Ms Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 3 Review (Spoilers)

  • Series Title: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Season: Series 3
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3
  • Network: ABC (Australia)
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Ashleigh Cummings, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony J. Sharpe
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Series 3 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries includes two arc plots: Phryne’s father returns, and, separately, Dot and Hugh prepare for their wedding. Phryne’s father, