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Kerry Greenwood's Unnatural Habits


Kerry Greenwood’s Unnatural Habits

I discovered Greenwood quite by chance somewhere around 2007. And ever since I have eagerly awaited the next installment of a Phryne Fisher or Corrinna Chapman mystery. You can just imagine how thrilled I was when ABC started airing the TV series of Phryne Fisher last year.

Accordingly I was excited to find a new offering – Phryne’s 19th outing Unnatural Habits. I bought it to read on my flight overseas at the end of the year and avoided it till I was in my plane seat.

Phryne is much the same, the same devil may care attitude towards social conventions that don’t make any sense, the same thrill when danger is around, the same degree of annoyance that people are doing things they shouldn’t. Nasty things. And indeed they are.

In 1920s-30s Melbourne, girls are missing yet again. Young girls, young pregnant girls, those who wanted to be, and those who didn’t want to be, sold to the highest bidder, raped, and those who find themselves caught up in the white slave trade. Smack bang in the middle of all this lands an eager female reporter, keen to prove herself, naive to the extreme. As if young girls disappearing and a reporter nearly getting beaten up if not for the intervention of Phryne were not enough to make Phryne curious, Phryne has to get involved when the reporter herself vanishes.

She has to follow a trail through socialist and feminist run communes, through charitable nuns who run laundry services, while combing through brothels and clubs and keeping Inspector Jack Robinson informed just enough to ensure he doesn’t forbid her from becoming kidnapped and sold off herself. Because to solve this mystery that’s just what she may have to do.

If you have never read the Fisher series before, you are in for a treat. Mix a flapper in ’20s Melbourne with a radically (for the time) feminist attitude and an inclination to assume that she is James Bond and you have Phryne. Start with Cocaine Blues and work your way up – the novels vary a tad in the relationships between people when compared to the TV series and you will not regret diving into the entire collection of cases. The latest reports on Greenwood’s FB page state that she is currently writing the next Phryne Fisher – music to my ears. The sooner the better.

Genre: Crime Fiction
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Series: Phryne Fisher
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (The Alien and the Onion)


  • bernadetteinoz

    Nice review…and you are officially the first to post a review for the crime/mystery/thriller category for this year’s AWW challenge….thanks for getting the ball rolling for us. I’m looking forward to reading this one myself.

    • Marisa

      Aww thanks. I wasn’t aware that we started the challenge officially on the 7th. Sorry about that. But yay I am first in the crime fic genre! I hope to dominate it by the end! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am aiming for a max of 52 books by the way.

  • Lindy

    Hi Marisa, great review of Kerry’s latest Phryne Fisher. And yest she has started writing the next book. Were you aware that she also writes historical fiction? More ‘historical’ than Phryne I mean.
    She has a fabulous novel of intrigue and romance set in Ancient Egypt, called Out of the Black Land; and Medea, the first in her re-published Ancient Greek series The Delphic Women, is a brilliant retelling of the ‘true’ story of Medea and her adventures with Jason and the Argonauts. Both books (and soon the other two in the Delphic Women, Cassandra & Electra) are available from Clan Destine Press.
    cheers Lindy

    • Marisa

      Hi Lindy,

      Thank you for the recommendation. I will definitely be keen to review more of Kerry’s work! ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you and/or Kerry coming to the editing and publishing conference in Perth in April this year? We’d love to have you. Nury Vittachi is coming to present and it might be interesting for Kerry to meet him?

      Cheers, Marisa

      • Lindy

        Hi Marisa
        I don’t know about this conference… And Perth is a lonnnng way.
        If youd’ like review copies of Kerry’s books – or any others from CDP – drop me an email.

        • Marisa

          Hi Lindy,

          The conference is the 6th IPEd National Editors’ Conference that will be held for the first time in Perth in 2013. I am convenor and the website is here: It may be worth attending – we have publishers, writers and editors attending from across Australia but also from elsewhere in the world to talk about editing across different genres, backgrounds, countries, processes and formats and what that means for publishers and writers. It’s in April in Fremantle and everyone is pretty excited because most WA based people have been travelling across East to attend it for the past five times and now everyone else gets to travel the same distance to come see WA. And we have entertainment and fun planned as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It would be so sad if you didn’t come. ๐Ÿ™

          Allen & Unwin asked me to sent an invite to Kerry. I must remember to get on that. ๐Ÿ˜€

          And oh wow, thanks for offering to send review copies – I will take your entire back catalog! Then I will be set for the Australian Women Writers challenge for this year! I am planning to read and review 52 books. I will email you my contact details shortly.

          Thanks! Marisa

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