Theres actually two stories running in parallel here. Somewhat to my surprise, Ive discovered a bunch of other readers who hate Lin Chung and his relationship with Phryne I dont get that, because I love the connection between the two, and the fact that despite that, Greenwood doesnt force Phryne to change the way she lives.
One of my favorite things about this series is the information and descriptions of Australia during this time. Overall a good book with great characters but the main mystery could have been better.
Note on July 22, 2014: Now that I've seen most of the Phrynne Fisher series on PBS, I can honestly say it's well done, but not a patch on the entertainment value of the books themselves.
Phryne, sleep-deprived and grumpy, wakes up one day to find a very nervous inspector Robinson in her parlor. It was very charming and light, the close-knit community of writers and neighbors who are involved in the case made for an eccentric and interesting supporting cast, and even having watched the episode from the TV show Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries I enjoyed it.
Lots of good manners, and the occasional lie,whereas Lin Chung's story line was more dangerous and emotionally volatile. I have mixed feelings about Phryne and Lin's relationship, as he is taken and Phryne has other lovers, but I have no doubt that they love each other despite their free-spirited arrangement. "Away with the Fairies" is a meandering story about family, love, devotion, and choices amongst other matters.
When this story begins, Lin Chung and Li Pen have gone on a silk-buying trip to China, which is experiencing civil and military unrest.
Or at least thats what got me picking up Away with the Fairies, the next book in my Phryne Fisher series read, as I searched for comfort reading in the anticipation and wake of Hurricane Irma. The murder victims in Secrets in Death and Away with the Fairies are also surprisingly similar. The victim is so unsympathetic in Away with the Fairies, that the case of Miss Lavenders death isnt even Phrynes primary concern during the story. Instead, her sometimes desultory and often parceled out investigation into Miss Lavenders seemingly unremarkable life and slightly puzzling death serves as a distraction to keep Phryne from her growing concern over her missing lover, Lin Chung. When Im looking for comfort read, I always turn to Phryne, and am swept away if not quite as far away with the fairies as the victim in this case. A bit of the story in Away with the Fairies reminded me fondly of Murder Must Advertise from the Lord Peter Wimsey series. Just as Wimsey infiltrates an advertising firm to investigate a murder, Phryne inserts herself into the ladies magazine where the victim and many of her suspects work.
Kerry has written thirteen books in this series with no sign yet of Miss Fisher hanging up her pearl-handled pistol. Kerry Greenwood has worked as a folk singer, factory hand, director, producer, translator, costume-maker, cook and is currently a solicitor. When she is not writing, she works as a locum solicitor for the Victorian Legal Aid. She is also the unpaid curator of seven thousand books, three cats (Attila, Belladonna and Ashe) and a computer called Apple (which squeaks).