Unnatural Habits – Review
Currently on Loan from the Library:
1356 by: Bernard Cornwell (Yay!)
The Long Earth by: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
The St. Zita Society by: Ruth Rendell
Other Books I’m Reading:
Anathem: by Neal Stephenson (Yes. Still. I’m enjoying it. Yet, as books go, it is on the tome side of the line.)
I don’t usually pick up a book based on the cover art. However, the light and breezy cover art on this book, juxtaposed with the title “Unnatural Habits” was just too much to resist. As it happens I’m thrilled that I didn’t resist.
Our hero, one Phryne Fisher, is a 1920’s Australian adventuress. She is a lovely, intelligent, and audacious sleuth, with a cadre of quirky friends, contacts, and family. When pregnant girls start to disappear from the care of the Magdalene Laundry, and a reporter investigating the disappearances goes missing as well, Phryne get involved.
This book did not really keep me guessing about the ultimate answer to the mystery of the missing reporter. I got that about half way through. Still there are two other mysteries in this book, and Phryne solves those too. In the end, the lack of suspense didn’t matter much to me. The charters are vivid and interesting. The plot moves along at a steady clip. There are some red herrings, but mostly it’s a book about following clues, and hunches to their ultimate end. Which makes it a refreshing read.
I am stunned to find that I’ve never heard of the author Kerry Greenwood before. Kerry apparently has more than 40 novels to her name. This book is the nineteenth in the Phryne Fisher series. I shall clearly have to do some more research and reading. Yes, that’s right. The sound you hear is my must read pile getting higher and higher. I feel critical mass may be near.
There are no actual scenes of corporeal exuberance in this book. Although it is made very clear that Phryne has a Chinese lover. He only shows up once, and does not derail the action of the book. I always appreciate it when a writer feels they have enough material, that we don’t have to pause for the porn break in the middle of the adventure.
I also appreciated the light handed but clear handling of social issues in this book. It’s not preachy, but the social concerns of the time are very present. Naturally Phryne has her views, and she is not shy about expressing them.
All in all a well crafted book.
Enjoyability: Five stars.
Where to read this book: Anywhere. It’s got a great non-lurid cover.
Further reading: Okay, we all know that I started the Cornwell as soon as I got it home from the Library.
Posted on March 21, 2013, in Fiction, Reading, review and tagged Bernard Cornwell, Kerry Greenwood, Neal Stephenson, Phryne, Phryne Fisher, Ruth Rendell, Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.