The second book in Phryne Fisher mystery series set in the 1920s.

Publication year: 1992
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible Inc.
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 5 hours, 6 minutes

The book starts with a little girl named Candida who is out all by herself buying lollies when she shouldn’t have. She’s promptly kidnapped. Candida’s step-mother is frantic and sends her husband and his friends to find the little girl.

Meanwhile, a distraught woman is serving tee to Phryne. Mrs. McNaughton is afraid the her son is going to kill her husband. Bill, the son, runs a flying school and his father is one of the owners even though he doesn’t know anything about flying, just business. Recently, they’ve argued a lot about money. Phryne is convinced that Bill isn’t going to kill his father but agrees to talk with him in order to calm Mrs. McNaughton. Also, Phryne gets a chance to fly a Fokker, impress male fliers, and do some stunt flying. But then the elder McNaughton is found dead and Bill is arrested. Phryne is still convinced that Bill didn’t do it and starts to investigate.

The characters are again the best part of the book; they’re quirky and enormously entertaining. Phyrne herself is perhaps the most quirky one with her love of flying. She’s an amateur sleuth at a time when the few female police officers are just barely tolerated by their colleagues. She is well-off and doesn’t have to even charge her clients, so she’s more interested in doing good, such as forcing an abusive man to divorce his battered wife, and working on exciting cases. Her maid Dot is almost a total opposite of her: she’s terrified when Phryne drives or flies, and is more concerned with being respectable. Still, Dot is loyal, efficient, and has sometimes good connections to the locals.

Phryne has gotten herself a house and she hired Mr. and Mrs. Butler as the staff. Even though Phryne is pretty unconventional woman, the elderly Butlers don’t seem to mind. Bungee Cross (spelling?) is a cool-headed woman pilot who is just as skilled as any male but has to constantly prove herself to them. She’s also a flying instructor and has a horrible taste in clothing.

We see again Phryne’s generosity towards other women. She buys paintings from a beginning artist and gives Dot a room for herself which she’s never had before.

Again Greenwood writes in a humorous style but deals with such serious and painful issues as domestic abuse and child molestation. The McNaughton family is very dysfunctional; the father William is a tyrant who beats on his wife and wants to control his children. His daughter Amelia is a gifted artist but all her life his father has belittled her and “expects nothing from a girl”. Both William and his son are hot-tempered and large males who argue often.

The secondary storyline is a child kidnapping. Her father got lucky with a lottery and the kidnappers want his money. Unfortunately for everyone, the money was already spent to a new house. This could have been a grim story, especially since one of the kidnappers is a child molester, but it ended up being almost as funny as the rest of the book. Candida is a smart and precocious child who keeps her kidnappers on their toes.

Flying Too High is just as entertaining as the first book.

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