Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Review)

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Review)

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Series 3 (2015-2016)
3-Disc Set
Acorn
$29.31
(Also Available in Blu-Ray for $24.43.)

What is a 76-year-old man, happily married for 54 years, to do when he encounters a beautiful brunette woman whom he instantly thinks he is falling in love with? In my case, I decided to see another episode of this flashy Australian series.

The lovely brunette in question? Ah, yes. In real life, she is Essie Davis, a leading lady in plays and movies made in her homeland of Australia. In the world of TV crime mysteries, she will be remembered as Phryne Fisher, a resident of Melbourne in the year 1929.

Symbolizing the positive benefits that enthused females during the Flapper Era, Phryne reveals a casual attitude toward sex, she isn’t hesitant to drink as often as possible or to lure a man into her tender trap, and she isn’t afraid to barge into any situation, whether it’s dangerous or not.

Nothing stops Phryne from delivering her type-a personality, given her sexy smiles and those two legs of hers, always encased in high heels, that she works overtime to expose. (Well, she does have to unearth clues in whatever way possible.) The wittiness and charm of Essie is definitely why the series has been accepted in 120 countries and territories worldwide, and made the Australian Broadcasting System wildly popular.

Not only has she talked Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (better known in the acting world as Nathan Page) into allowing her to accompany him on his murder investigations, but she has the talent to pose as a happy-go-lucky prostitute, a strip club dancer, a Houdini-style water tank escapee,  and anything else the plot might require so she can carry herself one step closer to the solution of the immediate mystery.

missfisher-legsexposedIt’s all based on the 16 novels written by Kerry Greenwood, an Australian who has authored several genres over the years. The characters Greenwood surrounds Fisher with are equally compelling, beginning with Inspector Jackson, a handsome fellow and a shrewd investigator who grows closer and closer to Fisher in each case they ultimately solve together.  It’s left up in the air whether or not they are having an affair. One episode suggests yes, another hmmm . . . not sure. Then there’s that “maybe” that crossed my mind on one occasion.

missfisher-fandancingBut one thing is certain as we enter the third season: Their original playfulness is beginning to turn in a more serious direction. Then there’s Ashleigh Cummings as Dorothy Williams, a shy but pretty young thing Phryne has taken in as an assistant, given that Dot (Phryne’s nickname for her) has a thing for Jackson’s uniformed constable Hugh Collins, a rather shy and oft-clumsy but well-meaning young man striving for success – and Dot’s heart.

That would be Hugo Johnstone-Burt, who was featured in the American film San Andreas. Miriam Margolyes is Phryne’s rather rotund aunt and a society queen. She is delightfully at odds with Phryne’s behavior and constantly condemning her, reminding us of different social levels of the time.

In the eight episodes of the third season, of which Essie Davis was an associate producer, all the personal relationships are moved up a step, with marriage looming for Hugh and Dot. Brand new to the series is the arrival of Phryne’s less-than-beloved father, Baron Henry Fisher (Pip Miller), who indifferently draws her into three bizarre situations he stuffs full of lies. And there is a poker game to remember.

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Nathan Page as Jack Robinson in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Phryne’s lovable butler, named Mr. Butler (Richard Bligh), is featured off and on and is mainly there for some humorous lines, and appears in some brief bonus features describing the different kind of alcoholic beverages he has learned to prepare for Miss Fisher.

There is a 35-minute behind-the-scenes feature bonus highlighting interviews with director Tony Tilse, set designer Robert Perkins, director of photography Roger Lanser and costumer Marion Boyce. and a few minutes of “character clips” in which the actors touch on their characters, all purely tongue-in-cheek. At the very end is a photo gallery.

All very well worth one’s viewing time. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is under consideration for a fourth season. And there’s talk about doing a feature film version.

So stand by. And please, don’t take your eyes off Essie Davis for one second. And above all else, don’t tell my wife!

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