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Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery    by Kerry Greenwood order for
Cocaine Blues
by Kerry Greenwood
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Flamboyant, confident, rather outrageous at times, and, on the surface, every bit a lady, Phryne Fisher returns to her roots Australia in far better circumstances than she left. Leaving the slums of Melbourne in rags, she returns an heiress bored with her life as a lady in the late 1920s.

On a mission to look into the health of a friend's daughter, Phryne acquires hangers-on at a fast pace. They include a personal maid, two cab drivers, a female doctor who bucked the system to study medicine, a Russian princess and her two grandchildren - as well as several members of the Melbourne police force.

She suspects that the lady in question's husband - a lout who has no head for business - is systematically poisoning the friend's daughter. One thing leads to another and Phryne becomes involved in the lucrative drug business as well as an illegal abortion ring.

Phryne is not adverse to shedding her clothes in public if it will further her cause. Nor is she shy about bedding a man who appeals to her. Phryne is way ahead of her time. Will her time ever come?

Because of her success in assisting the gendarmes, Phryne has decided to open a detective agency in Melbourne. Though Cocaine Blues is the first in her series, this is its first printing in the United States. But the book's not being in sequence didn't matter a whit to me. I love Phryne at any time in her life.

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