Murder on a Midsummer Night by Kerry Greenwood (An Australian mystery novel)

This review was posted first on Book Lovers Inc: a cooperative blog with great reviews, interviews and lots of giveaways.

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Murder on a Midsummer Night was my first experience of the fun and mysterious Phryne Fisher series by author Kerry Greenwood.

Phryne Fisher is the leading lady sleuth of this Australian mystery novel, which is based in 1920's St Kilda, Melbourne. Phryne is approached by the mother of an antique dealer, Augustine Manifold, who has recently been found dead after an apparent suicide. Augustine's mother can't believe that her happy and healthy son has taken in own life and so hires Phryne to discover the truth. Phryne's investigation leads takes her on an exciting and dangerous journey where she encounters a perplexing group of "Bright Young Things", treasure hunts, spirits and sacrifice.

Whilst investigating this murder mystery, Phryne is also hired by a solicitor to investigate the secrets of his clients, the Bonnetti family. Mrs Bonnetti has recently passed away and there is reason to believe that she has left behind an illegitimate child who is entitled to a share in Mrs Bonnetti's estate. This is a similarly difficult for Phryne, who finds herself up again and extremely suspicious and secretive family and another dangerous character.

I loved everything about this book. The two mysteries that Phryne investigates simultaneously are worked together seamlessly. When the suspense builds up in one plot, the reader is shifted to the other, leaving you feeling tantalised and hanging for more. There are lots of clues throughout the book, as well as clues in the quote at the beginning of each chapter and the glimpses of other stories at the end of each chapter. Although I couldn't solve the mystery of the Bonnetti family before the end of the book, I was able to solve the Manifold mystery before 'the big reveal', although this didn't in any way lessen my enjoyment of the book. My only complaint is that I wanted so badly to know the truth behind each mystery, I sometimes felt a little impatient and felt like I wanted the book to move a bit quicker.

The great thing about reading this book was that I felt like I had been immersed into this decadent and sumptuous roaring 20's lifestyle in Melbourne and I didn't want to leave. I will say that I was surprised at how British it felt.

Phryne Fisher is an amazing character. I want to be her and live her decadent lifestyle. I have never seen anyone who drinks so much and enjoys so much good food, I think I would have burst at the seems given that much food and booze. She is perfectly understood and taken care of by her household staff, she has adopted children to take care of an a useful companion she employs. I loved the clothes, the house, the calling cards, the changing for dinner and... the very sexy lover. I had goosebumps when I read all the fun they had together. I loved that she enjoyed sex with such an interesting man, but was happiest being an independent woman.

Since reading the book I discovered that I started reading the series with the 17th and most recent addition to this series. Although there were times where I was a little confused about what role some of the various characters played (her companion Dot in particular), the book was so well written that I was able to figure it out as I went along.


What kind of read is this?
Quick, easy and fun.

Do I recommend this book?
Yes I do, I really enjoyed it and I think that a lot of other people would too, whether you a crime/mystery rader or not.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
Yes, I think that this will be a fun one to re-read every now and again.

Star Rating

7 / 8

Brilliant, couldn't put it down. Recommend that you buy it.


  1. That sounds fantastic, I need to get my hands on a copy! I´m a mystery reader and the 20s are of course the Golden Age, but I´ve never read one set in Melbourne but I want to change that. Also, seems like Phryne is a great heroine :)

  2. This book sounds awesome! I am going to Melbourne for a week from this weekend. Your review alone has increased my appetite to see this wonderful city again. I will be sure to find some of this Kerry Greenwood series, it sounds just like my type of thing. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts - a very entertaining review :-)

  3. No worries, I hope you both get a chance to read some of her books. This one was great, but it might be an idea to start the beginning of the series, not the end like me :-)

    I hope you enjoy your trip to melbourne Mel


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