The Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a tv series set in Australia in the 1920s and feature the amazing Phryne Fisher. The tv series is based on a character created by Kerry Underwood in a long-running cozy mystery series. I confess I haven’t read the books… yet but I absolutely love the tv series. There are two seasons available via Netflix at the moment and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
I love all of Phryne’s clothes but she is definitely a lady of means with exquisite sequined, furred or silky outfits. For being an heiress of sorts, Phryne surrounds herself with all people from all walks of life and treats everyone kindly. She’s quite a “man’s lady” and has had flings with a wide range of gentlemen, everyone except the brooding but dashing Det. Jack Robinson.
Side note: My husband spent a year in Australia as an exchange student and was amused that the Detective’s name was Jack Robinson which was an expression he heard used in Ausrtalia to indicate something done quickly, as in “before you can say Jack Robinson“. Funny!
Essie Davis plays a perfect Phryne Fisher, in my eyes (even without having read the book). She’s a lady of indeterminate age who has enough history to have a “past” and to have the many skills and resources that are available to her.
I’ve heard some people complain that they felt a bit “hit over the head” with repeated references or inferences of how modern and sexually-forward Miss Fisher is. She’s probably played with a bit more modern sensibility than would have been common of the time but I enjoy her cavalier attitude and her wild lifestyle*. Miss Fisher is played very much as a “flapper girl” and I enjoy it, even if its not entirely accurate for the time, its how I imagine it might have been, especially in the slightly less confined social culture of Australia.
How ever you end up feeling about Miss Fisher, you won’t be able to peel your eyes away from her fabulous wardrobe, spectacular hat collection and wicked-fast 1924 Hispano-Suiza motor car, scarf flapping in the breeze. She’s my flapper-girl Jane Bond — dashing, daring, well-dressed and afraid of nothing. I’m only afraid I’ll run out of new episodes to watch before they even start recording season three!
* See the article on NPR’s Monkey See blog entitled “Essie Davis: On Playing A Sexually Liberated ‘Superhero’ Without Apology” to hear from the actress her reactions to allegations that Phryne is too “morally loose”. But then Essie goes on to gush about the fabulous wardrobe so enjoy that part too.