Laurie R. King Virtual Book Club discussion

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)
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Archived VBC Selections > Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood - VBC Oct 2016

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Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series, to me, is one of the most fun historical mystery series written. In a genre that tends to focus more traditionally on England or America, the setting (1920s Melbourne, Australia) is unique and interesting. And Phryne herself is just as unique and appealing, with all her varied "unladylike" interests and dismissive attitude toward societal expectations, and she challenges the reader to broaden their expectations as well. This first book, while not the most brilliant mystery, is a fast-paced jumble of parties and crime-solving and super fun to read.

What are your thoughts on Phryne?


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Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
I love Phryne! One of the things that may surprise people who are familiar with the television show and not the books is that Phryne is much younger than the actress who portrays her on TV - in fact, she's Russell's age (born in 1900). So she's an adventurous young woman who's seen a great deal for her years (including action as an ambulance driver in WWI), and who is a risk-taker in every way imaginable. Despite that, she's also quite the maternal sort, and so as the series goes on she assembles a family of sorts (out of rather surprising material). Anyway, this is a fun series, with good mysteries and a generally light-hearted (but not excessively cozy) attitude. I agree with Erin that part of the fun is seeing what Australia was like in the Roaring Twenties.


Shomeret | 29 comments I would like to say that it's better to start with this book because it contains her background. I didn't do that. When I went back to read Cocaine Blues, I appreciated Phryne far more because I knew her history.


message 4: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Shomeret wrote: "I would like to say that it's better to start with this book because it contains her background. I didn't do that. When I went back to read Cocaine Blues, I appreciated Phryne far more because I kn..."

I'd agree, Shomeret. This is one series that rewards when read in order, particularly in the growth of Phyrne's family.


Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
There are so many bits you pick up about Phryne later in the series (like ambulance driving and flying planes and racing cars and modeling for painters in France) that jumping back to read her at the beginning was definitely interesting. Not that she's exactly frivolous at first glance, but we, as readers, are led to jump to some character conclusions about her at first. She becomes a much rounder character as we get to know here!


message 6: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "There are so many bits you pick up about Phryne later in the series (like ambulance driving and flying planes and racing cars and modeling for painters in France) that jumping back to read her at t..."

Very true, Erin. I also like how vivid the supporting characters are (including the dog and cat!).


message 7: by Trish (last edited Oct 04, 2016 03:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Trish (trishhartuk) As someone who likes reading series in order, I obviously tackled this one first of the Phryne Fisher series. Having not seen any of the series at that point, it took me a little while to actually get to grips with Phryne as a character, and therefore really get into Cocaine Blues. I think bits of it were darker than I'd expected.

I got on much better with the next couple of books, although I honestly don't know if that was because I'd seen the series by then, and had a clearer picture of the characters. And yes, I know that the early episodes were close to the books, but I managed to edit that out of my mind to enjoy the written characters.


message 8: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments Kerry Greenwood does such a good job of evoking the era: the clothes, the food, the sights and sounds and smells. (Love the guidebook description of Melbourne: Many of the roads are macadamized and there is running water and sewer in several parts of town!)


message 9: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth | 1 comments Loved the show and I am actually watching the reruns. This book is terrific, Love the time period and she is very sassy. Cannot wait to read more of Phrynes' adventures!


message 10: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 128 comments I'm glad I didn't get a very complete picture of Phryne's life before I read Cocaine Blues, back in the days of rental cassette books. Because of my very straitlaced background and life, I might not have tried it. And thereby missed a wonderful series. How the world and my attitudes have changed since then.


message 11: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "I'm glad I didn't get a very complete picture of Phryne's life before I read Cocaine Blues, back in the days of rental cassette books. Because of my very straitlaced background and life, I might no..."

That's true for so many of us, Margaret!


message 12: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 04, 2016 11:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
I loved the first few books of the series. Though I did give out on the ninth book, and haven't continued the book series. But I still love the TV show. I missed there being some kind of mental foil for Phryne in the book series, namely Jack. Her men just sort of ran together in the books. There needs to be some kind of mental connection for a love scene to work for me, otherwise it's about as sultry as watching a dog hump its stuffed animal.

