ByKathy A. Bugajsky, writer at
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Kathy A. Bugajsky

The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher is a "lady detective" who solves murders in Australia following World War I. She first appeared in Kerry Greenwood's book series, which is now a television series on ABC Australia called Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

Why Do You Need Another Crime-Solving Detective In Your Life?

Imagine Sherlock's brains and James Bond's charisma in the body of a woman.

Unlike others in her field, Miss Fisher brings a certain level of flair to her cases. She started off in life with no money until her family inherited both fortune and title. This allows her to both maneuver through a high-society party and hang out with dock workers at the pub.

At the start of the series, she returns to Australia after attending school in England, driving an ambulance during the war and a being a muse for painters in Paris. She has settled into her new home with a cast of characters that assist her in her cases and daily life whether they want to or not.

Her Crime-Solving Team

Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) has many charms and many friends. The books and the television show have many of the same characters with only a few differences.

Her right-hand woman is Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings), who doesn't trust technology and is very Catholic. This is a bit of a concern since she likes the Protestant policeman, Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt). Hugh works with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) who in the television series is more of a love interest than he is in the books. Add to the mix Bert and Cec (Travis McMahon and Anthony Sharpe) who drive a taxi and help with the seedier side of the town and Mr. Butler (Richard Bligh) who keeps her household.

Mr. Butler's introduction (Richard Bligh) 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' [Credit: ABC]
Mr. Butler's introduction (Richard Bligh) 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' [Credit: ABC]

The main differences between the book and the show involve Miss Fisher's family. The show has a continuing story line about her sister's death. Yet, her sister is very much alive in the books. While the books have more characters, including a Mrs. Butler, the show adds her Aunt Prudence played by Miriam Margolyes.

Her Wardrobe Itself Is A Character

While the books describe some amazing outfits, the television series brings them to life. The costume designer, Marion Boyce, designed 95 percent of the clothing herself to accommodate the character's active lifestyle. There is an outfit for every situation, from an evening gown to nothing at all.

Not All Flirting, Feathers And Fashion

“A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance.” — Kerry Greenwood, 'Cocaine Blues'

While her style is what draws you in, her cases are worthy of Sherlock himself. With both the books and the shows, you are never yelling out who the killer is at the beginning. Everything unfolds in a way that is entertaining as well as interesting. The books provide far more detail, but the shows make the 1920s leap off the screen.

Miss Fisher is a well-rounded character that is soft and strong, smart and wise, fun and funny. While her friends help her quite a bit, she can also take care of herself.

Finding Miss Fisher

If you would like to watch, there are three seasons available, with a total of 34 episodes. They are on DVD and currently streaming on .

If you would like to read instead, there are 20 books that are available in paper, eBook, and audiobook (read by Stephanie Daniel). The first book is entitled Cocaine Blues. Unlike with other adaptations, you can't go wrong either way.

What do you love most about Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries?


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