Australia in 1928 may be fraught with labor and economic problems, but that’s no excuse for murder.
As she drives home one night, bullets shatter feminist-socialite-sleuth Phryne Fisher’s windshield, and a beautiful young man dies in her arms. Mightily annoyed, she vows to track down the killers, a task that drags her deep into the shadowy world of anarchists. The young man, a Latvian, was executed by his fellow conspirators because he talked too much. Phryne, who has friends among the arty socialist crowd, meets the attractive and enigmatic Peter Smith at one of their parties. He becomes her lover and helps her discover that a bank robbery is being planned to finance the revolution. Phryne and her extended family become the target of attacks by the Latvians. When her companion Dot is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity, the furious Phryne goes into action and foils the bank robbery, shooting the robbers dead. In her spare time, she solves the case of a missing 14-year-old, an aspiring nun who’s run away from her dysfunctional nouveau-riche family. Peter must leave town and assume a new identity to stay alive, but irrepressible Phryne is soon ready for more intrigue.
More romantic adventure than mystery, though feisty Phryne (Ruddy Gore, 2005, etc.) does keep the reader amused.