One thing I really liked about Cocaine Blues is the subjects that it covered. Most historical mystery series seem to shy away from topics of abortion, rape, and child abuse. So I was pleasantly surprised by the tough subjects that the series tackles and that it highlights what I guess would be considered 'women issues'.


message 13: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Sabrina, I totally agree re: Phryne's lovers. I think the only man in the book that lasts long enough to display any level of brains is Li Chen (sp?), who becomes something of a regular helper in her investigations later in the series. I actually thought the tv series took a lot of what he does for the books and put that into Jack instead.

This is also something that I find hard to sympathize with in Phryne. I don't understand her jumping from pretty man to pretty man with seemingly no emotional connection. It's sort of understandable for her character, I guess, since she's an independent flapper who doesn't need a husband to support her and has no desire to be the usual wife. But it just seems like a lonely existence.

I like her and Jack as partner's in crime solving in the show version better.


message 14: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments I think it has something to do with her childhood, and also the Great War. A fair number of the people we meet in the series are veterans and most of them have issues connecting with others who weren't their "mates".


message 15: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "Sabrina, I totally agree re: Phryne's lovers. I think the only man in the book that lasts long enough to display any level of brains is Li Chen (sp?), who becomes something of a regular helper in h..."

I don't know if you all have made it to the last book in the series yet (Murder and Mendelssohn), but in that Phryne shows great tenderness and a real emotional connection with one of her lovers, a man who was a friend to her during the War - and I agree with Mary L that it's this shared experience that makes all the difference. I think Phryne chooses to sleep with lots of "pretty young men" because she doesn't want to be tied down into the traditional female role of wife or helpmeet - she doesn't need permanence, at least not now, and what she has with Li Chen is enough for her. But she does enjoy sex, which of course was a radical thing for a woman to admit even in the 20's.
I'm ambivalent about the relationship with Jack in the TV series, although I like the character very much - I find the "teasing" in their relationship sort of irritating, and let's face it, if the Phyrne of the books wanted Jack, she'd have him (in the books, by the way, he's a happily married man).


message 16: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 05, 2016 12:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
MaryL wrote: "I think it has something to do with her childhood, and also the Great War. A fair number of the people we meet in the series are veterans and most of them have issues connecting with others who wer..."

MaryL, that's a good point about the Great War. The 20s had a kind of 'we're alive and who cares if we die' attitude. This 1927 video of a ten year-old doing the Charleston untethered on a biplane always springs to mind when I think of attitude of 20s. (Also a great video to watch for any readers who find Phryne's windwalking unbelievable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU2pR...


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Merrily and Erin,

I wouldn't mind so much if it was maybe one guy a book whose character was developed and showed some kind of intelligence. But she averages 2-3 different guys per book, and it just got boring for me. I'm not even sure if all of them had a name. It is reminiscent of 'Bond girls', which always annoys me.

I'm hoping that the TV show will move past teasing, Merrily. That is always annoying when they just stretch it all out forever, and nothing ever comes of it. But popular entertainment seems to have this view that there is no adventure or romance in a long-term relationship. I find the opposite is true.


message 18: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "Merrily and Erin,

I wouldn't mind so much if it was maybe one guy a book whose character was developed and showed some kind of intelligence. But she averages 2-3 different guys per book, and it ju..."


I agree, Sabrina, I always get annoyed with the theory that "if they get together, there goes the fun and drama." Seems to me that the people who make these programs forget terrific detecting teams like Nick and Nora Charles! Actually I think that both "Bones" (for example) has been just fine since they let Bones and Booth get married.
I also don't find the endless tease very believable. In the Phryne Fisher series, both leads are adults and single. There really isn't any reason why they wouldn't proceed with a romance, since they're clearly attracted to one another, and Lord knows that Phryne is in no way repressed!
Most of Phryne's "beautiful young men" do have roles in the story, though I'd agree their characters are not extensively developed. You must read "Murder and Mendelssohn," though, I find that book the richest of the series, character wise. And it's an Homage to Holmes and Watson.


message 19: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara | 20 comments This was a rare case of reading the book after discovering the TV show...and it has been a while since I read the book. (My local library had a hard time finding 'Cocaine Blues' and has almost none of the rest of the series. Maddening!) I am very hazy on details from this story, but wanted to stop by. :)
I love the vibrancy of Phryne! I also like the 'Irregulars' she acquires- Dot especially. I am curious to see thoughts from those of you who've read the whole series. Anything that really stands out for you?


message 20: by Trish (last edited Oct 05, 2016 11:05PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Trish (trishhartuk) Sabrina wrote: "I'm hoping that the TV show will move past teasing, Merrily. That is always annoying when they just stretch it all out forever, and nothing ever comes of it. But popular entertainment seems to have this view that there is no adventure or romance in a long-term relationship. I find the opposite is true. "

I definitely agree with you there with TV (the only long-term relationships I can think of which stands out are Peter Burke and El in White Collar. Bones and Booth to a degree, although in that case, the writers seem to want to add drama - how many times has one or other of them been disappeared for extended periods of time between series).

