THE LADY WITH THE GUN ASKS THE QUESTIONS by Kerry Greenwood (Allen & Unwin, April 2021)
The first Phryne Fisher novel, Cocaine Blues, appeared in 1989 and set the tone for the twenty novels, all set in the late 1920s, that followed it. Now some thirty years later, helped along by the popular television series and the regrettable movie, the elegant Miss Fisher has become a mainstay of the Australian crime fiction scene.
The Lady With The Gun Asks The Questions is a modified re-issue of an earlier short story collection, A Question Of Death, but with four new stories added.
The original stories are all set in 1928 and involve the feisty Miss Fisher in a range of mysteries and crimes, and are often used by Kerry Greenwood to flesh out Phryne’s background and her stubborn independence. In line with the most recent novel, Death In Daylesford, the four new stories are set in 1929 and find Phryne tackling a range of intriguing conundrums and social issues from the 1920s, ranging from prostitution to poverty to elopement and bell ringing.
Regular readers of the series will know what to expect of the stories collected here: light mystery, amusing banter, interesting characters and an abundance of historical detail. They are all quite enjoyable.
The book also comes with a very interesting introduction by Kerry, who explains the origins of the Phryne Fisher character and the background to the stories. The book also has the typically stylish cover by illustrator Beth Norling.
A must for all Phryne Fisher fans!
The Lady With The Gun Asks The Questions will be released in Australia on 30 March 2021. There does not seem to be release dates yet for the United Kingdom and America, but it can be purchased through Australian retailers. Thanks to Allen & Unwin and the Canberra Weekly for an advanced copy of the book.