Phryne Fisher

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Phryne Fisher
Phryne Fisher mysteries character
First appearance Cocaine Blues
Created by Kerry Greenwood
Gender Female
Title The Honourable
Children Jane Fisher and Ruth Fisher (adopted daughters)
Religion Church of England

The Honourable Phryne Fisher (/ˈfr.n/, often called "Miss Fisher") is the main character in Australian author Kerry Greenwood's series of Phryne Fisher detective novels. Phryne is a wealthy aristocrat who lives in St Kilda, Melbourne in 1928. She is a 28-year-old (born 21 December 1900) detective who, with the assistance of her maid Dot, and Bert and Cec (who are wharfies, taxi drivers and red raggers), solves all manner of crimes. Phryne is no ordinary aristocrat, as she can fly a plane, drives her own car (a Hispano-Suiza) and sometimes wears trousers. However, while displaying bohemian panache, she manages also to maintain style and class.[1] Her personality seems to match exactly that of her 4th century BC namesake, Phryne.

Phryne's history[edit]

Phryne was not always rich, having been born into a poor family in Richmond, Melbourne. In World War I, the other male heirs to a British peerage were killed, and Phryne's father inherited the title; as his daughter, she was granted the style "The Honourable Phryne Fisher" and an enormous fortune. She has an aunt, Mrs Prudence Stanley.

After finishing school, Phryne ran away to France where she joined a French women's ambulance unit during WWI, receiving a reward for bravery and a French war pension. She then worked as an artist's model in Montparnasse after the war. After several years here and there, Phryne moved from England to Melbourne temporarily to investigate for a family friend. She enjoyed the lifestyle so much she stayed on permanently. Through the course of the books, Phryne collects a personal maid, Dot; two adoptive daughters, Ruth and Jane (whom she rescued from slavery); a cat, Ember; a dog, Molly; and two loyal servants, the Butlers. She also has relationships with a string of lovers, most notably Lin Chung, a wealthy Chinese man (whom she rescues in the city one evening). Lin is the only lover with whom she maintains a relationship for more than a few books and even goes so far as to make a deal with his autocratic and overbearing grandmother that after he is married she (Fisher) be allowed to continue a friendship with him.[citation needed]

Main characters[edit]

  • Phryne Fisher
  • Mrs Prudence Stanley – Phryne's aunt
  • Dorothy 'Dot' Williams – Phryne's confidential maid and social secretary
  • Detective Inspector John 'Jack' Robinson – Phryne's police insider
  • Bert and Cec (Albert Johnson and Cecil Yates) – Taxi drivers and Phryne's investigative assistants
  • Jane (née Graham) and Ruth (née Collins) Fisher – Phryne's adopted daughters
  • Hugh Collins – one of Jack's policemen and Dot's husband-to-be
  • Mr and Mrs Butler – Phryne's butler and cook

Secondary Characters[edit]

  • Lin Chung – Phryne's lover
  • Li Pen – A Shao Lin monk and Lin's bodyguard

The books[edit]

  1. Cocaine Blues (1989) aka Death by Misadventure[2]
  2. Flying Too High (1990)
  3. Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991)
  4. Death at Victoria Dock (1992)
  5. The Green Mill Murder (1993)
  6. Blood and Circuses (1994)
  7. Ruddy Gore (1995)
  8. Urn Burial (1996)
  9. Raisins and Almonds (1997)
  10. Death Before Wicket (1999)
  11. Away with the Fairies (2001)
  12. Murder in Montparnasse (2002)
  13. The Castlemaine Murders (2003)
  14. Queen of the Flowers (2004)
  15. Death by Water (2005)
  16. Murder in the Dark (2006)
  17. Murder on a Midsummer Night (2008)
  18. Dead Man's Chest (2010)
  19. Unnatural Habits (2012)
  20. Murder and Mendelssohn (2013)
  • The Phryne Fisher Mysteries: Cocaine Blues / Flying Too High (omnibus) (2004)
  • A Question of Death (short story collection) (2008)


Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is a television drama series based on the novels, starring Essie Davis in the title role. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Every Cloud Productions produced the series of thirteen one-hour episodes, the first series of which premiered on ABC1 on 24 February 2012.[1] A second series of 13 episodes was also filmed and broadcast. And funding has been approved for a third series.[3]


  • Greenwood, Kerry (2006). Cocaine Blues. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press. ISBN 1-59058-236-5. 
  • Greenwood, Kerry (2006). Death at Victoria Dock. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press. ISBN 1-59058-238-1. 
  • Greenwood, Kerry (2006). Murder on the Ballarat Train. Scottsdale, Arizona: Poisoned Pen Press. ISBN 1-59058-241-1. 


  1. ^ a b Official website; accessed 15 February 2015.
  2. ^ Kerry Greenwood at Fantastic Fiction
  3. ^ Baugher, Lacy (June 16, 2014). "‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’ Will Return For A Third Season". Retrieved December 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]