Having not read the later Phryne books, I hadn't realised that Jack is a less important character later in the series. I don't think I've met Li Chen yet.


message 21: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sara wrote: "This was a rare case of reading the book after discovering the TV show...and it has been a while since I read the book. (My local library had a hard time finding 'Cocaine Blues' and has almost none..."

Sara, one of the things I like about the series is that Phyrne's "family" continues to grow, and those characters have their own interesting back stories, and also take part in her cases. Li Chen (and the accommodation they reach so that Phryne can remain in his life) is a fascinating character and (at this stage anyway) as close to a permanent relationship with a man as she's likely to get. As I said earlier, I particularly liked the most recent book, "Murder and Mendelssohn," which is an homage to Sherlock Holmes and Watson, and will also be enjoyed by those of you who've ever sung in a choral group.
I purchased all the Phryne's - which are published by Poisoned Pen - from Amazon as they're all trade paperbacks and not excessively expensive. I think they are hard to find in bookstores/libraries, although that may change as the TV series gains more and more fans.


message 22: by MaryL (new)

MaryL (maryl1) | 234 comments We've talked about this before in other books, but I think this is the most direct parallel to the late 1960's mores and behaviors. There is a general idea of society gone sideways from the Great War, lost young men, rejection of parental values because look where it got us, drugs to dull the pain, silence the horrors, make one FEEL again. New clothes, new dances, new ethics.


Lenore | 1079 comments MaryL wrote: "We've talked about this before in other books, but I think this is the most direct parallel to the late 1960's mores and behaviors. There is a general idea of society gone sideways from the Great W..."

Very good observation.


message 24: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
MaryL wrote: "We've talked about this before in other books, but I think this is the most direct parallel to the late 1960's mores and behaviors. There is a general idea of society gone sideways from the Great W..."

Very true, Mary, people certainly kicked over the traces in the 60's, too...


message 25: by KarenB (last edited Oct 07, 2016 04:38AM) (new)

KarenB | 352 comments Reading or rather re-reading Cocaine Blues has started me back on the whole series. It's been a while and I've watched the TV series since my previous read so it was good to get reacquainted with Phryne. I find some uncertainty on the author's part with Phryne's past - there are some minor contradictions (1 sister, more than one sister, brothers,??) but they smooth out as the series progresses.

Phryne's character is well-developed from the beginning. Her determination to remain single, her adventurousness, her intelligence and curiosity as well as her sensual nature are all apparent from the beginning. Her caring for others also is clear. I don't find her sexual relationships to be a problem. There generally is only one per book (so far, I'm up to book 7) and often carry over from one book to another. Her determination to remain unattached seems to come from a fiercely independent nature and, because marriage is still quite restrictive for women, it seems obvious to me that she would avoid it like the plague. I actually find the Jack Robinson relationship in the TV series to be somewhat distracting from the focus on Phryne as the main character. It's fun to watch, but it is Phryne's independence as a woman in the 20's that pulls me into the books.


message 26: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
KarenB wrote: "Reading or rather re-reading Cocaine Blues has started me back on the whole series. It's been a while and I've watched the TV series since my previous read so it was good to get reacquainted with P..."

Well put, Karen. It is easy for us to forget now that in those days, marriage was really limiting, and very few men would have tolerated a wife who wanted to work, much less be a private detective! Plus, having grown up so poor, I think Phryne wants to enjoy controlling her own money and being able to use it to indulge herself and take care of others as she chooses. She does a good job with that!


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Trish wrote: "I definitely agree with you there with TV (the only long-term relationships I can think of which stands out are Peter Burke and El in White Collar. Bones and Booth to a degree, although in that case, the writers seem to want to add drama - how many times has one or other of them been disappeared for extended periods of time between series).

So true, Trish. Or if there is a couple, they seem to always have them fighting or one is jealous, etc.


