Customer Reviews: Death at Victoria Dock: Phryne Fisher #4 (Phryne Fisher Mysteries)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 22, 2012
The Hon Phryne Fisher is a unique, beautiful, stylish, sexy and larger than life heroine who romps through adventure after adventure in Melbourne in 1928 and 1929.

Death at Victoria Dock is Book 4 in Kerry Greenwood's entertaining series about a female private eye set in the 1920's who dares to be rich, promiscuous, and single. Because Phryne collects so many characters into her life it is best to start reading at Book 1 Cocaine Blues: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries or if you have a Kindle read the bundle of the first 3 books Introducing the Honourable Phryne Fisher: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries 1, 2 & 3 (Phryne Fisher Mystery). On the latter you can see my fairly lengthy review which gives some background to Phryne's life.

By the start of this book Phryne has moved out of the Hotel Windsor (which was so tolerant of her unusual activities and collection of strange friends) to a house on the beachfront at St Kilda with her maid and personal assistant, Dot, a live-in housekeeper/butler/chauffeur couple, 2 adopted young teenagers (who she saved from white slavery in Book 3), and a kitten. The house is also a second home to all of her friends and her ever-changing stream of satisfied lovers.

Phryne is angered when her car windscreen is shot out as she drives by Victoria Docks at night. She is even more shocked when a beautiful young man dies in her arms outside the dock gates. She is immediately embroiled in hunting down the killers who are part of the anarchist underworld of Melbourne.

Concurrently she is hired to find a teenage girl who is missing from a wealthy and dysfunctional family. The girl goes to the same school as her newly adopted daughters who help her to solve the mystery. The hunt exposes the intimate secrets of the family and takes Phryne from an Anglican convent to a mental asylum.

Phryne learns that the anarchists are planning an armed bank robbery in central Melbourne. The anarchists try to shoot Phryne and kidnap Dot, mistaking her for Phryne. Helped by an off-duty policeman (Dot's "young man") they rescue Dot and thwart the robbery.

In the course of the investigation Phyrne meets a handsome and charismatic revolutionary who she enjoys entertaining in her private parlour!

While set in the 1920's Phryne is a very modern heroine who is always the centre of attention, relishes every one of life's moments and leaves a trail of satisfied lovers in her wake.

One warning - reading Phryne Fisher mysteries can become an addiction. Once you read one you want to read them all - that is not good for the budget.

Several of the books have been made into an (Australian) ABC TV series which starts in late February 2012. While the previews look good, the series and some key character alterations may change the way you think about this delectable series of books.
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on August 28, 2007
This fourth book in the Honorable Phryne Fisher mystery series begins when Phryne's beloved Hispano-Suiza's windshield is shot out and a young man dies in her arms while bloodying her divine ensemble. With his last breath he utters words that lead Phryne into a nest of communist anarchists with nefarious and dangerous plans. Then Phryne gets hired by a worried father with deep family secrets to locate his missing daughter. This installment of the series wasn't as light and easy to read as the previous ones. I enjoyed the wider cast of characters that were drawn into the plot, many returning characters from the previous books. This makes for a fun read even though the plot didn't quite entertain me as much as the previous books did. However, there were moments of burst-out-laughter from the wonderful use of language and descriptions. I would recommend this book highly.
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on January 30, 2016
I can see Phryne plainly, all the other characters come alive too !! the story is easy to follow and I can't start a new book unless I have a good
block of time because I get so engrossed in the story and just need to read ONE MORE PAGE before I stop.... can't read these mysteries from
Kerry Greenwood at bedtime because I force myself to keep reading until the end of the book and then am overtired and can't sleep, so I start
another book ;-)..... She is so good, keeps me wanting more, makes everyone so real, I sometimes imagine that I would like to invite Phryne
to come over and have tea (she'll have something stronger, I'll have the tea) with me for the afternoon. Thanks Kerry!!
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on July 21, 2011
I have never understood why it is so difficult to get these great books here in America. When the series started to be imported here through Poisoned Pen Press it started midstream with the later books in the series, so it is only recently that I have had the opportunity to go back and fill in some of the beginning stories. And WHY can't we get ebooks???
Anyway this is a great early outing for Phryne, and a fascinating look at the politics of Anarchy and Communism in the 20s. Phryne is juggling a murder that she almost literally stumbled upon and has vowed to avenge and an annoyingly obtuse client whose missing daughter is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dysfunctional family. As far as interaction with her usual cast of characters, Bert and Cec are in the thick of things, we meet Dot's sweetheart to be, Hugh Collins, her home ends up under siege much to the chagrin of the Butlers, Dot is kidnapped but demonstrates her usual practical ingenuity even so helping to save the day and her adopted daughters get their first taste of helping Phryne sleuth. Great story all around.
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on October 26, 2015
Two plots in this one, and they do NOT end up intertwined- although her work on them is, somewhat. Phryne accidentally strays onto the site of a murder, getting shot at herself, and a beautiful young man bleeds to death in her arms. Phryne is not one to gloss over the death of a beautiful young man! and so she vows justice. Meanwhile a daughter of privilege goes missing, and her father hires Miss Fisher to find her. Both plots lead to some fairly dark territory.

