Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why You Should Stop What You're Doing and Binge Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Instead

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that my life was recently ruined by a show called Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, who is made in Australia but currently airing on USA and UK Netflix.

This is entirely Gaby's fault for introducing me to this glorious show, but once I got a taste, there was no turning back. Cue the full and instant obsession. One episode in and I was a goner.

The basic gist of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is this: in 1928, the Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher (pronounced FRYknee) returns to home to Melbourne. She came from humble (and tragic) Australian beginnings, but then all her relatives conveniently died in the Great War and her father became a wealthy British baron and Phryne left for England. Now she is BACK, mostly to stir up trouble, because that's what Phryne does best, other than dress herself, deliver bon mots, and have eye sex and actual sex. About thirty seconds after docking, Phryne is pulled into a murder mystery, which she solves after only a slight bit of life-threatening peril, but that doesn't shake Phryne much, nor does matching wits with handsome if serious Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne decides she likes this sordid murder business so much that she becomes a Lady Detective.

Meet the Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher.

Phryne flies planes, drives fast cars, and can seduce a man with one bat of her lashes. Phryne flirts. She laughs. She sashays. She is the ultimate wish fulfillment, a female James Bond with actual character depth and growth. Everything you can do, she can do better except admit when she's desperately in love with detective inspectors. She will not be tamed. She is wild and reckless and always dressed to the nines. If you are lost, she will save you. If you are sexist or racist or in any way terrible, she will eviscerate you.

Phryne stands dramatically atop trains to survey her kingdom, and the trains obey her like the goddess she is.

She has a gold-plated gun with a pearl handle and she is infinitely more fabulous than you.

Phryne keeps important things like daggers and evidence in her garter.

Phryne is Trouble with a Capital T.

Phryne solves murder mysteries the best way she knows:

Phryne's actions usually cause people to look at her like this:

or like this:

Sometimes Miss Fisher has handsome men pour her booze.

And then they serve her booze, because Miss Fisher has trained her men well like the goddess she is.

Sometimes Miss Fisher has handsome men eating out of the palm of her hand.

Sometimes Miss Fisher takes her chapeaux and her beaux under the docks to sniff out criminals.

Also, because the docks so perfectly frame her beauty.


Miss Fisher gives better side eye than you do.

Miss Fisher enters rooms better than you do.

Miss Fisher lives life better than you do.

This is how Miss Fisher looks when she graces the halls of lowly convents with her mighty presence.

And then there's Detective Inspector Jack Robinson, who, when he forgets to be disgruntled with the fabulous Miss Phryne Fisher, looks at her like this:

The Inspector is serious. He is grim. He is here to Do A Job. He does not have time for heiresses in cloche hats with noses for trouble and legs for days. Jack has gravity. Jack leans against things:

Jack does not like looking at Miss Phryne Fisher. No, he does not. He most assuredly does NOT. He does not value her opinions, or condone her meddling in his murder investigations. He is certainly not charmed by her unflagging determination, her irrepressible spirit, her vivacious manner, or her wit. Nope.

Certainly not.

Most men would be intimidated by a woman as worldly, talented, and wealthy as the Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher, but not Jack. 

Jack is amused. Challenged. Intrigued. Jack recognizes the value of a woman with a fur stole and leather gloves.

Jack and Phryne often sit together and drink cocktails while discussing how difficult it is to be burdened with both beautiful cheekbones and keen intellect.

Observe how Jack and Phryne angle their beautiful cheekbones so the Melbourne light can hit them just so.

They're more beautiful and cleverer than you are, and they know it.

Sometimes Jack and Phryne make eye contact and your heart actually escapes from your chest and whizzes about the room like a popped balloon but who cares because you don't need it anymore anyway



 You are ac. tually. killing me.

Oh. Ohhh, the tension.

There's slow burn, and then there's this show. It's a slow slow SLOW, ACHINGLY SLOW DRIP. It's agonizing. It makes you cry and scream. It's is a torturous process, a steady burn as these two different characters slooooooooowly--so slowly they might not even be doing it-- iiiiiiiiinch into alignment. And then you cry a lot because WILL IT EVER HAPPEN WHY CAN'T THEY SEE HOW PERFECT THEY ARE FOR EACH OTHER OH GOD WHY AREN'T THEY HAVING SEX ON TABLE TOPS YET

Sometimes Jack and Phryne flirt with their words, and not just their eyes. And then sometimes the innuendos just defy words altogether.