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
KarenB wrote: Her determination to remain unattached seems to come from a fiercely independent nature and, because marriage is still quite restrictive for women, it seems obvious to me that she would avoid it like the plague.

Really, only one per book? Maybe since I went on a binge read, and read the books back to back it seemed like more lovers per book. I think I just got binge read burnout, then.

I always had the impression that her fierce independence and commitment issues had more to do with fear left over from her bad relationship in Montparnasse. I'm hoping I'm not confusing this with TV show (sorry if I am), but when she was an artist's model after the war, didn't she get in an abusive relationship with a very violent and jealous Apache?

For the longest time, I thought that when it says 'she trained knife-fighting with Apache masters' in Cocaine Blues that she meant Native Americans. Then I discovered the French Apache street gangs and their distinctive dress and weapons.


message 29: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "KarenB wrote: Her determination to remain unattached seems to come from a fiercely independent nature and, because marriage is still quite restrictive for women, it seems obvious to me that she wou..."

Sabrina, yes, she pretty much sticks to one Pretty Young Man per book, although once she takes up with Li Chen I suppose you would have to say two, as he is always in the picture. And indeed, she was in an abusive relationship although I don't think that's the sole reason she's a commitment-phobe. When it comes down to it, I think she just enjoys her life as it is and doesn't want to be tied down.


message 30: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Merrily wrote: "It is easy for us to forget now that in those days, marriage was really limiting, and very few men would have tolerated a wife who wanted to work, much less be a private detective!"

Much later in the series, Dot kind of becomes a mirror to Phryne in this regard in her relationship with Hugh (sp?). She has been influenced by Phyrne's independence and enjoys working with her, and is taken aback to have to think about potentially leaving Phryne if she gets married.

If I had to give up my independence and work that I truly enjoyed to effectively become a housekeeper/nanny, dalliances would definitely become more appealing, I'm sure. I do still feel badly for Phryne, though, that she hasn't managed to find a lasting partner in crime, even if she doesn't want to get married.


message 31: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "For the longest time, I thought that when it says 'she trained knife-fighting with Apache masters' in Cocaine Blues that she meant Native Americans. Then I discovered the French Apache street gangs and their distinctive dress and weapons."

That was my assumption too, Sabrina! French gangs make like a million times more sense, LOL.

Difference in cultural reference, do you think? Like Australian and European readers would not have jumped to Native American on reading "Apache"?


message 32: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Erin wrote: "Sabrina wrote: "For the longest time, I thought that when it says 'she trained knife-fighting with Apache masters' in Cocaine Blues that she meant Native Americans. Then I discovered the French Apa..."

You're probably right about that, Erin, although we have such a global series of entertainments now that maybe they WOULD think about Native Americans. I mean even back in the day, the Germans were crazy about American western stories. (I actually knew what Phryne meant by Apaches, but I'm old enough to remember all those dances Gene Kelly used to do dressed in Apache fashion.)


message 33: by Sabrina (last edited Oct 07, 2016 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Erin wrote: That was my assumption too, Sabrina! French gangs make like a million times more sense, LOL.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one, Erin! But considering the French gangs got their name from the Native American Apaches due to their supposed savagery, I guess we just went back to the root of the word.

And I agree about Dot and Hugh in the series. They are kind of tackling the same sort of issues, but Dot kind of gives off the 'homemaker' vibe so I can understand why Hugh thought that.

I feel bad for Phryne, too. I don't expect her to get married in the series or anything like that, but just to have a steady, equal partner in life. Not sure if Li Chen ends up like that? I wasn't impressed with him at all when he was introduced in the books, and was actually a bit dismayed when he appeared in another.

I just don't see sleeping with a long line of pretty young men as the mark of independence and happiness in life. But maybe that's the introvert in me.

A question for others: How do you think, if at all, your perception of Phryne would change if she were a man who seduced multiple women whom he had no intention of sticking with?


CatBookMom KarenB wrote: "...I actually find the Jack Robinson relationship in the TV series to be somewhat distracting from the focus on Phryne as the main character. It's fun to watch, but it is Phryne's independence as a woman in the 20's that pulls me into the books..."

I very much agree with this. However, I suppose this was part of the melding and smushing of characters that happens as a result of adapting the books to TV. A long-drawn-out flirtation is pretty standard; a long-term affair, let alone a formal concubinage - uh, not so much.

I'm a huge Phryne fan, with some definite favorites among the books; it's certainly been an educational experience reading all of them.


