Phryne Fisher coming to the small screen


Essie Davis will play Phryne Fisher

TV Tonight reports that Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has a green light for a 13-episode series to air on ABC1 next year. Based on the best-selling historical crime fiction series by Kerry Greenwood the show will feature Essie Davis in the role of Phryne Fisher.

Although Australia has produced a plethora of television crime dramas over the years, few have been based on our own written crime fiction. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are two different series featuring the Napoleon Bonaparte character created by Arthur Upfield and two tele movies based on Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan novels (featuring the yummy David Whenham in the title role). In a country where the vast bulk of our television drama comes from the US and UK I am always thrilled to see local drama being produced and it’s even better when Australian source material provides the ideas. I am particularly encouraged that in this instance both the creator of the series and the lead character are strong, independent women.

Phryne (pronounced Fry-knee for the uninitiated) lives in 1920’s Melbourne and is a glamorous, intelligent amateur sleuth with a keen sense of justice. She has featured in 18 books to date

  • Cocaine Blues (1989) (a.k.a. Death by Misadventure)
  • Flying Too High (1990)
  • Murder on the Ballarat Train (1991)
  • Death at Victoria Dock (1992)
  • The Green Mill Murder (1993)
  • Blood and Circuses (1994)
  • Ruddy Gore (1995)
  • Urn Burial (1996)
  • Raisins and Almonds (1997)
  • Death Before Wicket (1999)
  • Away with the Fairies (2001)
  • Murder in Montparnasse(2002)
  • The Castlemaine Murders (2003)
  • Queen of the Flowers (2004)
  • Death by Water (2005)
  • Murder in the Dark (2006)
  • A Question of Death: An Illustrated Phryne Fisher Treasury (2007)
  • Murder on a Midsummer Night (2008)
  • Dead Man’s Chest (2010)

Given that the production company has recently scored major accolades for its adaptation of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet and the head writer has brought us such Australian favourites as Seachange I think Phryne will be in good hands and I look forward to seeing how she (and the fabulous 20’s fashions and decor) are brought to life. It is expected that Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries will be sold internationally so hopefully her legion of loyal world-wide fans will get the opportunity to see the show eventually. Head to Phyrne’s website for extracts of all the books and all things Phryne-related.