Super-sleuth Phryne Fisher steps, like an elegant cat, through this, her eighth adventure
In investigating the poisoning of a young man in a bookshop at the Eastern Market, and the wrongful arrest of one Miss Sylvia Lee, Phryne is plunged into a world of politics, alchemy, poison and chicken soup. Stopping only for a brief, but intensely erotic, dalliance with the beautiful Simon Abrahams, Phryne pikc her way through the mystery with help from the old faithfuls – Bert, Cec, Dot and Detective Inspector ‘Call Me Jack’ Robinson. But ultimately it is her stealth and wit which solve the crime – and all for the price of a song. . .
The mysterious strychnine poisoning of scholarly Jewish immigrant Simon Michaels leads to one of the more complex and somber cases in the career of Greenwood's Australian Jazz Age amateur sleuth Phryne Fisher (Urn Burial, etc.). Fearing that the killing may signal a rise in anti-Semitism, affluent community leader Benjamin Abrahams hires Fisher to clear the name of his tenant, bookseller Sylvia Lee. Fisher, only slightly distracted by Benjamin's devastatingly handsome son, quickly exonerates Lee and dashes off in pursuit of the theory that Michaels was killed for a coded message that might be related to the local Zionist movement. Compared with some of the other entries in Greenwood's popular series, the mood is more serious and the identity of the murderer more mysterious, but fans will have no cause for complaint.