CatBookMom Sabrina wrote: "...A question for others: How do you think, if at all, your perception of Phryne would change if she were a man who seduced multiple women whom he had no intention of sticking with?..."

This is standard in James Bond clone stories. Travis McGee (John D. MacDonald, though Travis was often much nicer to his girls than James Bond.

If I'm not getting your point, sorry.


message 36: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "Erin wrote: That was my assumption too, Sabrina! French gangs make like a million times more sense, LOL.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one, Erin! But considering the French gangs got their name from..."


Sabrina, I don't think it would generate much comment if Phyrne was a male detective - indeed, the "different girl in every book" is a standard in many series. I think Phryne is unusual in being as blatant and well, aggressive in her sexuality as she is, especially for the period. I read somewhere that even as toned-down as the series is, the producers were worried that American viewers would be offended by her behavior! While I wouldn't chose Phryne's lifestyle, either, and I doubt she'd really be able to manage so many encounters with as little fuss and muss as she does, I think her openness and lack of guilt about her enjoyment of handsome men is rather different and refreshing. I also think it's part of the bold character that is part of all she does, from flying to driving a fast car to taking on villains of one kind or another!


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
CatBookMom, you pretty much nailed it.

I was thinking of the similarities between James Bond (along with a number of other male detectives) and Phryne. James Bond has been criticized as a chauvinism womanizer, especially in modern day, and the recent movies have tried to change that view. So I was kind of wondering if the same criticism could be applied to a woman, or if her being a woman makes it different and less negative.

There's not really a word for womanizer when it switches up genders. The closest word I could find for 'womanizer' when referring to a woman is 'man-eater'.


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
Merrily wrote: I read somewhere that even as toned-down as the series is, the producers were worried that American viewers would be offended by her behavior! While I wouldn't chose Phryne's lifestyle,."

I found this article and it mentioned the American reviewers. It also talks about what we've been discussing: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/b...

And yes, Phryne's a very bold, adventurous character, and it is refreshing and brilliant. But weren't the 20's kind of known for sexual abandon? I always thought of them as being similar to the 60's. So is her character really unusual for the time period?

I find the ease with which she disposes and acquires a new boy toy without jealously and fuss kind of unbelievable too. After reading about all the jealous lovers shooting each other in 1900 San Fransisco archives, it seems like there would be quite a bit of jealous, gun-toting lovers.


message 39: by CatBookMom (last edited Oct 07, 2016 05:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

CatBookMom May I just mention that if you haven't found the audiobook versions of these books, you're missing some great listening. Stephanie Daniel, an outstanding Australian narrator (sadly, she died in 2014) recorded all of the books currently available (through **Mendelssohn**). Audible has all of these, and I think they're Whispersync'd, which means that if you own the ebooks or can borrow them via OverDrive, you can get the audiobooks at a great price.

For instance, the Whispersync price for **Cocaine Blues** is $2.99 (http://tinyurl.com/gsxhwzc)


message 40: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "Merrily wrote: I read somewhere that even as toned-down as the series is, the producers were worried that American viewers would be offended by her behavior! While I wouldn't chose Phryne's lifesty..."

Sabrina, while the Twenties was certainly "loose" compared to previous decades, I think the code of conduct for women really hadn't changed all that much. Look at poor Lady Edith in Downton Abbey who yes, went to London, became a business woman, and even (shock!) slept with a man to whom she was not married, but still would have been ruined had her pregnancy been widely reported. Birth control (or the lack of it) was certainly at the core of how much freedom women really had at any time. Phryne obviously has that under control, but it really wasn't as readily available then as it was in the 60's.
And thanks CatBookMom, for the review of the audio books. I have listened to "Murder and Mendelssohn" and it is indeed very good.


message 41: by KarenB (new)

KarenB | 352 comments I just don't see sleeping with a long line of pretty young men as the mark of independence and happiness in life. But maybe that's the introvert in me.

Two things come to mind here - one is that Phryne is most definitely an extrovert. There are several instances in which it is made clear that she needs to be with people, that her energy comes from other people. I think that's one of the reasons I like reading her so much - she is so completely different from me! The second is that she does have serious long-term relationships, but they are friendships. If I were to amateur-psychoanalyze her, I would think that in her past she was exposed to damaging sexual relationships - perhaps her parents' marriage was abusive? - and that she has seen enough of what the limitations of marriage can do to a woman that she knows it isn't for her.

