Monday, October 24, 2016

Kittling's Literary Tours: Phryne Fisher's Melbourne

When it comes to mysteries and tourism, television has once again come to the aid of readers. Like many others, I've read several of Australian author Kerry Greenwood's mysteries. My favorite-- written by this recipient of the 2003 Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award-- is her Phryne (FRY-nee) Fisher historical series set in 1920s Melbourne, Australia.

Australia has always fascinated me, and I don't read nearly enough crime fiction set there. (I think part of me is still pining for Adrian Hyland and his Emily Tempest mysteries.) The 1920s have always been a personal favorite, and one of the things that Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries TV series does is bring that era visually to life.  

Essie Davis, the actress who portrays Phryne, must really enjoy herself. There's a twinkle in her eye as she inhabits the role of a thoroughly modern woman who can't be beat when it comes to solving murders, and I would also imagine that those gorgeous period costumes are a lot of fun as well!

Another thing that makes the television series so enjoyable are the locations they use, such as Wardlow House to the right, which stars as Phryne's home. Isn't it great? 

Melbourne seems to have taken Miss Fisher to its bosom, and the city certainly does have the historic district (called Marvelous Melbourne) to bring authenticity to the television series.

The city has even had a "Festival of Phryne" held at Rippon Lea House and Gardens (above) which is Aunt Prudence's home during filming. I love these grand old houses! This festival had costume exhibits, a Miss Fisher Pop Up Speakeasy,  and murder mystery themed dinner and drinks. Certainly sounds like it was a lot of fun, doesn't it?

If you'd really like to immerse yourself in Phryne Fisher's Melbourne, a company called Meltours does a three-hour walking tour that one must book ahead of time. The tour begins with afternoon tea, then some of the production sites are visited along with several of the "Marvelous Melbourne" buildings of that era. it all concludes with a stop at Melbourne's famous Gin Palace where you can partake of a Phryne Fisher cocktail (and rest your weary feet). A tour like this costs around $129 Australian dollars.

Any fellow Phryne fans (oh oh... I do love alliteration...) want to come along with me? I'd love to go even if I'd never heard (or read) of Phryne Fisher!


  1. Perfect choice for a literary tour stop, Cathy! I really like this series, and I've always wanted to see Melbourne. I think the TV series is quite well done, too, and to me, Essie Davis is Phryne Fisher.

    1. She certainly looks as though she enjoys playing the part!

  2. I've read only the first of the Phryne Fisher series and promised myself I'd read some more before watching Miss Fisher. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten back to it. Thanks for the reminder!

    The houses are delectable - I'd love to go on that walking tour with you.

  3. I have not read the books, although I have read some of Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman series.

    However, I love the TV show. And I agree that Essie Davis is Phrynne Fisher. Apparently, the author wanted only Essie Davis to play Phrynne Fisher. And the actor cut her hair.

    I cannot imagine anyone else playing this wonderful, liberated, smart, bold woman, ahead of her time.


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