The fourteenth book in the series.

Publication year: 2004
Format: Audio
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 8 hrs and 20 minutes

The Flower Festival is coming to Melbourne and the Honorable Phryne Fisher is going to be the Queen of the Flower Parade. She has four teenage girls as her princesses but the more she gets to know them, the more worried she becomes because one of them is likely to come to a bad end. At the tender age of fourteen, Rose already drinks a lot and Phryne hears that Rose hangs around men with bad reputations. Rose’s home is also very restrictive. Then, she disappears.

One of Phryne’s adoptive daughters has problems of her own. Ruth has never known who her father is and her mother is dying of tuberculosis. Now, Ruth wants to meet her mother and find out who her father is. But Ruth isn’t sure if Phryne will allow it.

It was great that Phryne’s adoptive daughters, Jane and Ruth, had a bigger part in the book and that they had some conflict. Usually, they’re in the sidelines and don’t have much to do. However, I was dismayed with how callously Phryne acted later on in the book when something happened to one of them. I realize that having Phryne panic and fuss uselessly would have been pretty painful to read about, but I think that would have been more, well, human response. Now, she comes across as almost inhumanly cool and collected. I also found a it a bit strange that Phryne’s Chinese nickname changed from the Silver lady to the Jade lady.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the book, although I don’t think it’s one of the best in the series so far. The parade has also a carnival in it and I greatly enjoyed the appearance of Dulcie Fanshore, of Fanshore Elephants, and her elephants.

Once again, Greenwood shows the deep divide between the well-off and the rest, and how the income level really affects children’s future.