The fifth book in the series.
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Publication year: 1993
Format: Audio
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 6 hrs and 19 minutes

Phryne Fisher is dancing in the Green Mill when a man is murdered right in front of her. The Green Mill is having a dance marathon and one of the remaining contestant falls down. Nobody sees the murderer. The rest of the evening is spent answering police’s questions and Phryne gets to know Tintagel Stone’s jazz band, the Jazz Makers, while they wait to be questioned. Phryne was in the Green Mill with a boring but respectable young man, Charles Freeman. He almost throws up at the sight of the corpse and runs away before the police arrive. Naturally, he’s a suspect.

Phryne investigates the murder and Charles’ disappearance. She finds out a lot about the victim and about Charles’ rich but unhappy family. Charles’ older brother Victor served in the great war but he came back changed and his family couldn’t deal with that. The brothers’ mother even claimed that Victor was dead when he couldn’t bear to live in a city anymore. Phryne also helps out young lovers and gets to fly her Gypsy Moth in a very dangerous situation. Also, she spends a lot of time in the city’s jazz scene and dates the lovely Tintagel Stone.

As is usual with this series, the book deals with serious issues. This time it’s the treatment of war veterans and how war changes the young men who serve in it. In the previous books, we’ve heard that two of the regular cast, the wharf worker/taxi driver/information collector/bodyguard Cecil Yates and his best friend Bert Johnson, met when they were in the war. Now, we heard about their horrible experiences in it.

The regular cast is back and we hear about their lives. Phryne’s adopted daughters make a short appearance as well. There’s also a large group of new characters. The Jazz Makers have some quirky people in it; Iris the bass player is a physical culture teacher, Rogers has a foul temper as is apparently usual for trumbone players, the clarinet player is studying to become a doctor, and Irene is the singer with a tragic past and a wonderful voice. Of course, there are the people related to the case and a few of them are quite awful people. Charles’ mother is wilfully blind and deaf, and keeps her son under tight control, and Charles himself treats people like dishrags.

With the familiar cast and the the humours writing style, this is a great addition to the series. Although, I’m not sure that pure mystery readers would be happy with the plot.

Unfortunately, Audible doesn’t currently have the next book in the series but it has Ruddy Gore, the seventh book.

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