But even beneath all the lingering gazes and saucy words is a slow-building friendship, a base of trust, a true partnership, A MEETING OF EQUAL MINDS.


 They are definitely not thinking about kissing each other 100% of the time. I'm definitely not thinking about them kissing 100% of the time.

But do Jack and Phryne just sit around and stare deeply into each other's eyes until I asphyxiate? No, sadly. Of course not! They also solve murderers! They chase bad guys, crack codes, slink around forbidden places, and look at suspects with deepest suspicion.

Sometimes the Honorable Miss Fisher dresses like the most fabulous of all of Dr. Seuss' creatures, and we are her disciples.

Then there are the other precious cinnamon rolls who populate Miss Fisher's world, and end up forming Miss Fisher's adorable rag tag family of rescue puppies, because Miss Fisher is the SUN and all who are lucky enough to bask in her warmth never want to leave it. There's Dot, soft-spoken secret bad ass master seamstress; Mac, a lady lovin', wise crackin' doctor who rocks a plaid pantsuit like nobody's business; Constable Hugh Collins, Jack's underling and bumbling admirer of the precious Dot; and whoops, how did that very attractive photo of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson slip in here again, don't mind me.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries occasionally dips into serious topics like grief, war, and trauma. It goes out of its way to touch on the stories of those history can forget. It's rip roaringly feminist and searingly romantic. And it's all centered around the foibles and follies, the virtues and valor and vivre of the incomparable Phryne Fisher, my queen for life. Phryne unapologetic about who she is in all ways. Phryne is life goals. Phryne is everything.

If you want to get on the Phryne Fisher train, all three seasons (THAT HAVE AIRED SO FAR WE REALLY WANT A FOURTH SEASON OKAY PLEASE GIVE ME A FOURTH SEASON) are on US Netflix, and I believe the first two seasons are on UK Netflix. This show is a delight. It makes me happy on a level that is possibly dangerous for my health, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If and when you do watch it, tell me, and we can shriek about meaningful eye contact together!

Until the next murder.


  1. Great show, I love it 2 :) What would you do if I would say that there are books 2? :D

  2. I FREAKING LOVE THIS SHOW! I'm seriously in love with Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. It's cleverly written, it's got the best costumes (LIKE SERIOUSLY I WANT PHRYNE'S WHOLE CLOSET), it's packed with action AND emotion, and I love the swoons (and the ensuing screaming for them to JUST KISS ALREADY DAMMIT). LOVE. THIS. POST.

  3. I skipped a lot of this bc i am still in the discovery stages and want to see everything myself first but WHY DID YOU INCLUDE PHRYNE FEEDING JACK I NEARLY FELL OUT OF MY CHAIR

  4. Considering the library say it'll be months before I can see The 100 season 2, I have the need for a slow burn show right now. Thanks!
    (aw, drat- the library says it'll be months before I can get Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series 1- everyone else has it on hold, as well! Ah well, worth the wait)

  5. Well, what can I say... Gillian, you did it again! First you hooked me up on "The 100," and now it's "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries." I am just glad that my library had the first season. Guess who ordered it right now? ;)

    -- Birgit

  6. Ok, ok, I added it to my Netflix queue!

  7. Okay, OKAY ALREADY! You've had me sold in the second paragraph, no need to make me so excited for this that I need to move to the US right now to have Netflix!!!!
    Seriously, you know how to sell things Gillian. You should work in pitching. I bet all the commercials will suddenly be effective. On second though, please don't. Use your powers for good instead.

  8. It is unfair how much you are making me want to watch this show, lol :) I shall think about it. <3 I love how much you love it Gillian. Thank you for sharing about it :)

  9. This show is EVERYTHING. Great writing, fabulous-ness all around, and a depth of empathy for victims (murdered or murderer, as the case may be) that most procedurals lack. I can't love it more! And this is such a fittingly swoony article about the greatness of Phryne and Co. :)

  10. This is so accurate I think I might cry a little. Thank you!

  11. I have been seriously laughing with tears as I've been reading your brilliant recap of this glorious show! I love your descriptions and fab screen shots soooo much! Can I quote some of this on my Tumblr blog (crediting you and linking back to this blog, of course)? Honestly, I sooo needed this!

    1. You absolutely can quote me with linkage! I'm honored! <3


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