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Away with the Fairies: A Phryne Fisher Mystery    by Kerry Greenwood order for
Away with the Fairies
by Kerry Greenwood
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Nina de Angeli

To unravel the mysterious death of a middle aged creator of illustrated children's books about fairies, glamorous amateur sleuth Phryne Fisher goes undercover at progressive 'Women's Choice' magazine. Did the victim's double life of fairy tale author and gossipy advice columnist conceal a kindhearted woman or a blackmailer?

The collection of characters on the magazine staff includes genuine suspects and decoys hiding other secrets, while producing articles on gardening, cooking, and child care. Phryne writes a fashion column for the magazine and does fashion makeovers for unsophisticated young staff members. The zany office atmosphere at the magazine, which advertises Nutrax Nerve Food, slyly pays tribute to one of my favorite Golden Age classics, Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers.

Meanwhile, Phryne's private life is in turmoil. She is desperate with fear for her exotic lover, Chinese immigrant silk merchant Lin Chung. He has gone missing on a buying trip to Asia, captured by brutal pirates in the South China Sea. Madame Lin, Chung's formidable grandmother and matriarch of the Lin clan, struggles with persuading the family to give up lands in China to pay off the pirates and save her grandson. The immigrant Chinese merchant community of Melbourne comes vividly to life, a world apart from the Aussie version of British society.

Phryne (pronounced fry-knee), termed by one reviewer 'Miss Marple's naughty niece', leads the reader on a merry chase through this sprightly cozy, with a scary detour into Lin Chung's dangerous life as a silk trader. Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press for reprinting this popular Aussie series in US editions.

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