Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews's Reviews > Cocaine Blues

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
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really liked it
bookshelves: book-bingo-2018, 2018-books, aww2018

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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 length of time I spent with this book.

Kerry Greenwood’s first outing with her enigmatic female lead and sleuth, Miss Phryne Fisher, begins in the height of the 1920’s. In London, Phryne is bored with the endless and tedious parties she attends, as well as dreary company to match. When Phryne foils a plan to steal some jewellery at a party she is a guest for, her aptitude for solving a good old-fashioned mystery catches the eye of a friend. An offer to embark to Australia to continue her successful detective work soon ensues. After setting foot on Australia’s shores, Phryne quickly gets caught up in number of cases. These range from a poisoning, to cracking a cocaine ring and dealing with the corruption present in Australia’s back streets. All the while, Phryne fits in a romance with a dashing Russian dancer, in between her detective capers.

Phryne Fisher, as a character there is so much to say about this one-of-a-kind super sleuth! My initial impression of Phryne was that she is sassy, independent, intelligent and enthusiastic. She also has her heart in the right place and will go to great lengths to help others, in any shape or form. As the book progressed she seemed to grow on me more and more.

As much as I loved the divine Miss Phryne Fisher, I also developed a soft spot for her entourage. Phryne’s team is compiled in this pivotal first novel. First, Phryne gains ladies maid Dot. Dot is a wonderfully drawn character and works as a support system to Phryne. Then, Phryne recruits Bert and Cec, best mates and cab driving extraordinaires, with a few other skills under their belt, who both bring much to the fold. While Phryne’s friendship with Doctor MacMillan gives us a glimpse of what is to come for the women of Australia who are trying to break free from gender restrictions.

Greenwood pays perfect homage to the period in which her novel is set. I felt a strong sense of place in both her locales of 1920’s London and Australia. Greenwood’s dialogue, social norms and references to the fashions of the day more than adequately reflect the era in which her novel is set. While reading this novel, I felt like I had stepped into a 1920’s time warp. It was a wonderful experience!

The crime mystery aspect of the novel, which is the main theme of this book, offers the reader a great puzzle or two to solve. Cocaine Blues defines escapist fiction and it is accompanied by some snappy writing indeed. It kept me busy for an afternoon or so as I got caught up in Phryne’s investigations. Although this is a fun romp style mystery, there are some deeper issues underneath the facade. These include illegal abortion operations, drugs rings and corruption in high society, which are all brought to the forefront by the talented Ms Kerry Greenwood.

Cocaine Blues is a superb first edition to an enduring series, featuring the iconic leading lady, Miss Phryne Fisher. I hope to discover much more of this series in the not too distant future. In the meantime, I have indulging in the television series adaptation of Greenwood’s novels, via my Netflix subscription. It is currently my guilty pleasure!

Cocaine Blues is book #9 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 10, 2018 – Shelved
January 10, 2018 – Shelved as: book-bingo-2018
January 10, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-books
January 10, 2018 – Shelved as: aww2018
January 10, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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message 1: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Fab review. I watched the series on TV and quite enjoyed it.


Dzintra aka Ingrid Great review....I do have a soft spot for Miss Fisher.....especially her clothes! Enjoy the series!


Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews Bianca wrote: "Fab review. I watched the series on TV and quite enjoyed it."

Thank you very much Bianca. I'm glad you enjoyed the TV series. I am about half way through the first season and I'm enjoying it very much.


Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews Dzintra aka Ingrid wrote: "Great review....I do have a soft spot for Miss Fisher.....especially her clothes! Enjoy the series!"

Thanks Dzintra aka Ingrid I'm loving what I have watched so far! I love her fashions too, I would love to try on her wardrobe!


message 5: by Sue (new)

Sue Gerhardt Griffiths Terrific review, Amanda! I'm only about 20 minutes into the first episode on Netflix, am thinking it might be another series to watch with Steven. We're watching The Sinner and up to episode 3 - the show is definitely not what I expected.


Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews Sue wrote: "Terrific review, Amanda! I'm only about 20 minutes into the first episode on Netflix, am thinking it might be another series to watch with Steven. We're watching The Sinner and up to episode 3 - th..."

Thanks very much Sue! Yes, Jason has been watching this series with me from time to time. I hope Steven enjoys watching it with you.
Oh, I hope the Sinner is not what you expected in a good way. I loved this series so much, I'm still thinking about it!


message 7: by Sue (new)

Sue Gerhardt Griffiths Amanda - wrote: "Sue wrote: "Terrific review, Amanda! I'm only about 20 minutes into the first episode on Netflix, am thinking it might be another series to watch with Steven. We're watching The Sinner and up to ep..."

Yes, in a good way Amanda, we're loving it too. It's getting awfully intriguing now. Love Bill Pullman what a great actor as is Jessica Biel.


Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews Sue wrote: "Amanda - wrote: "Sue wrote: "Terrific review, Amanda! I'm only about 20 minutes into the first episode on Netflix, am thinking it might be another series to watch with Steven. We're watching The Si..."

I'm so pleased! I was worried you didn't like it! Yes both Bill Pullman and Jessica Biel are amazing in this series! So intriguing.


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