PHRYNE FISHER’S MERRY MYSTERY
T his is a holiday – must you find murder everywhere?
Such is the question Dr Elizabeth Macmillan asks her friend, the elegant sleuth Phryne Fisher in a special Christmas-themed episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
``You know very well that murder finds me,’’ the delightful Phryne replies.
It’s easy to understand why this ABC series, wrapping up its second season on Sunday with an episode called Murder Under
the Mistletoe, has struck such a chord with viewers both here and abroad.
Despite various poor unfortunates meeting untimely demises each episode, it’s comforting rather than confronting that justice is
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.
It’s especially so with the series’ Christmas episode, which gets off to a shocking start – literally – when one fellow’s efforts to get his Christmas tree lights glowing results in his electrocution.
Of course, foul play is involved – a hand is seen sneaking into frame and tampering with the wiring.
So it’s lucky Miss Fisher (Essie Davis), accompanied by Dr Mac (Tammy Macintosh), Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes) and Dot (Ashleigh Cummings), are so quickly on the scene.
The group has travelled to a countryside chalet in the middle of winter, where the homeowners are celebrating a snowy Christmas in July.
There, Aunt Prudence plans to finalise the sale of an abandoned gold mine owned by her late husband. The mine closed after a disastrous cave-in a decade earlier that claimed the lives of a band of workers. It seems the tragedy has left 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 after Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) and his young right-hand man Constable
OF COURSE FOUL PLAY IS INVOLVED – A HAND IS SEEN SNEAKING INTO FRAME, TAMPERING WITH WIRING
Hugh Collins (Hugo JohnstoneBurt) arrive as reinforcements, it doesn’t put a stop to things and, with the chalet snowed-in and the roads iced over, it’s up to our fearless crimefighters to solve the mystery and save the day.
And even with the chalet’s refrigerated cool room rapidly filling with bodies, there’s time for some flirtatious banter between the well-matched Phryne and Jack. Cheeky Phryne asks if he’s scared. Jack smartly replies: “Only of you’’.
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 and captivating performance.
There’s no word yet whether Miss Fisher will return for a third season, though if fans and followers organising petitions and lobbying the ABC have their way, there most certainly will be.
Essie Davies in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries