Cocaine Blues By Kerry Greenwood: Book's Review and Summary

Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood - 9781741145663 - Allen & Unwin - Australia

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood: A Riveting Tale of Mystery and Intrigue

If you’re a fan of mystery novels, then you should definitely check out Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood. This book is the first in the Phryne Fisher series, which follows the adventures of a daring and unconventional female detective in 1920s Australia. The book is a fast-paced, thrilling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Kerry Greenwood is a prolific Australian author who has written over 60 novels and many short stories. Her writing style is known for its wit, humor, and keen attention to detail. In Cocaine Blues, Greenwood introduces us to the world of Phryne Fisher, a wealthy and glamorous heiress who has returned to Melbourne after spending years abroad. Phryne quickly becomes embroiled in a murder investigation when a friend of hers is accused of killing her husband. As she delves deeper into the case, Phryne uncovers a web of intrigue and deceit that threatens to destroy the lives of those around her.

Themes and Ideas

One of the main themes of Cocaine Blues is the role of women in society. Through Phryne Fisher, Greenwood challenges traditional gender roles and expectations. Phryne is a self-assured and confident woman who refuses to be constrained by the conventions of her time. She is unapologetically independent and refuses to let anyone else define her or dictate her actions. This theme is particularly relevant today, as we continue to grapple with issues related to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Another important theme in the book is the tension between modernity and tradition. The 1920s were a time of great social and cultural change, and this is reflected in the book’s portrayal of Melbourne society. Phryne is a reflection of this transition, as she brings with her a more progressive and liberated worldview that challenges the traditional values of her peers. This theme of modernity vs. tradition is a timeless one that continues to resonate with readers today.

Writing Style and Message

Kerry Greenwood’s writing style is witty, engaging, and highly descriptive. She has a talent for bringing the world of 1920s Melbourne to life, with all of its sights, sounds, and smells. The characters are vividly portrayed, and the plot is cleverly constructed with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The message of the book is ultimately one of empowerment and liberation. Phryne Fisher is a representation of what women can achieve when they refuse to be limited by societal norms and expectations.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the strengths of Cocaine Blues is its fast-paced plot and engaging characters. The book is a page-turner from start to finish, and the mystery is well-crafted and satisfying. Another strength of the book is its portrayal of 1920s Melbourne, which is vividly brought to life through Greenwood’s writing. On the downside, some readers may find the book’s treatment of race and colonialism problematic. The book is a product of its time, and it reflects the attitudes and prejudices of the era in which it was written.

Summary and Recommendation

In conclusion, Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood is a highly entertaining and thought-provoking read that is sure to appeal to fans of mystery novels. Its engaging characters, fast-paced plot, and vivid portrayal of 1920s Melbourne make it a must-read for anyone looking for an exciting and engaging book. While the book may have some flaws, its overall message of empowerment and liberation is an important one that continues to resonate with readers today. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery and is looking for a strong, independent female protagonist.


Q: Is Cocaine Blues suitable for younger readers?

A: The book contains themes and language that may not be suitable for younger readers. It is recommended for readers aged 18 and over.

Q: How does Cocaine Blues compare to other works in the mystery genre?

A: Cocaine Blues is unique in that it features a strong female protagonist who challenges traditional gender roles and expectations. It is similar in tone and style to other classic mystery novels, such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot series.

Q: Will there be more books in the Phryne Fisher series?

A: Yes, Cocaine Blues is the first in a series of 20 books featuring the character of Phryne Fisher.

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