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The Castlemaine Murders Paperback – Large Print, December 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this second light, 1920s-set historical to be published in the U.S. from Australian author Greenwood (Murder in Montparnasse, etc.), iconoclastic feminist sleuth Phyrne Fisher's eclectic household, which includes her Chinese lover, Lin Chung, is expanded by the arrival of her domineering younger sister, the "Hon. Miss Eliza Fisher," apparently banished from England by their stern father. A pleasure trip to a local amusement park turns nasty when a ride on the Ghost Train produces an ancient and mummified corpse, complete with bullet wound. The probe into this long-ago murder becomes more than academic when Phyrne and her friends receive death threats and are the target of several attacks. The trail may intertwine with Chung's quest for the solution to another old mystery—the theft of a large amount of gold in 1857. While the coincidences pile up a little high, the appealing characters and witty banter make for an enjoyable caper.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The world of Phryne Fisher is an exotic and compelling one, thanks both to the setting, 1920s Australia, and to the frenetic heroine herself. Living with two adopted daughters, her Chinese lover Lin Chung, a temperamental but loyal serving staff, and a demanding cat, Phryne is constantly surrounded by activity. Lin Chung takes off for nearby Castlemaine to resolve an ancient Chinese family feud, and Phryne is stuck with her moody younger sister, Eliza, whose visit has put a damper on the otherwise freewheeling Fisher household. After finding a real skeleton inside a supposedly fake cowboy at an amusement park, Phryne discovers a connection to the "dummy" and Castlemaine-- giving her the perfect reason to visit Lin Chung. Greenwood weaves historical data into the plot like gold thread, giving it richness without weighing it down. The gold rush of the 1850s, for example, ties together a story involving four of Lin Chung's relatives and the skeleton cowboy. As always, the highlight of the series is the sexy and sybaritic Phryne, whose kind heart and generous spirit far outweigh her slightly scandalous behavior. Jenny McLarin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bolinda Press (Large Print) (December 1, 2003)
  • ISBN-10: 1740931947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1740931946
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E Rice on November 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
the appearance of a uniform hardback edition of the phyrne fisher mysteries is a wonderful thing. the first three in the series appeared in this country in paperback in the early 90s, but for some unknown reason, none of the rest of the series until now was available on this continent. i ordered most of my paperback copies used from australia (i love them enough to pay the postage!)

mystery readers familiar with the golden age of mysteries and/or 19th century potboilers will recognize ms. greenwood's take on an old favorite plot. her writing is wonderful; the characters fully drawn; the subplots varied, interesting and enjoyable; the historical facts fascinating; the dialogue, humor and wit sparkling. the villains are fairly guessable in this outing, but that doesn't detract from the story.

of the thirteen or fourteen titles currently in this series, i can't think of one not worth reading and re-reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Phryne Fisher fans know that she is not only sophisticated but also tough as nails when she needs to be but even she has trouble when it comes to dealing with her sister Beth.
Newly arrived back in Australia after spending years in England, Beth is not the same woman Phryne knew when they were growing up. In the past Beth was always dutiful, never any trouble. That's changed for some reason and she is now an angry, bitter woman.
That's a distraction because Phryne is now trying to solve an old murder.
It's a case that - almost literally - fell into her lap when she and her daughters Jane and Ruth were on a ride at an amusement park. What was supposed to be a prop during a fun house ride turns out to be a mummified corpse. The case takes Phryne to Castlemaine, an old mining town and gives author Kerry Greenwood an opportunity to weave some history into this story of love, betrayal and murder.
It also gives Greenwood an opportunity to introduce Beth as an ongoing character and a chance to make some sharp observations about the unfair treatment of women in the 1920s.
The mystery is an intriguing one and Greenwood's narrative takes no unexpected twists and turns to confuse the reader as Phryne follows clue after clue to solve the decades old murder. Beth is an interesting character and will, I think, prove even more so in future books. I give this 13th book in the Phryne Fisher saga 4.5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Phryne takes her adopted daughters, her visiting (and very strung-out) sister, and her assistant out for an afternoon of fun at the local amusement park, she expects an enjoyable afternoon with her extended family. But, as readers of this series have learned to expect, that's not what she gets. Instead she discovers a mummy who has been used as part of a horror ride. And thus begins a double threaded mystery-- Phryne seeking to uncover the body's identity, and Lin Chung trying to uncover a "lost" shipment of family gold. Both ft their quests lead them independently to Castlemaine, the site of Australia's gold rush in the 1800s.
This is a fine mystery, with engaging characters and plot, and a solid dose of intriguing Australian history.
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It has been a while since I read about Phryne, so it was lovely to catch up with her again! I enjoy how Kerry Greenwood manages to teach readers about something while simultaneously giving them a mystery to chew on.

In this book, we learn a lot about the search for gold in Australia in the 1850's. Of course, there are disappearances, murders, family feuds (in Lin Chung's arc of the story), attempts to enforce marriages (in Phryne's arc of the story), and we spend time with Phryne's younger sister, Beth, also known as Eliza.

While at Luna Park with Ruth, Jane, Dot, Beth, and Lin Chung, Phryne accidentally grabs the foot of a mummy in the dark Ghost Train ride. Of course, if Phryne is involved, the foot belongs to an actual corpse, and not a papier mache creation. This discovery actually ends up being pertinent to both Lin Chung and Phryne.

Greenwood again writes a well crafted story, and even though there are many characters, it is not difficult to keep them sorted out.

Another fine entry in the Phryne Fisher series!
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Having read a dozen or so of the Phryne Fisher novels I find they have settled into something of a formula. A crime, a bit of domestic difficulty, a bit of sex, a bit of the reliable Jack Robinson, some chaste romance between Dot and Hugh, a dash of danger. There is enough character development that I've come to care about the characters. A good deal of Aussie slang and vocabulary, plus a splash of period detail, and a bit of social commentary keep the images in my head vibrant and interesting.

The fall into the same general category as Agatha Christy's mysteries (with a dash of titillation). They are neither so literary nor so claustrophobic as Sayers' Lord Peter stories. Not populated with unpleasant people and filled with violence as James.
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Who does not love Phryne Fisher lady detective. She is on Vacation and of course there are a couple of murders she feels compelled to solve. Since the whole family is with her, Dot her assistant, her adopted daughter Jane and Jane's friend all help Phryne try to solve this mystery. Awesome series, have a couple of more e-books in this series, and will eventually read them all.
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