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Raisins and Almonds: A Phryne Fisher Mystery    by Kerry Greenwood order for
Raisins and Almonds
by Kerry Greenwood
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Raisins and Almonds is the ninth book in Kerry Greenwood's Down Under Phryne Fisher series. Copyrighted in 1997, its first United States edition appears now in 2007. Greenwood is the author of more than forty novels and six non-fiction books. So far I have read ten of the forty and have enjoyed every one of them immensely.

Phryne hires herself out as a detective, but is choosy about her cases. She is asked to prove the innocence of Sylvia Lee, a young bookshop owner. Ms. Lee had the misfortune of having a young student, a customer in her shop, drop dead at her feet. She is accused of poisoning him. Phryne agrees to investigate and steps into the world of Judaism. Having a curious mind, as well as an eye for well-built males, she immerses herself in the mystery of the man's death and the 'exotic world of Yiddish, refugees, rabbis, kosher dinners, Kadimah, strange alchemical symbols and ... chicken soup.'

Phryne has her usual set of hangers-on who assist her in her pursuit of righting wrongs; her taxi driver friends Bert and Cec; Dot, her indispensable companion; and Detective Jack Robinson. Naturally, Phryne clears up the mystery happily for all concerned, except for the perpetrator. Doesn't she always? What is so delightful about Phryne is her take on life, her gusto for each day, and her attraction to the male body. These books take place in the 1920s and possibly life swung a little more carefree at that time. I just like to think that Phryne marched to her own drummer and did what was right for her. She loved the material things that money could acquire for her but never forgot her poor beginnings and was a softy for those in need.

The depiction of the '20s is especially poignant for me, as that was the time my mother and father married. I can visualize the clothing and music and foods of the day and picture my parents in the middle of Phryne's life. Fun.

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