By Kerry Greenwood

It’s the Nineteen Twenties in Melbourne and Phryne is requested to enquire the complicated dying of a recognized writer and illustrator of fairy tales. to take action, Phryne takes a task in the women’s journal that hired the sufferer and unearths herself enmeshed in her colleagues’ deceptions.
But whereas Phryne is studying the bits and bobs of journal publishing first hand, her own lifestyles is thrown into chaos. Impatient for her lover Lin Chung’s drawing close go back from a silk-buying excursion to China, she as a substitute gets an strange summons from Lin Chung’s kin via a chain of mysterious attacks and warnings.

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Pity. ’ exclaimed Miss Gallagher. ‘Not before . . ’ She angled a look at Phryne under long eyelashes. Phryne did not react. The pert mouth drooped in disappointment. Miss Gallagher, thought Phryne, is a terrible flirt. ’ she asked. ‘Mr Bell is gardening,’ replied Miss Grigg. ’ said Phryne. ‘Excellent article he did on irises last month. ’ She was lying. It had been clipped, certainly, but only at the special request of Jack Robinson. Miss Gallagher was examining Phryne with frank interest. ’ she fluted.

But no one looks at a woman and says, “She is a woman, she is capable of the same heroism as Lady Godiva or Anne Askew”. Our heroines are separated from us. So instead of trying to make Man accept us as daughters of heroism, we must raise all 43 FAIRIES TEXT PAGES 15/10/03 3:27 PM Page 44 women to the level of heroines. “Not that one woman can do it”—because a woman, like a man, can do anything provided she sacrifices everything, including her life, to that one idea— but that “Every woman can do it”.

Hexagram 51: Kan The I Ching Book of Changes Phryne paused at the top of the stairs. The building had one of those turn of the century lifts which induce a desire for exercise in all but the terminally indifferent or famously brave. The landing was painted in a tasteful shade of ivory with several flower prints: a bottlebrush, a grevillea, a branch of golden wattle. The lack of style was familiar. Miss Lavender was an excellent botanist. No one could fault her meticulous, relentless accuracy. Her meticulous, faultless, uninspired and perfectly dead accuracy.

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