This sumptuous collection is a baker’s dozen of Phryne Fisher short stories, spanning the breadth of her existence thus far. In each the characters of Phryne and, to a lesser extent, her entourage are reproduced in exquisite miniature.
With her usual egalitarian panache, Phryne manages to restore an inheritance from a lust-blinded pater, reunite long-lost lovers, protect innocent young women from the unwanted and forceful advances of ruthless men, prevent a terrified manager from commiting murder, and defend the innocent from unwarranted suspicion. All this while looking delightful, dancing gaily (though not always with partners as adept as one might wish), and finding the odd enticing young lad with whom to sport.
Interleaved with the stories, which are beautifully illustrated, are recipes for cocktails and dishes that have appeared in the stories, and the occasional piece of advice from the admirable protagonist – like “Six ways to discourage the overly enthusiastic suitor.” This is a book that would be best enjoyed dipped in to from time to time, each morsel savoured, each aspect relished. Or you can do as I did, and greedily gulp the whole thing down in the space of an afternoon, all the while promising to put the book down. After just one more. - Alex