While social justice isn't really a concern of Miss Fisher's- at least not one she'll admit to!- she nonetheless has friends and compatriots who care a lot about such, and is supportive of them and their causes.

Phryne is herself perhaps a bit less vivid in this one, but we get to spend more time with her loyal companion Dot, her two adopted daughters, a novice policeman who is smitten with Dot, various anarchists, and a lovely Mother Superior of a convent... not to mention the marvelous Bert and Cec.

We also enjoy sumptuous descriptions of clothes, cocktails, and amazing meals, which add to the atmosphere, as well as great period slang. I very much enjoy that these are far less anachronistic than most modern novels set in the past!

Recommended. You can start here, but it'll be more fun if you start from the beginning (Cocaine Blues).

I very much admire the way Greenwood can deal with some very sensitive and sobering issues compassionately, while still maintaining a light touch overall.
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on October 19, 2015
Overall, I will give each book in the Phryne Fisher series basically the same comments. A friend introduced me to the series by author Kerry Greenwood and I enjoyed them all. They are light and fairly fast reading tho the plot can get a bit slow in parts. The books themselves are "thin" so you feel as if you won't be spending hours getting halfway through the plot. The heroine, Ms. Fisher, is a funny, clever, and quick-witted character with a vocabulary to match (i.e., have you ever heard of "cami-knickers?" :o). The beginning chapters mention how she got to where she is (i.e., a wealthy and influential socialite who is also a self-proclaimed investigator), but it's quick and clean, unlike so many books where entire chapters are taken up reviewing the backstory to the book. Consequently, you don't have to read each book sequentially, though when changes happen, such as a marriage or death, the author spends time in character and plot development. If you feel that you must have this background, then read them in sequence, but as stated earlier, this isn't mandatory. In summary, this is an enjoyable series of books that won't take a lot of time or brain power with many characters and multiple plot twists - just a good, 'ol fashioned time reading!
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on March 29, 2016
Phryne's Hispano-Suiza comes under attack at night - someone is shooting at her, the windshield is hit, glass everywhere and a young man dying in her arms. The clothes, of course, are RUINED. It is personal this time and Phryne is determined to find the killers and why they acted in this cowardly fashion. Then we have a second investigation (paying client) to find the missing daughter of a very wealthy old man with a dingy young pregnant wife and teenage son. I was intrigued.and imagined wild possibilities in the Australian outback. Or are there political undercurrents coming to the surface? The whole thing was moving along nicely with many changes of clothes, servants, male companionship, and several (!) plots solved in the end. A little too convenient ending for my taste. Only, what ever happened with the possible dental work?
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on September 21, 2015
First off, I must say that I gave the book only 4 stars because it was not long enough! I wanted more!
Phryne Fisher is a bold, strong female character set in a time when these characteristics were frowned upon by polite society. She has survived service in the First World War and returned to a rough-and-tumble Australia, where she fights for the right -- kind of like a Wild West hero, but she's a girl. The violence and sex are clearly there, so I chose to describe them as "explicit" but they are not gory or stomach-turning. I chose my rating because I would not recommend this for teens. By today's standards of morality, it may be acceptable for Phyrne to have sex with various men whom she does not love nor commit to, and to grab an attacker by the testicles, but I personally would not recommend that my granddaughter read about it. At least, not just yet.
The plot is interesting and the characters are well-drawn. The sentences are not long and involved, and the words are common enough not to require a dictionary at any point. There is a good amount of suspense, considering that this is a fairly short book.
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on March 8, 2015
I really liked the first Kerry Greenwood Phryne Fisher novels, but I guess I'm slowing down. This one is the 4th in the series, and I found it too little different from the previous three to make it terribly interesting. I like a strong female protagonist, and Phryne certainly is that. But I also feal she is impulsive, reckless, and foolhardy.
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on March 21, 2016
Phryne is simply driving home one night when her windshield is suddenly splintered by a bullet; when she escapes her vehicle, she finds a dying young man lying on the ground, and she resolves to avenge him. When at home the next day, she is hired by a well-to-do family to find their runaway daughter. These two mysteries keep her busy and in danger for the rest of the novel!
The pace is swift and engaging, the characters are fascinating, and Phryne is her usual "blazing comet" self. Sit back and enjoy.
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