Murder and Mendelssohn

29 Sep

Picked up (ie snatched from the display stand and raced to the counter in a high state of excitement) the brand new Kerry Greenwood novel “Murder and Mendelssohn” on Saturday.  This book is the 20th novel starring the Hon. Phryne Fisher, fashion plate and private detective, set in 1920s Melbourne.

In “Murder and Mendelssohn” the conductor of a choir about to perform Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” is found murdered.  Detective Inspector Jack Robinson is uncomfortable with the world of music and songsters, and asks Phryne to investigate.

Meanwhile, Phryne’s old friend Dr John Wilson is in town with his dear friend, Rupert Sheffield, who is presenting a lantern lecture on “The Science of Deduction”.  Someone wants Rupert dead, and John turns to Phryne for help to keep the love of his life alive. 

If the topic of the lecture sounds familiar to “Sherlock” fans, you would be correct.  John Wilson and Rupert Sheffield are partly based on Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch’s John and Sherlock.  I say partly, as they are not merely John and Sherlock renamed and transported back to the 1920s.  They are distinctly different characters, with interesting and quite horrific back stories.  And Rupert is a bigger arse than Sherlock has ever been.

I really hope that John and Rupert return in future books.  I would love it too, if Kerry would write them a book of their own.  John and Rupert are too good to only have in one book.  They deserve a series of their own.

Kudos to anyone who spots the throw away “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” reference.  It had me giggling.

“Murder and Mendelssohn” also has THE weirdest bedroom scene I have ever read in any book EVER.

I only had one small niggle.  I wasn’t happy with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, he seemed to be out of character quite a bit in the story.  It jarred.  Especially when he appeared to be flirting with Phryne, which is something our pillar of rectitude detective just would not do.

Make sure you read the Author’s Notes at the end.  Kerry’s notes are often worth the price of the book alone.  Her comments on BBC “Sherlock” are enough to warm the heart of any fan of Benedict and Martin.

“Murder and Mendelssohn” is a wonderful addition to the Phryne Fisher canon.  It is a treat for the dedicated Phryne fan, but because it touches on a lot of the back story from other books, it is also a suitable introduction for anyone who wants to explore the world of Phryne Fisher.

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