Death be­comes her

Is any in­di­ca­tion. Guy Davis looks at the pop­u­lar pri­vate eye’s lat­est case.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - COVER STORY -

his is a hol­i­day – must you find mur­der ev­ery­where?” Dr El­iz­a­beth Macmil­lan asks her friend, el­e­gant sleuth Phryne Fisher.

“You know very well that mur­der finds me,” is Phryne’s re­ply, much to the de­light of the fans of Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies.

It’s easy to un­der­stand why this ABC se­ries, wrap­ping up its sec­ond sea­son on Sun­day with a Christ­mas episode ti­tled “Mur­der Un­der the Mistle­toe”, has struck such a chord with view­ers here and abroad.

De­spite var­i­ous poor un­for­tu­nates meet­ing un­timely demises each episode, it’s com­fort­ing rather than con­fronting – you just know that jus­tice will be served, thanks to the in­de­fati­ga­ble Miss Fisher’s in­ves­tiga­tive skills.

And even if the iden­tity of the cul­prit some­times comes as no sur­prise to any­one fa­mil­iar with the con­ven­tions of a mys­tery story, Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies goes through its paces with a tone of smart, saucy so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

So one would ex­pect noth­ing less from the se­ries’ Christ­mas episode, which gets off to a shock­ing start – lit­er­ally – when a fel­low’s ef­forts to get his Christ­mas tree lights glow­ing re­sults in his elec­tro­cu­tion.

Of course, foul play is in­volved – we’ve seen a hand sneak into frame and tam­per with the wiring.

So it’s lucky that Miss Fisher ( Essie Davis), ac­com­pa­nied by Dr Mac ( Tammy Macin­tosh), Aunt Pru­dence ( Miriam Mar­golyes) and Dot ( Ash­leigh Cum­mings), is soon on the scene.

The group has trav­elled to a coun­try­side chalet in the mid­dle of win­ter, where the home­own­ers are hold­ing a snowy “Christ­mas in July” celebration, in or­der for Aunt Pru­dence to fi­nalise the sale of an aban­doned gold mine owned by her late hus­band.

The mine was closed af­ter a dis­as­trous cave- in a decade ear­lier claimed the lives of a band of work­ers and it quickly be­comes clear the tragedy has left a few lin­ger­ing scars.

So mo­tives abound at the chalet and there are enough side­ways glances and sus­pi­cious ex­pres­sions to in­di­cate any­one could be re­spon­si­ble for the Christ­mas- tree elec­tro­cu­tion ... and the ris­ing body count once Miss Fisher and her friends show up.

Even De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Jack Robin­son ( Nathan Page) and his young right- hand man Con­sta­ble Hugh Collins ( Hugo John­stone- Burt) ar­riv­ing as re­in­force­ments doesn’t put a stop to things and, with the chalet snowedin and the roads iced over, it’s up to our fear­less crime­fight­ers to solve the mys­tery and save the day.

Of course, even with the chalet’s re­frig­er­ated cool room rapidly fill­ing with bod­ies, there’s still time for a lit­tle flir­ta­tious ban­ter be­tween the well­matched Phryne and Jack; when Phryne cheek­ily asks Jack if he’s scared as the two con­front a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion, Jack smartly replies, “Only of you”.

The odd line wouldn’t be out of place ut­tered by CSI: Mi­ami’s Ho­ra­tio Caine.

For ex­am­ple, when it’s dis­cov­ered one of the killer’s vic­tims has been dis­patched with a blow to the head from a sculp­ture named The Kiss, Phryne is quick to point out, “In this case, the kiss of death”.

Ah, but Miss Fisher can get away with the odd ridicu­lous one- liner, mainly due to Essie Davis’s con­fi­dent, cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mance.

There’s no word as yet as to whether Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies will re­turn for a third sea­son, al­though if the fans and fol­low­ers or­gan­is­ing pe­ti­tions and lob­by­ing the ABC have their way, there most cer­tainly will be. Miss Fisher’s Mur­der Mys­ter­ies: Mur­der Un­der the Mistle­toe, ABC1, Sun­day, 7.30pm

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