"The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions" A Phryne Fisher Novel By Kerry Greenwood: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Kerry Greenwood has reissued her 2007 short story collection, The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions, and along with some light re-editing, she added four brand new adventures penned in 2019 and 2020. Her Apologia is a “Dear Reader” message that justifies the short story format to highlight characters from the Phryne Fisher universe, offers suggestions for further reading, and admits one of the stories is related to an original Woollcott work. In On Phryne Fisher, she provides some background into her fantastic heroine, answers why and how, and opines that Phryne seems to take on a life of her own in the books which are of a different world from the television series and feature-length film. A Glossary is included to furnish definitions for some Aussie terms and 1920s/30s lingo. Fans, like me, can’t get enough no matter what format or length!

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Image Source Poisoned Pen Press
The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions
Earns 5+/5 Flappers…Engaging Fun!

The Honorable Miss Fisher, christened Phryne for the Ancient Greek courtesan, had been born into poverty until her family inherited an English baronet and the fortune to go with it. Her portion provided her with an uncomplicated life full of choices and opportunities many women only dream of having. Therefore, she became quite the modern woman even if modern times were the 1920s and 30s. Circumstances has her well known to the local constabulary, though, often working solo or in tandem as a private investigator when murder and mayhem arrive in Melbourne.

Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher is the bee’s knees! This set of shorts was absolutely entertaining and reenergized my love of Phryne Fisher with new predicaments, surprises, and clever mysteries to entangle our heroine. The cases, each introduced with an insightful quote, have a traditional range of crimes to investigate from thefts and missing persons to murder and more murder. Phryne’s cleverness is on delightful display with her theories often in conflict to the obvious details…a true Poirot mindset, and she can always count on the support of Detective Inspector Robinson, Dot, DS Hugh, Bert and Cec, Mr. and Mrs. Butler, or one of her many intimate partners. Set throughout the seasons from Paris to Melbourne to Tasmania, Greenwood’s writing is descriptive highlighting food, fashion, and forensic details along with witty banter illustrating the diverse personalities of characters enjoyably different from the television adaptations. Although not every story has an arrest, each has a satisfying karmic conclusion. This book of shorts ranks high on the list of Phryne Fisher adventures…big contender for one of my top of 2022!


Hotel Splendide—Phryne is in Paris unimpressed by the wealthy Alain Descourt, yet intrigued by the distressed Aussie voice of Madame Johnson who swears she and her husband are registered at the hotel, but there is nothing to prove her claim. Is she crazy as the hotel clerk remarks? Has her husband gone astray in the City of Light? Or is there something more sinister at work?

The Voice of Jacob’s Voice—Miss Phryne’s fancy dress Winter Solstice party will be legendary. Starting with Death greeting guests at the door and ending with two dead bodies! Twins Jacob and Esau Tipping vie for their father’s fortune, but the will states it would be awarded to the one who by their twenty-five birthday had never been drunk. The moment of judgement is one second past midnight, and now ten minutes to midnight, both twins are dead!

Marrying the Bookie’s Daughter—A proposal of marriage is met with Phryne’s reply, “Why?” Then an argument about suitability, a confession, and an plan to discuss later. They agree, however, to attend a friend’s wedding. The bride, somewhat ghastly, has money, and the groom, a gambler, is rumored to have an eye for the ladies. But, the groom’s father approaches Phryne with a dilemma; the family jewels meant to be the bride’s gift are missing.

The Vanishing of Jack McHale’s Hat—Football. The Catholic Church. A battered hat. A challenge. “What can a sheila do?” All fascinating elements for Phryne to ponder when the Archbishop requests her assistance to recover McHale’s hat, thought to be a necessary good luck charm, before the big match.

Puttin’ on the Ritz—Are you obligated to offer your investigator talents when you’re treated to an upscale dinner? It’s yes. Phryne’s friend explains a valuable set of pearls belonging to his late mother are actually his and he hopes to use them to fund his ambition to offer his attorney services pro bona, but he is distraught since his father has given them to his new girlfriend.

The Body in the Library—The dead body of young woman in the library of a local MP will be public humiliation spearheaded by the local reverend. Their difference of opinion and passion over regulating the local brothels is well documented, but the woman’s appearance seems staged. Who would benefit from this scandal?

The Miracle of St. Mungo—Phryne’s reputation as being “horribly clever” is so well-known that close friends turn to her when matters are delicate. Lady Wessex’s indiscretion has lost her a locket, and she wants it back. A St. Mungo’s miracle is unlikely, but a Phryne five-card miracle may do the trick.

Overhead on the Balcony—When December 25’s summer temperatures are not conducive to one’s English traditions and Phryne’s friend wants a traditional Country House celebration, inviting guests for an Antipodean Christmas in June is the solution. But, Phryne finds it necessary to go up against the disagreeable General Harbottle as he threatens his wife, the host, and everyone at the table. What better way to save the celebration then with a plum pudding!

