Poisoned Pen, Jan 2005, 24.95, 250 pp.
When Marcella Lavender dies, a guilty Detective Inspector Jack Robinson asks private detective Phyrne Fisher to determine whether she died of natural causes or was murdered. Marcella came to him a few weeks ago, showing him threatening letters she received and he told her not to worry because poison pen letter writers usually don't do anything violent. Now he is second guessing himself and wants a second opinion and there is no one he respects more for getting to the bottom of things than Phyrne.
Miss Lavender was a writer who produced many books about fairies and was the advice columnist at a progressive woman's magazine Women's Choice. She also has an unexplained monthly income from the Marshall & Company. Nosing around Ms. Lavender's work place and apartment complex, Phyrne learns that she was not well liked and when the autopsy reports show she died of cyanide poisoning the sleuth dives into the investigation with enthusiasm in part to get her mind off her lover Lin Chung who is in a dangerous China currently wracked by turmoil.
AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES takes place in 1928 Melbourne starring a rich, young independent heroine with an adventurous spirit who doesn't believe that women should be held down because of their gender. She has the respect of the crusty Detective Inspector and mixes with people of all social classes.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner