Murder in the Dark

Written by Kerry Greenwood
Review by Vicki Kondelik

Phryne Fisher receives an invitation from the eccentric twins Gerald and Isabella Templar to the Last Best Party of 1928, to be held at their estate near Werribee, Australia. At first she hesitates, but after she receives various threats, including a snake in a Christmas present, she decides to go, because the best way to get Phryne to do something is to tell her not to do it.

Phryne enjoys herself at the party, peopled by a number of eccentric guests. But soon Gerald’s obnoxious adopted son, Tarquin, is kidnapped, and Phryne learns that an internationally-renowned assassin is among the guests. Who is the killer’s intended victim: the twins or Phryne herself? And are the kidnapper and the assassin one and the same? Phryne races to find the truth, with not many clues to go on except a series of riddles left on luggage labels for her to find. But the intrepid Phryne is determined to win this cat and mouse game with her adversary.

I had read only one other book in this mystery series before, but I don’t think you need to have read the others to fully appreciate this one. Greenwood provides extensive details about life in 1920s Australia, and the adventurous Phryne is a delightful heroine with whom I would definitely like to spend more time. These books are pure entertainment – an absolute pleasure to read.