Queen of the Flowers
Phryne Fisher, a seemingly flighty, iconoclastic philanthropist, is hardly flummoxed when a former friend from the circus drops by for tea in her rural Australian home, accompanied of course by her precocious elephant. Phryne, with her two adopted daughters and domestic help, is totally preoccupied with details for the upcoming 1928 St. Kilda Flower Parade, which she has basically financed.
All seems to be proceeding nicely when two pivotal characters disappear: Rose Weston and Phryne’s adopted daughter, Ruth. The latter had been allowed to go off to see her mother to ascertain the identity of her real father, who abandoned her. Mysterious letters appearing at the end of each chapter, between Miss Mavis Sutherland and Miss Anna Ross (Ruth’s mother) and much later between Rory McCrimmon and Miss Anna Ross, have a connection to the kidnapping of Rose and the disappearance of Ruth. What begins as a nonchalant romp in the life of an odd but respected woman develops into a phenomenal mystery gripping the reader to its complex, mysterious end. Wonderful!