Queen of Flowers
Poisoned Pen, Jul 2008, $24.95
In 1928 the townsfolk of St. Kilda are euphoric as they prepare for the annual Queen of the Flowers gala. Socialite Phryne Fisher is especially looking forward to the festival receiving the honor of being name the Queen of the event. This means spending time buying fancy dresses and dining in top restaurants, a hardship that Phryne will suffer with relish though the elephant may be a bit too much even for a woman who tries anything.
However, Phryne's adopted daughter, Ruth vanishes in search of her biological father after learning from her birthmother TB victim Anna Ross at the sanatorium who he is. Phryne has been hired by family friends in Melbourne to search for missing Rose Weston while she also plans to trace her adopted daughter. Her investigation proves stunning and shocking as she uncovers some horrific happenings.
As always with this excellent Australian historical mystery series, the characters especially the nonparallel Phryne make for a strong period piece. The investigations are fun to follow as the heroine begins to find horrific occurrences that shake even her. However, it is the heroine and her support cast who bring late 1920s Australia to life that makes QUEEN OF FLOWERS and the rest of the Fischer saga some of the best recurring lighthearted investigative tales.