The Hours of Juana the Mad—A university cocktail party is not at the top of Phryne’s something to do list, but the handsome associate professor and the promise to see the department’s prize treasure is. It turns out to be quite the gathering and eavesdropping interesting banter reveals the book Phryne came to see is missing. Competing theories make for a challenge…”we’ll see who finds the Book.”

Death Shall be Dead—“He says that someone is trying to murder him,” Jack shared with Phryne, but despite his belief the old man’s crazy, Phryne thinks it is worth a look. It’s turns out to be too late, however, when the old man’s house is set a light and four bodies are discovered. 

Carnival—Phryne loves circuses and carnivals, but not the overly disagreeable Bobby Ferguson who complained of her car, her driving, her refusal to let him drive her car, the heat, and snakes. A wayward camel would have been better company. Especially when too loudly, he mentions he forgot his mother’s very expensive pearl bracelet is in his pocket. Then…“I’ve been robbed!”

The Camberwell Wonder—DI Robinson gets an immediate confession from the young man, “I killed Mr. Clarke. I killed him.” Earlier Phryne had dismissed her date, the boorish Mr. Clarke, swearing never to do favors like that again, but then she’s asked by Lady Rose to check into the situation. The young confessor is her housekeeper’s son, a simpleton, who isn’t capable of murder. Phryne takes on the inquiry knowing with a confession recorded it’ll be difficult.

Come, Sable Night—The Madrigal Choir has been invited to rehearse at Miss Fisher’s home, but one, two have quite a scandalous tale to make the afternoon entertaining. Lawrence Newhouse-Gore, a well-known collector of woman, has transferred his attentions from one sister, his fiancée, to her sister, his new fiancée. So who would have been at fault for his sudden collapse and death?

The Boxer—“I want you to find my granddaughter,” requests Mrs. Ragnell, an egregious woman herself. Two weeks ago eight-year-old Christina Elliot Forrest went out to play and didn’t return. Phryne learns the young child had been in her care since the child’s mother, her own daughter, left years ago. Police were called in, but not enthusiastic. After learning a connection to “working” women, Phryne hits the streets to find answers that reveal sinister motivations.

A Matter of Style—Phryne always finds visiting Madame Latour at the Salon de Paris very relaxing, but today she’s met with a loud flurry led by Mrs. Daphne Ballard, wife of a local MP. She is quite forceful with her complaint about missing personal items and demands the items be returned or else the police will be engaged. Phryne’s cleverness and threats of her own may just save Salon de Paris.

The Chocolate Factory—Phryne agreed to sit for a portrait that would later be used on the box of Mme. Charpentier new collection of chocolates called Dark Lady. Two months later the finished product was delivered to rave reviews. Except…the extra little package of nougats tasted funny. Sabotage? Who? Why? Mme. Charpentier cries: “Nous sommes trahis—We are betrayed.” She pleads for Phryne’s help. Her reputation is at stake!

The Bells of St. Paul’s—The sound of the bells serenaded the Hon. Miss Fisher and her companion Dot Williams while they enjoyed high tea at the Windsor. Although Dot explained the bells peel daily everyday, Phryne recognized that today the bells sounded different…a pattern. “Is it a code, Miss Phryne?”

Be a Big Fan of Kerry Greenwood!

Kerry Greenwood is the popular Aussie author of the Miss Phryne Fisher (pronounced Fry-knee to rhyme with briny) book series first released in 1989 with Cocaine Blues. Sixteen books later along with a worldwide popular television series (Reviewed HERE) and feature-length movie (Reviewed HERE) Kerry and Phryne have shot, using the famous pearl-handled .22 Beretta pistol, to the top of the charts. Greenwood also pens the Corinna Chapman series with baker and amateur sleuth Corinna Chapman (http://earthlydelights.net.au) “filled with gastronomical delights, humour and unexpected twists.”

Facebook: Author Kerry Greenwood “The official Facebook page for Kerry Greenwood. Tended, daily, by minions and underlings.”

Website: Official Phryne Fisher—Kerry Greenwood, author

To enter to win a copy of The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "lady,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 4, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like an interessting lady - one I'd like
    to meet. thanks for the chance.

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. "The Lady With the Gun Asks the Questions" A Phryne Fisher Novel By Kerry Greenwood sounds like a wonderful book romp thru the age of the flappers. It is great when the reader is transported to another place and time while reading.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  5. Love Phryne Fisher, would love to read the book.

  6. The TV series is fantastic, I watch it a lot. I have only read one of the books
    I would love a chance to read these short stories. Thank you. sue.stoner72@yahoo.com


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