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Kerry Greenwood

Phryne Fisher Mysteries, book 17

Allen & Unwin (2008)

ISBN: 9781741149999

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack (this review was first published in November 2008)

Kerry Greenwood has written many speculative fiction novels, but is possibly best known for her Phryne Fisher mystery stories. This is one of those novels, and it has only the faintest connection to the speculative fiction genre. It’s an enjoyable novel, though, and readers who know only Greenwood’s speculative fiction may well want to try this series as well.

Set in 1929 Australia, the novel is part of the continuing story of Phryne Fisher. The aristocratic and rich Miss Fisher is an amateur detective; although she earns some money from her endeavours, she doesn’t really need it and undertakes her investigations more from curiosity or a desire to help someone. Here Phryne finds herself dealing with two mysteries. In the first, the formidable Mrs Manifold approaches Phryne for help. Her son Augustine was found drowned on a St Kilda beach; suicide, the police say. But Mrs Manifold is certain he would not kill himself, and her reasons are convincing enough for Phryne to agree to try to find the truth. At the same time, a local lawyer has approached Phryne for help in finding an illegitimate child – who would now be an adult – and who might or might not exist. Read the rest of this entry »

Kerry Greenwood

The Delphic Women, book 1

Mandarin (1995)

ISBN: 9781863305617

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack (this review was first published in November 2008)

Kerry Greenwood is a versatile and prolific author; Cassandra is a novel that shows off many of her strengths. In particular, it demonstrates her ability to build a solid, internally consistent plot; to bring a different world to life; and to paint portraits of vivid characters that come to life and engage the readers’ interest. As the title so blatantly announces, this is a re-telling of the legend of Cassandra. Even people unfamiliar with the Greek legends Greenwood is working with here are likely to know of Cassandra, the woman who always seemed to prophesy doom and gloom in the future – accurately. In this version, Cassandra’s gift of prophecy is more complex – initially a true gift, which assists her and those around her; and later, after she is cursed by the gods, a “gift” which brings only sorrow to her and those around her.

Cassandra is a princess of Troy, and in the ordinary way of things it’s unlikely she would ever meet Diomenes, a humble healer in the temple of Apollo, far away in another land. But the gods have made a wager as to whether love is stronger than death, and these two young people will be used to play that wager out. Not only their own lives will be warped and damaged and possibly destroyed by that wager. The wager will ultimately lead to the Trojan war, and untold death and misery. Read the rest of this entry »

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