Murder in Montparnasse
While on leave in Paris in 1918, seven Australian soldiers become unwitting witnesses to a crime. A decade later, in Melbourne, these seven soldiers are being murdered systematically, their deaths disguised to make them look accidental. Meanwhile, the chef of a fine French restaurant near Melbourne is being harassed to pay protection money, and the chef’s young fiancée is kidnapped. The Hon. Phryne Fisher is called upon to give advice.
Phryne Fisher is not a typical woman of the 1920s. Financially secure, she is in control of her own life. Her household consists of a staff of servants, two adopted teenaged daughters, and an assortment of pets. The man in her life, her lover, Lin Chung, will soon marry another woman; when he does, Fisher’s butler and cook intend to quit (for Lin will not give up his lady). Maybe Fisher is not in total control, but she is unconventional. And unpredictable.
Fisher is a unique character who solves crimes without appearing to be too perfect. Apart from the fact that Phryne Fisher enjoys more freedom than most women would have had in the 1920s, Murder in Montparnasse is credible and entertaining, its characters well-drawn.