cover image Unnatural Habits: 
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Unnatural Habits: A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0125-7

When thugs assault an unescorted woman on a Melbourne street in Greenwood’s entertaining 19th Phryne Fisher mystery set in 1920s Australia (after 2010’s Dead Man’s Chest), Fisher, who’s on her way to her club, comes to the rescue. Reporter Margaret “Polly” Kettle, the intended victim, has been tracking down leads for a story on three pregnant girls who disappeared from the Magdalen Laundry at the Abbotsford convent. With the police uninterested, Polly appeals to Phryne for aid, but before Phryne’s inquiries can advance very much, Polly herself is abducted. The sleuth encounters more than a little human misery in her quest, and, endowed with a generosity of spirit and ample financial resources, puts things right wherever possible. While no one will confuse this for Dickens, Greenwood’s presentation of the horrific conditions in the Magdalen Laundry, an actual place, makes this a refreshing change from the series’ sometimes breezy story lines. (Jan.)