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MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES (2012)

Series 1

 

Producer(s): Deborah Cox, Fiona Eagger

Director(s): Tony Tilse, Daina Reed, David Caesar…

Writer(s): John Banas, Deborah Cox, Ysabelle Dean…

(Based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood)

 

Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Ashleigh Cummings, Miriam Margolyes, Nicholas Bell, Tammy Macintosh…

 

Genre(s): Crime/Drama/Mystery

60 minutes per episode (Australian TV series – seen on PBS)

MPAA Rating: NRContains violence, coarse language, nudity, sexual situations, and drug use.

 

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

(July, 2014)


The series is set in 1928 Melbourne, Australia. Essie Davis portrays the lead character the Honorable Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-nee). She is an intelligent, charming, feisty, and thoroughly modern woman operating in a male dominated world. As the glamorous “lady detective” she sticks her pretty nose into places most people wish she wouldn’t. She backs up her intuition, deductions, and wit with a hand gun and a dagger, much to the chagrin of her Aunt Prudence (
Miriam Margolyes) and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page).

To the dismay of the local police force, Phryne’s investigations take her through Melbourne’s back alleys, dangerous neighborhoods, jazz clubs, and usually to the scene of a crime before the official police arrive.

 Miss Fisher has a kind and generous heart. She attracts friends from all walks of life and seems happy enough living life to the fullest, yet she is still haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her sister Janey many years ago.

I believe this series is wildly successful because of the attention to detail (authentic costumes, set design, locations, witty dialog) and its wonderful ensemble cast, including cab drivers Bert (Travis McMahon) and Cec (Anthony Sharpe), Mr. Butler (Richard Bligh), Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), Dot (Ashleigh Cummings), and ward Jane (Ruby Rees Wemyss). To be honest, I find the secondary characters more interesting than Miss Fisher. I adore Mr. Butler! Dot and Constable Collins both have an innocence that is endearing, and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson is portrayed with a freshness not often seen in a police detective role.

 I purchased the Miss Fisher Season 1 DVD in 2012 but resisted watching it until now because I was afraid it wouldn’t be as enjoyable as I’d found the Mrs. Bradley series. What a waste of my time! I so enjoyed Season 1 of Miss Fisher that I watched it again, twice, before reluctantly moving on to something else. I’m currently waiting for my copy of Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Season 2 to arrive.

 

There are thirteen episodes in Season 1.


"Cocaine Blues" – Miss Fisher tackles a murder, an opium syndicate, and an illegal abortion ring.


"Murder on the Ballarat Train" – Phryne and Dot, her new lady’s companion, board the train to Ballarat but when the train makes a short water-stop Phryne discovers a passenger is missing.


"The Green Mill Murder" – a dead body on the dance floor of the speakeasy the Green Mill has Phryne trying to prove her friend’s innocence even though he fled the scene and is wanted by the police for the murder.

"Death at Victoria Dock" – A factory owner’s daughter has disappeared and Phryne is asked to handle the matter quietly, without publicity.  Phryne inadvertently becomes mixed up in a strike being staged on Victoria Dock.


"Raisins and Almonds" – When the owner of a bookshop in Melbourne's Jewish community is accused of poisoning one of her customers, Phryne searches for hidden clues to reveal what the murder was really all about.


"Ruddy Gore" – The ghost of a former actress seems intent on shutting down the theatre as it tries to mount a production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s operetta Ruddy Gore.


"Murder in Montparnasse" – Phryne's post-war experiences as an artist's model in Paris are revealed when the unsolved murder case of the artist who painted Phryne is re-opened.


"Away With the Fairies" – Phryne investigates the death of a magazine author who was despised by her co-workers.

"Queen of the Flowers" – Phryne’s work with four disadvantaged girls is threatened by murder.


"Death By Miss Adventure" – Dr. Mac becomes a suspect when two seemingly accidental deaths at a factory are deemed to be murder.

 
"Blood and Circuses" – This begins a three episode arc dealing with Phryne’s past and the disappearance of her sister Janey. Phryne is asked to investigate the death of a circus performer by another circus performer.


"Murder in the Dark" – One of Aunt Prudence's servants is murdered on the eve of Cousin Guy's fancy dress engagement party.


"King Memses' Curse" – More murders lead Phryne to relentlessly track down the only person who knows what happened to her sister, but will she go too far?


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