Phryne (pronounced Fry-nee) Fisher is the 1920’s lady sleuth of Australian author Kerry Greenwood. Born into poverty and suddenly elevated into society when the death of a titled relative left her father with the title, estate and riches, she has a refreshingly nonchalant attitude to many of society’s virtues and vices. Her family’s wealth allows her a life of comfortable luxury and dabbling in little mysteries that come her way. She lives with her maid Dot, her butler Mr Butler and his wife who cooks for the household and later on *spoilers* her two adopted daughters Jane and Ruth.
The ABC will soon be showing Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries with Essie Davis in the role of Phryne Fisher. Essie Davis is true to the book character in all but one aspect. Phryne Fisher is in her mid twenties in the books. Essie Davis is 41. I don’t have an issue with her age as such, but she just looks a bit to knowing around the eyes for my ideal Miss Fisher. A little too experienced. I am hoping that her acting skills are such that I soon forget this and can’t imagine anyone else as Phryne. I can’t think of any younger Australian actress I would have cast in the role either. FTR this age thing is also an issue I have with other actors, such as Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas and Brad Pitt to name a few.
But that is not my only gripe with this new series. Be warned *here be spoilers for the books*
They have killed off Mrs Butler, introduced new characters in the form of a Dr/confidant and an Aunt in society, vanished Lin – Phryne’s Chinese lover although he may appear later in the series and her second adopted daughter Ruth, killed off Phryne’s sister who in the books is a lesbian suffragette and introduced a (to my mind) completely unnecessary nemesis. I suspect there will also be more URST between Phryne and Jack Robinson in the TV series than in the books.
Not to say that I won’t be completely won over by this series, but I’m starting out skeptical.