook due to a terrible narrator; all I could hear throughout the novel were mouth noises and swallowing
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable romp in 1920's Australia, with an adventuress of merit in Miss Fisher and her cast of sidekicks.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so much fun to read!
I loved the wit of the writing and absolutely adored the character of Phryne Fisher. She's smart, confident, very capable and also hugely entertaining.
The mystery was good if a little predictable, but I still had a blast reading this book and cannot wait for the other... twenty or so in the series :'D
Jammin Jenny
This was my first reading adventure with the Honorable Phryne Fisher and her associate Dot. I watched all the Series on Netflix and fell in love with those characters I really enjoyed seeing Phryne with her parents in England before she headed off to Australia. I also loved her empathy with characters like Dot, Cec and Bert. I'll keep reading this series.
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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)
  • 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 (Phryne Fisher, #11)

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