Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Miss Fisher’s Murder Myseries, on Australia’s ABC, is the television adaptation of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series, with each episode covering one book. They’ve done a remarkably good job of adapating a 300+ page book into a one-hour episode without losing the heart of the story. At time of writing, there have been three episodes broadcast and I’ve missed the second.

The producers have been remarkably faithful to the adaptation. Essie Davis seems a touch to old to play Phryne, but who am I to complain that they’ve cast an actress too old rather than too young? And of course, I have to mention the costumes; they look like the network sank half their annual budget into Davis’s wardrobe.

Of course, Phyrne is, well, Phryne. (And it turns out it was pronounced Fry-Nee; I was saying it in my head like ‘prine’, to rhyme with ‘divine’, which seemed appropriate.) She’s impossibly glamorous, intelligent and witty, with a heart of gold for those in need and a nose for information – not to mention sense of perseverence – that leaves no mysery unsolved. I’m not saying anything which I haven’t already in my critique of the series; Phryne is about as realistic a role model to women as James Bond is to men, but hey, better Phryne than Bella from Twilight.

And I can’t believe in my critique of the series I forgot about Dr. Elizabeth ‘Mac’ MacMillan. She plays a very small role in the series as a doctor with a strong sense of social justice and a strong sense of awareness as to what it is to be a woman in a man’s world; naturally, she and Phryne are the best of friends. It’s nice to see Phryne interact with someone who is something akin to her equal, and I’m sorry that Mac doesn’t have a bigger role in the series, because Tammy MacinTosh owns the role.

Like the series it’s adapted from, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a bit of fun that bears no close scrutiny to anything resembling reality. But it still beats the hell out of much of what else is out there ‘starring’ women.


  1. says

    I was wondering about checking the series and then i stumbled upon your highly positive review. Fancy that! :)
    I wonder… is it just me that it has the feel of Agatha C. minus the “oh, well, the resolution of the case is something that nobody could have forseen because we withel the information the whole time”?

    In regards to Essie… I am in awe, because she is brilliant and awesome.
    The series so far are incredible. I love how she owns the pUL fiction-esque cover and makes the character to look at home and completely awesome than just “come hither”.

  2. Gabriella says


    Yeah, on second thought, Davis being older than Pryne (who is supposed to be 28/9; Davis is 42) actually makes it work better, IMHO. I can’t think of a single actress in her twenties (let alone once you narrow it down to Australian actresses, which, lets face it, mostly consists of H&A/Neighbours ‘stars’) who coud pull of her sophistication and sexual allure without, as you said, being ‘come hither’. Better an older actress who can pull it off than an actress of the right age who can’t.

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