Book Review: Death in Daylesford (Phryne Fisher #21) by Kerry Greenwood

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Pages: 336, paperback
Source: NetGalley

Taking the waters has never been more delicious–or dangerous…

When a mysterious invitation for a spa holiday arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown retired Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is piqued. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s rural spa country for shell-shocked veterans of World War I. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart, but what can Spencer want from her?

Phryne and her faithful servant Dot set out for Daylesford, viewing their rural sojourn as a short holiday. While Dot gets to know the remarkable women who run the hotel where they are lodging, Phryne enjoys an enticing meal–and dessert–with the attractive Captain Spencer. But their relaxation is short-lived as they are thrown into treacherous Highland gatherings, a mysterious case of disappearing women, and a string of murders committed under their very noses. Meanwhile, back at home, Phryne’s three wards are busy solving a mystery of their own when a schoolmate is found floating facedown near the docks–and pregnant at the time of her death.

With her usual pluck and deft thinking, Phryne methodically investigates the strange goings-on in this anything-but-tranquil spa town.

Phryne and Dot visit a small town with big secrets in Death in Daylesford, the latest from Kerry Greenwood in the Phryne Fisher mystery series.

While the titular mystery gets most of the attention, there is a submystery that Phryne’s wards, Jane, Ruth, and Tinker, solve handily, with help from Dot’s police beau, Hugh. All the characters put in at least a brief appearance.

Phryne and Dot investigate the disappearances of several women in rural Australia, as well as the murders of several men. Are the crimes being done for love or money…or both?

Phryne is her effervescent self in this one, choosing her lovers and her libations with care. The book has a different tone than some of the earlier ones, and Phryne seems less patient with some foibles she might have shrugged off in earlier novels.

Still, it’s a solid entry in the series, and fans and newcomers alike will enjoy it and cheer Phryne on.

Highly recommended. 

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