Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Miss FisherReview by Kate Shaw

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a visually stunning series with high production value.  Based on the Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-knee) mystery series by Kerry Greenwood (up to 20 adventures as of Murder and Mendelssohn in 2014), this series follows the Honorable Miss Fisher and her companion Dot from mystery to mystery. Phryne is a wild character: a flapper-style, brazen, forward-thinking, wealthy eccentric. She returns to Australia after the Great War, having risen from poor beginnings to being a titled lady of leisure.  The disappearance of her sister Janey when she was a child, along with a penchant for tripping (sometimes literally) over dead bodies, spurs Miss Fisher to try her hand at being a lady detective, much to the chagrin of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson.

The series is stunning.  The look of 1920s Melbourne is lush and vivid and the costuming is simply sumptuous.  Honestly, who knew that a man looked so fabulous in a full coverage 20s swim costume? The automobiles, including Miss Fisher’s iconic Hispano-Suiza, along with the homes and delightful soundtrack transport the viewer to the Age of Wonderful Nonsense.

The acting is pretty flawless.  Essie Davis embodies Miss Fisher and the supporting cast is stellar. Ashleigh Cummings is divine as Miss Fisher’s innocent Catholic companion, Dot, who is often unwillingly entrapped in the mystery. The good inspector, played by Nathan Page, is the perfect foil for our erstwhile heroine. They share a witty banter and a healthy dose of sexual tension; Jack is a good man and a good cop.  He comes with his own companion, the sometimes bumbling, but always adorable Constable Hugh Collins. The writing is top notch too, each episode telling a new adventure, while following a season long arch.  Equal parts funny, sexy, dramatic, and heartfelt, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries shouldn’t be missed!

I like Ms. Greenwood’s novels well enough (I’ve read the first 3 so far), but I love getting lost in the series adaptation.  Highly recommended!

Check availability on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series One
Check availability on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series Two
Check availability on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series Three
Check availability on Kerry Greenwood’s first Phryne Fisher’s adventure: Cocaine Blues

About the reviewer: Reference librarian Kate Shaw loves period piece film from pretty much an era. Unfortunately, her hair insists on being huge like a 1980s perm (without the perm), so she can’t wear a 20s finger wave or sleek bob like Phryne Fisher’s.