Dead Man’s Chest by Kerry Greenwood

dead man's chestGenre: Murder mystery, a Phryne Fisher mystery (narrated by Stephanie Daniel)

Blurb: (from Goodreads) Phryne Fisher needs a rest. It’s summer. She packs up her family and moves to Queenscliff, a quiet watering place on the coast. Where she meets with smugglers, pirate treasure and some very interesting surrealists, including a parrot called Pussykins. What is the mysterious Madame Selavey hiding? Where are the Johnsons, who were supposed to be in the holiday house?

What I liked: I liked the narrator of this story, Stephanie Daniel, did a nice job with the large number of characters. I like Greenwood’s characterization, the characters are very real and enjoyable and the main character – Phryne Fisher – is a woman to be admired, more notable because this story was supposed to take place, I’m thinking, in the 1920s but the rest…

What I didn’t like: The rest seemed all over the place. I really had a hard time keeping the characters straight, even the main ones until well into the book. Part of the issue might be that this is book 18 in the Fisher mystery series (I was unaware of this when I picked it up), but maybe it’s also because Greenwood is Australian and maybe the book style of that country is different from mine. I have noticed a difference, at times, reading from someone from the UK so perhaps it is similar with the country down under. And the story was very difficult to follow. Greenwood moved from one scene and set of characters to another with minimal to no transition and at times it was difficult to know what the characters were talking about until a page or so into the scene. I kept reading because I liked the characters, but the story itself was uninteresting and odd at times. Perhaps if I tried an earlier work, it would have been better. Sometimes writers or editors become lazy after so many books in a series.

Rating: 2/5

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Do you find that in series books (in general) the quality deteriorates? I wonder if big time authors feel like their name carries more credibility than their talent. They were once great but now they just aren’t trying. Kind of like a few tenured professors I once knew…

    • I think it does happen. I’ve seen it more than once. For example, I read Ken Follet’s “Fall of Giants” and I’m sure it wasn’t as good as his earlier works. But there are the Dresden Books by Jim Butcher. He’s had a long running series and I read one further in the series that was very entertaining. Then, of course, folks like Agatha Christie who continued to do good work. Not all were exceptional, but I haven’t read one I disliked. We just need people – editors – willing to tell us writers what’s crap and what isn’t and writers humble enough to acknowledge the truth.

      • Yes, I supposed humility on the writer’s part and honesty on the editor’s part is key.


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