Reviews by L. J. Roberts

KERRY GREENWOOD – The Lady with the Gun Asks the Questions. Phryne Fisher, short story collection. Poisoned Pen Press, hardcover, 2022. Setting: Australia, 1920s.

Opening: Dear Reader, Thank you very much for buying this book (and if you haven’t bought it yet, please do so — I have cats to feed…)

   Only Kerry Greenwood could make an “Apologia” as interesting and delightful to read as the actual stories. Not only do I recommend readers start with that, but also not skip “On Phryne Fisher” which is the author’s introduction. From there, one jumps into the wonderful world of 17 absolutely wonderful short stories. There is also a very helpful Glossary at the end.

   As per usual, one always has favorite stories:

   “Hotel Splendide,” a case of a missing husband and a missing hotel room, starts one off with the perfect amount of information as to Phryne’s background, her style, her ability to take charge, and her enviable sangfroid.

   “The Body in the Library” pairs Phryne and DI Jack Robinson and a not-so-pious reverend.

   “Death Shall be Dead” includes DI Jack Robinson and a dog. How can one resist that?


   “The Bells of St. Paul’s” begins with a tea at the Windsor that leaves one salivating, and a message in the bells.

   One wishes a few of the stories were novellas and a couple would make wonderful full-length novels.

   The book is probably more for fans of Phryne than those new to her. There’s not a lot of introduction to the secondary characters. The settings and the time at which the story occurs also jumps around a bit. Even so, for new readers, this is an excellent way to experience Phryne and her world, and for those who already love Phryne, there is still the overwhelming desire to be her when one grows up.

   The Lady with the Gun Asks the Questions is a treat. Some of the stories were previously published, some have been reworked slightly, and four are brand new. They are piquant, thoroughly entertaining, and not overly complicated. One may read one, a few, or all of them at a sitting as reading them may have the effect of potato chips; one just isn’t enough.

Rating: VG Plus.