Death in Daylesford (Phryne Fisher Mysteries, 21)

Written by Kerry Greenwood
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

Hoping for a bit of rest and relaxation, Jazz Age private detective and philanthropist Phryne Fisher travels with her companion Dot to Hepburn Springs, near the town of Daylesford, located in the most mineral-springs-rich region of Australia. Miss Fisher has been invited to visit a spa for shell-shocked soldiers by the doctor running it, hoping she will provide a monetary donation. While attending the Daylesford Highland Gathering, Phryne witnesses an “accidental” death that she believes is more likely murder. She also discovers that women have been disappearing from this seemingly pleasant town. Meanwhile, back home in St. Kilda, Miss Fisher’s adopted children, Ruth and Jane, team up with Dot’s fiancé, Detective Sergeant Hugh Collins, to investigate the death of one of their classmates. The girl’s body was discovered floating by the wharf, and the autopsy showed she was pregnant.

Death in Daylesford is #21 in the Phryne Fisher mystery series, and Greenwood’s fans will not be disappointed. The mysteries are many and complicated, with a slew of interesting characters and multiple suspects. With the exception of Jack, who has been sent elsewhere for a bit, all the characters Miss Fisher fans love are here, displaying their wonderful quirks and talents. Although death and foul deeds occur to produce mystery, like all Phryne stories, the tone is kept light by the female detective’s wry wit and outrageous behavior. For those unfamiliar with the series, enough background on the characters and mysteries are given, but this reviewer recommends reading the series in order—to get to know each delightful character as they appear.