Australian social pillar Phryne Fisher’s penchant for offbeat lovers involves her in a case that requires the close study of Judaism.
Anyone would enjoy dancing with handsome young Simon Abrahams. But that tango isn’t close enough for Simon’s wealthy father, who wants Phryne Fisher (The Green Mill Murder, 2007, etc.) to investigate the arsenic death of a young student in a bookshop owned by Sylvia Lee, the suspect arrested by Phryne’s pal DI Jack Robinson. With the help of her companion Dot, Phryne quickly satisfies herself that Miss Lee is innocent and that the student was killed while looking for something hidden in a book at her shop. The victim has left behind papers written in an obscure Hebrew code and pictures that relate to alchemy. In order to interpret them, Phryne must immerse herself in a world foreign to her, picking up a little Yiddish, interviewing students and a rabbi, learning about refugees, pogroms and Zionism, and along the way enjoying chicken soup and gefilte fish. Since someone clearly feels the information in the coded message is worth killing for, Phryne and her friends, old and new, must crack the code. The clever heroine manages to carry on an affair with Simon, placate his doting mother, improve her knowledge of all things Jewish and ultimately solve a tricky and dangerous case.
Another smashing tale of mystery and manners between the world wars.