As to a similar treatment of women by male detectives - while there is a parallel, the male characters in the Phryne books are treated with respect. They are realized characters, not just beautiful bodies, and Phryne makes it clear to each what their relationship will entail. I'm not sure that would hold true for her male counterparts.


message 42: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
KarenB wrote: "I just don't see sleeping with a long line of pretty young men as the mark of independence and happiness in life. But maybe that's the introvert in me.

Two things come to mind here - one is that P..."


Well said, Karen, I think you nailed it! Phryne does have long-term, fulfilling relationships, just not in the form of a traditional marriage. She is, after all, a mother, although to a heterogenous sort of family. I was thinking about all this last night and wondering if I'd even recognize a Phryne in love as Herself, if you know what I mean. She just doesn't seem like the type (not that she doesn't love, if you know what I mean).


Sabrina Flynn | 1158 comments Mod
KarenB wrote: "Two things come to mind here - one is that Phryne is most definitely an extrovert. There are several instances in which it is made clear that she needs to be with people, that her energy comes from other people

Really great points, Karen. And well said. Extroverts are like aliens to me. I can't even imagine being energized by people. Introvert/extrovert talks always remind me of the Hamster Ball comic. Always hilarious! I hope you've all seen that?

I really love that she has collected a family throughout the series, and a group of friends. She has taken on the role of father and mother, and all the responsibility that it entails. So I think that is very telling that she was willing to give up some of her freedom for her daughters.


message 44: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sabrina wrote: "KarenB wrote: "Two things come to mind here - one is that Phryne is most definitely an extrovert. There are several instances in which it is made clear that she needs to be with people, that her en..."

Of course, I think it's important to note that there is spectrum as to being extrovert or introvert. I'm most definitely an extrovert, but I also enjoy my down time and taking a day off just to putter around the house. Extroverts are so often stereotyped as having to be out and about doing something with people every minute, and that's true for some, but not for all - just as introverts vary in much alone time they need.


Sheri | 26 comments I just finished Cocaine Blues and I enjoyed it. I was a little reluctant to read the books as I didn't love the tv series. The tv series seemed too similar, to me, to the Diana Rigg Mrs Bradley series on Mystery several years ago. I enjoyed Mrs Bradley but this one seemed an imitation. However, I will read more of the series and I may even try the tv shows again. The books might give me more depth to the stories that I didn't feel like I got from tv. And it may just be that I like books better! To me, it's the rare tv show or movie that does real justice to a good book. Thank you for the recommendation. Since joining the group I've been introduced to some really good books!


message 46: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sheri wrote: "I just finished Cocaine Blues and I enjoyed it. I was a little reluctant to read the books as I didn't love the tv series. The tv series seemed too similar, to me, to the Diana Rigg Mrs Bradley ser..."

Sheri, speaking only for myself, I very much prefer the books to the TV series. The TV series is fun, but very simplistic in comparison to the story lines in the books, and also, there are so many more interesting characters in the books - that is, the members of Phryne's "family" who were cut out for TV. As I think I mentioned earlier in this discussion, what bothered me most about the series was that the actress who plays Phryne is just WAY too old for the part - not that she isn't good, but I read the books first and so had a very strong picture of Phryne in my head. Anyway, I hope you keep on with the series of books as it's really enjoyable.


Sheri | 26 comments Thank you Merrily. I've ordered the next two books in the series from my library. The "between the wars years" is such an interesting time. There were huge societal changes which makes for very interesting stories


message 48: by Merrily (new)

Merrily | 1791 comments Mod
Sheri wrote: "Thank you Merrily. I've ordered the next two books in the series from my library. The "between the wars years" is such an interesting time. There were huge societal changes which makes for very int..."

Very true, Sheri. And I find the Australian setting fascinating, too.


message 49: by Deb (new)

Deb F | 5 comments Sheri, I love the Phryne books, and recently found out about another 'between the wars' female sleuth, Maisie Dobbs, which is set mostly in London. You might enjoy these, too - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...


message 50: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin (tangential1) | 1638 comments Mod
KarenB wrote: "Phryne makes it clear to each what their relationship will entail."

I think that's the key, Karen. Phryne does seem relatively careful about who she picks to to take as a lover. None of them seem to be the clingy or jealous type. Looking for the same thing she's looking for.


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