In this episode of Phryne Fisher’s mysteries, set in 1920s Australia, she has decided to take her assistant Dot and her two adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth, for a quiet seaside holiday in Queenscliff. An acquaintance, Mr Thomas, has lent his substantial house to Miss Fisher, including his staff, Mr and Mrs Johnson, to take care of their domestic needs. However, there is no sign of the couple, their furniture is missing and the back door is wide open.
Soon there are other mysteries to solve. Who is the phantom pigtail stealer and why is Mrs Macmaster, who lives next door, with her son-in-law Dr Green, so nasty and so nosy? As usual in these stories, there are many other characters participating in the plot. Their other neighbour has two idle sons, with a particularly nasty friend, called Fraser, staying with them. A film company is producing a silent movie on the beach and soon Phryne’s hopeless kitchen maid, Lily is starring in the film.
Kerry Greenwood spices her stories with rich description of the clothes worn by Phryne and Dot and of the delicious food they eat. She also indulges herself with the pleasure of including aspects of 1920s life which she has researched. On this occasion she describes a party at the house of Madame Sélary, where the local surrealist club act as one might expect or perhaps as you might not expect.
A delightful new addition to Phryne’s household is poor young lad, Tinker. Hero worshipping Miss Fisher, he becomes a gem, assisted by stray dog, Gaston, in carrying out her orders and acting undercover to solve the mysteries in the style of Sexton Blake.
As always, this book is a pleasure to read and great escapism.
You can buy Dead Man’s Chest on Amazon UK
My review of The Redoubtable Miss Fisher Mysteries is here