Friday, November 15, 2013

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: Cocaine Blues

Tonight I was looking for something to occupy my brain while I work on some simple tasks for class, and just happened to look at my Netflix home page, which showed some new program I hadn't heard of before called Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. My thoughts went something like this:
I like a good period mystery. And Netflix seems to think I'd give it 4+ stars. OK, I'll check it out.
I click the little red arrow and it starts up. A pair of slippers cross the screen and then a pair of white shoes running away. Being chased down by the housemaid with a gift of baby booties?
Oh... accurate-looking period clothing. I like seeing the shoes! I'm intrigued!
Now we see the man in slippers, pajamas and a bathroom as he stumbles to the bathroom sink and eventually falls to the floor. And then the opening credits start with with a jangly jazz number, and then open up to Miss Fisher strolling down the gangplank and into the arms of her friend Dr. Mac.

I'm sold.
I don't know who that woman is, but I already adore her and want to see more of her!

Some great conversation between Phryne and Mac and we learn a little about what has brought her back to Melbourne -- something sad, something about revenge perhaps? Then Miss Fisher is invited off to a meeting with her Aunt Prudence at the very same home where the earlier drama happened! Of course! She arrives just as Mr. Andrews' body is being carried out the very same front door she is entering. Double of course!

And Aunt Prudence! The very first lines out of her mouth are deliciously catty and wonderfully proper.
Oh! I hope we get to see lots more of her! 

There's the curious behavior of the maid, Dorothy. She appears to be afraid of the telephone. We learn later that she's Catholic and that her priest thinks that electricity running through wires is unnatural, and will "sooner or later come into contact with the molten center of the earth and blow up the whole world." Of course, she's soon fired from her position in the house, and taken under the wing of the sexually liberated, mystery-solving, worldly Miss Fisher, which certainly makes for a very entertaining partnership between the liberated woman and the naive maid.
Oh! She is super cute and innocent. What a perfect pair they will make for all kinds of adventures!
Then there's the back-alley abortions, the cocaine use (with a great scene between Phryne and Mac "testing" a sample several times "just to be sure"), sex, shootings, class warfare, curious flashbacks, threats of revenge, and antique car chases. I love the range of women characters. [spoiler] The bad guy in this first episode is really a woman. A smart, flawed woman, almost sympathetic woman.

I've only seen one show so far, but this promising to become my new favorite show. Miss Phryne Fisher is smart, shrewd, sophisticated, and sexy. What else could I hope for in a new television heroine*? Plus, while looking for photos to use for this blog post, I came across some very interesting images presumably from future episodes, and I cannot wait to see the stories behind some of them!

Some of my favorite lines:

Aunt Prudence: Phryne, dear. I hardly recognize the child in you. Apart from the length of your skirt.

Detective Robinson: Miss Fisher, I appreciate your curiosity for crime...
Miss Fisher: Well, every lady needs a hobby.

Dr. Mac: Looks like a nerve powder. Usually prescribed for women, of course, the hysterical sex, for nervous exhaustion, emotional collapse, wandering wombs... that sort of thing.
Miss Fisher: Why on earth would a womb wander?
Dr. Mac: Unnatural behavior will do it, according to Hypocrites. Like celibacy.
Miss Fisher: Oh good. Mine's not going anywhere.

Mrs. Andrews: I rescued us from bankruptcy and disgrace, and I built an empire. All I wanted was my own life back. But John wouldn't let me have it. Judge me if you like. But I saved myself.
Miss Fisher: What a shame it took a life of crime for you to find your strength, Lydia.

Miss Fisher: And she pointed the finger as Sasha De Lisse, and I was forced to discount him with my own... thorough investigation.

Dorothy: Miss, about the job. I don't know what my priest will think of you. Guns and knives, and dancing.
Miss Fisher: Considering your last employers were a drug baroness and a rapist, surely he'll find me a modest improvement.

* Well, I'd also like to see more women of color, more disabled women, more transwomen, more native women, more of all those who are always underrepresented.


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