Dot unfolded the note. “He says that his married couple will look after the divine Miss Fisher…I’ll leave out a bit…their name is Johnson and they seem very reliable.” Phryne got the door open at last. She stepped into the hall. “I think he was mistaken about that,” she commented.
Traveling at high speed in her beloved Hispano-Suiza accompanied by her maid and trusted companion Dot, her two adoptive daughters Jane and Ruth, and their dog Molly, The Hon. Miss Phryne Fisher is off to Queenscliff. She’d promised everyone a nice holiday by the sea with absolutely no murders, but when they arrive at their rented accommodation that doesn’t seem likely at all.
An empty house, a gang of teenage louts, a fisherboy saved, and the mystery of a missing butler and his wife seem to lead inexorably toward a hunt for buried treasure by the sea. But what information might the curious Surrealists be able to contribute? Phryne knows to what depths people will sink for greed, but with a glass of champagne in one hand and a pearl-handled Beretta in the other, no one is getting past her.
Was there a murder? Was it a murder-mystery?
Dead Man’s Chest is one of the most murder-less crime novels I have ever read. It could have been called ‘Seaside Medley’ or ‘Phryne’s Holiday’. I would have been equally nice.
Dead Man’s Chest (Spoiler) has absolutely nothing to do with the novel at all. It is pushed into the narrative as an oversight, as an accident. There is no treasure-hunt, only a pretence. There is no murder, only a distant possibility (never to be uncovered. There is no need).
There are surrealists’ club and fish sceleton jewellery. There are boys and their misadventures. There are all the wrongs righted by Honourable Miss Fisher. She does everything and does everything right.
She is amazing, exciting, mesmerising and sparkling. Miss Fisher is a woman every woman hates but wants to immitate. She is her own rules, laws and traditions. Phryne is, again, wonderful in this episode of her adventures. From her dresses to her swimming in Queenscliff sea baths, from her sidecar drinks to her dealings with very unpleasant people.
Seaside medley is just what it is, a seaside read. Summer time read for daydreaming.