The eighth book in the mystery series.
Publication year: 1996
Publisher: Belinda Audio
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 6 hrs and 28 minutes
The eighth book in the series takes Phryne away from most of the established cast and to a classic mystery in a very constricted and secluded place. Phryne has been invited to visit the Cave House, a mansion of mixed styles in the middle of mountains. With her are her maid Dot, her lover Lin Chung, and Lin’s bodyguard/manservant Li Pen. When they are driving towards the house, they hear a gunshot and rescue a frightened maid. Nobody seems to know who has molested her.
Cave House’s owner is Phryne’s old friend Tom Reynolds but she hasn’t met his new, rich wife Evelyn. The House also has several interesting guests, such as a Polish poet, a young heiress and her imposing mother who is trying to find a husband to her daughter, a very religious older woman who is interested in gathering more money to her Church, a couple of young men down on their luck, and a misogynistic colonel and his down trodden wife. Soon Phryne realizes that Tom is in deep trouble: someone tries to kill him. Then the river overflows and the guests are trapped in the house, with their secrets.
The audio book has again a short interview between Daniel and Greenwood at the end. Greenwood says that she wrote this book as a deliberate homage/twist of the old Agatha Christie type mysteries. The book has many of the classic mystery elements and Greenwood twists some of them quite deliciously.
Phryne and Lin, from Ruddy Gore, are now an item and a lot of people can’t stomach that. Some of the Cave House’s staff and guests don’t care for the Chinese and Phryne battles racism with quite a straight forward style, using her money and influence.
One interesting twist is that neither Phryne or Evelyn were born with money and so can appreciate it the way that those born with it necessarily don’t. Another great addition to the series!