Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Cocaine BluesThe end of the 1920s and Phryne Fisher, a young socialite, is tired of London. After solving a jewel theft, she receives a request to investigate the possible poisoning of a wife by her husband – in Melbourne, Australia.

No sooner has she arrived, she is thrust into a world of cocaine smuggling – can she find the Cocaine King and solve the mystery of the poisoning?

A while ago, Mrs Puzzle Doctor went to Melbourne for a work trip – a hard life, isn’t it? – and popped into a bookshop to buy me some local mystery fiction. The helpful shop assistant recommended three titles – the other two will be appearing soon. But this seemed to be a bright breezy book to start with? So what did I think of our heroine?

Problem 1: Countdown City, the last book I read was an incredibly impressive piece of work. As such, it makes it very hard to be objective about the next book that I read (i.e. this one). If you put something next to something that good, your eye keeps being drawn to the impressive thing and it makes it hard to focus on the lesser work.

Problem 2: I’m pretty sure that even if the last book I’d read was absolute rubbish – look through the blog, you’ll find a few examples – I wouldn’t get on with this book. It’s like me and the book are in complete antiphase.

I’ve mentioned my review policy before – if I’m given a book to review, I’ll make an effort to finish and review it, but if the book isn’t my sort of thing, I’ll usually spot it quickly, put the book to one side and let the publisher know that I won’t review the book. If I buy the book, or get given it, then I’ll make more of an effort to finish it. Hence finishing this one…

There are nineteen of these books. Nineteen.

OK, to summarise; no real mystery – a twist, nothing more, no sense of place – the Melbourne setting doesn’t come across at all, unbelievable characters, a couple of dubious sex scenes…

Fair’s fair. These books are clearly popular – this one has 4.5/5 on Amazon, but they’re not my cup of tea. Not recommended.


  1. I was glad to see you reviewed this, since I haven’t read the book (and have it in my TBR pile). Not so glad when I saw you did not like it. Oh well.

    I am glad you liked Countdown City, but I did not read the review because I have not read the first one. Will be doing that in a month or so.


      • I will try it. I already knew it doesn’t fit in with my standard fare (too light and humorous). But it has a female author, a strong female character (I hope), and historical fiction. So it can’t be a total loss. I hope.


  2. I have such a huge TBR wish list that’s it’s a relief to delete something from it. Thanks for the warning.


  3. They are not mine either, but I thought it must be me as everyone else seems to like them. Thanks, Dee
    I admit to liking her other series a great deal.


  4. Steve, I’m one of the disagreers….Probably because I was weaned on Nancy Drew and I look at Phryne as the grownup’s Nancy. Yes, the books are light and frivolous–but they’re one of my little guilty pleasures. You’ve put aside her first adventure…here’s my take on her most recent.


  5. The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn are quite similar. These Kerry Greenwood books have been turned into an Australian TV series called The Miss Fisher Mysteries.


    • The Daisy Dalrymple books – at least the two that I’ve read – were much closer to classic-style mysteries. And in neither of those did Daisy try and distract the bad-guy by having sex whilst locked up with her lover… At some point, sooner or later, I’ll go back to that series.


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