From Book to Screen – Murder Mysteries a la Phryne

From Book to Screen – Murder Mysteries a la Phryne

Some years ago, a friend of mine strongly insisted that I read an Australian crime series by Kerry Greenwood.  The Phryne Fisher (pronounced fry-nee) mysteries opened a world of 1920’s Australia (mostly Melbourne), flappers, guns, eccentrics and amazing fashion.

I found out just less than a month ago, that this wonderful series would be coming to the ABC.  I was both thrilled and petrified.  Goodness knows that it doesn’t take much to ruin a good book when it comes to putting it on the screen.  I’ve been so enamoured with the delicious Phryne and her wild adventures, I didn’t want the world that I’d envisioned to be shattered.

So armed with my high expectations, I sat down and watched the first episode, Cocaine Blues.  The start of the episode differs somewhat to the book, but when you have to condense a whole book into a 1 hour episode there would be some things that have to be sacrificed.

For me, thankfully, that’s where the disappointment ended.  Essie Davis makes a wonderful Phryne, and the rest of the cast has been well chosen (so far, there are more to come).

The costumes are simply divine!  It’s far too easy to make 1920’s fashion in TV shows look cheesy and a bit homogenised, but I was so happy to see that Phryne’s outfits were as lavish and opulent as I’d pictured them from the books.  The racy scenes have been downplayed, which isn’t surprising, but all the action is still there.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.  Given that “Cocaine Blues” was my least favourite book from the set, I can think that it will only get better with future episodes and adventures.

Miss Fisher’s Mysteries is airing on the ABC, Fridays at 8:30pm.

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