Saturday, August 09, 2008

Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood

Running late to a gala performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, Phryne Fisher meets some thugs in dark alley and handles them convincingly before they can ruin her silver dress. She then finds that she has rescued the handsome Lin Chung, and his grandmother, who briefly mistake her for a deity.

Denying divinity but accepting cognac, she later continues safely to the theatre where her night is again interrupted by a bizarre death onstage.

What links can Phryne find between the ridiculously entertaining plot of Ruddigore, the Chinese community of Little Bourke St., or the actors treading the boards of His Majesty's Theatre?

Drawn backstage and onstage Phryne must solve an old murder and find a new murderer - and, of course, banish the theatre's ghost who seems likely to kill again.

Where the previous book in the series took place in the carnival and circus, this time Phryne is involved in a mystery in the theatre and in particular in a production of Ruddigore by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The book opens when Phryne and her friend Bunji are on their way to a night at the theatre and they interupt a mugging of an old Chinese woman and her handsome grandson, Lin Chung.

They continue onto the theatre, but to say that it is not an ordinary night is an understatement, because the main character dies on stage. In the grand tradition of the stage, the show must goes on, but when the understudy to the main character also feels ill, it is obvious that there are major problems at the production. With more deaths to follow, and the appearance of a ghost in the theatre there is plenty to keep Phryne busy. What unravels next is

I must confess that this one didn't work for me as well as a lot of the other Phryne Fisher novels did. I don't know if it was all the references to Gilbert and Sullivan that I didn't get, or something else, but it didn't hold my attention as well as normal. It probably is just about me, because when I check the Amazon reviews most other people love it.

The introduction of Lin Chung heralds what appears to be a pretty major change in Phryne's life. At first, it seems as though he is another of the parade of beautiful young men that Phryne fills her life with, but just reading through the author website and back cover copy for the next books in the series, it is obvious that Lin becomes a pretty major and regular character. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in relation to this aspect of the mysteries.


  1. Good to know that the books get more regular sized later in the series! And now you're making me want to rush out and read more Phryne...

  2. I haven't heard of this series but it does sound fun. Thanks for the review, I will keep a look out for them.

  3. Rhinoa, the series starts with Cocaine Blues and they are a lot of fun!

    Eva, you should read more Phryne!