Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Brilliance of Books: March 2018

Fare thee well, March. We'll not see the likes of you again! As months go, this was a rather... ooooof kind of month. In addition to the usual work and life stuff, I was rather focused on getting The Haggery settled, as well as pursuing a couple of substantial professional undertakings. As a result, my recreational reading time was a bit limited, and my ability to really devote attention to what I was reading was, too. What's a Book Bitch to do?

Decimate the local library's collection of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, that's what. 

Now, my mother-in-law turned me onto the television series back in 2015, on a lazy weekend that I spent with her down in San Diego. I was--and am--addicted to that sumptuous, gorgeous show, but there are plenty of differences between the books and the tv series, so I can enjoy each on their own merits.

And so, whenever I had a spare moment this month, I'd hunker down on the couch, under a blanket, and immerse myself in the world of 1928 Australia and the society of the Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher, a rags-to-riches socialite with a knack for accumulating waifs, making wise investments, and alternately seducing, charming, and buying her way to the bottom of the crimes she solves as a "lady investigator. 

There is so much to enjoy in these books--Splendid secondary characters, including her Communist muscle men Bert and Cec, her devout companion Dot, and the long-suffering Detective Inspector Jack "Call me Jack, everyone does" Robinson. Beguiling descriptions of food, 1920s society, and haute fashion. And truly amusing dialogue...for example: "The night would degenerate into the usual problems of an orgy: where to put what and where and when, and how to find room for one's elbows", or, with reference to some hotel's housemaids, Bert knew "that some of the Sailor's Rest young women had professions which might involve beds but did not involve making them." 

The plots sometimes seem to rely heavily on coincidences, and Miss Fisher--beautiful, wealthy, generous, clever, very sexually accomplished, remarkably open-minded for her time period, and quite skilled in exotic dancing, nude modeling, art investing, race car driving, aeroplane flying, and god only knows what else--from time to time comes perilously close to Mary Sue territory. But as she is a fearless explorer, that's not much of a surprise. 

I'm up to book 15 in the series, and there are only 20 at this point. I'm going to be quite adrift--gutted, really--when I'm caught up, and I'll have to return to more high-minded reading. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is like a rather pleasant, not entirely but still slightly frivolous vacation from the literary world, and it was definitely one that I needed this month.

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