Monday, November 26, 2012

Unnatural Habits-Kerry Greenwood

Unnatural Habits

Kerry Greenwood

Poisoned Pen, Jan 1 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201233

In Melbourne, the Honorable Phryne Fisher and Dr. Elizabeth MacMillan head to the Adventuresses Club when they observe three thugs about to attack a lone female. Phryne gives them a warning they ignore so three Chinese working for her lover Lin Chung beat the hooligans up.

The target is reporter Margaret “Polly” Kettle. She explains that she is investigating a story on three pregnant girls allegedly vanishing from a nursing home after working at the Abbotsford Convent’s Magdalen Laundry. Furthermore the journalist says she told the cops who ignored her plea. She begs Phryne to help, but soon afterward Polly disappears. Phryne makes inquiries finding shocking inhuman conditions.

The latest Phryne Fisher Australian 1920s mystery (see Dead Man’s Chest) is a powerful thriller that uses the real Magdalen Laundry as the base for an investigation into despicable greed ignored or conspiratorially concealed by authorities due to influence peddling. The insightful storyline will shake readers with the premise that the brothels house their female supply in much nicer conditions than the convent’s laundry room filled with pregnant unwed girls as the former is needed in top condition while the latter is being punished for their sins. Readers will appreciate Phryne’s trek into the darkest side of post WWI Melbourne.

Harriet Klausner

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