I have been a fan of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery novels since I was twelve tears old. I am also a great fan of period dramas. Hence Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, a Netflix original series, seems tailor made for me.
The detective is a fashionable young lady, unmarried, independent, and possessing independent means. She seems far, far ahead of her time.
The only other onscreen female detectives that I know are Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) and Miss Marple (in Agatha Christie mysteries). Female detectives in film and TV are somewhat rare. You see them assisting male detectives in the series “Castle” and “Monk”. You might see them as partners in crime (investigation) “Remington Steele” or the Tommy and Tuppence series (another one by Agatha Christie). But you hardly ever see them leading from the front.
Coming back to Phryne Fisher, the female lead of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, she is an expert in many fields. She possesses eyes as keen and a brain as analytical as Sherlock Holmes. She is an expert driver and dancer, an ace pilot and pistol shot. You name it, and Phryne does it.
Phryne’s talent for judging human nature and human psychology matches that of Hercule Poirot. But she is by no means an armchair detective. Always game for a challenge, she is ready to run any risk, whether in disguise or as herself.
She possesses a very kind heart. In the very first episode we see her we see her tsking in a street urchin and adopting her. Her assistant and constant companion Dorothy is also someone she found in difficult circumstances. Phryne retained her as assistant and constant companion., and then made her a permanent member of her household.
There is a fly in this ointment, however. Phryne Fisher is a bit of a nymphomaniac, readily indulging in casual love affairs. Always attractively turned out, she is a female version of James Bond, since nearly every episode sees her in a new liasion.
There is a constellation of supporting characters that helps Miss Fisher solve crimes. Inspector Jack Robinson is good looking, dependable, and given to quoting Shakespeare. He frequently, mostly unwillingly, accompanies Phryne when she is catching murderers.
Dr. MacMillan, Phryne’s friend, provides medical knowledge and forensic analysis. A butler, called Mr. Butler, also forms part of her household. Bert and Cec, drivers of a taxi cab, do the footwork in many of her investigations.
Although set in 1920’s Melbourne, the show is very modern in the way it deals with societal issues. Problems of the LGBT community, child abuse, human trafficking, exploitation of the mentally handicapped; all these are highlighted alongside the murder mysteries.
The show is highly watchable for crime fiction buffs and Downton Abbey fans alike.
Don’t forget to catch it on Netflix.
|Theme music composer||Greg J Walker|
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||34 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Every Cloud Productions|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||24 February 2012 –
26 June 2015
Infographic courtesy: Wikipedia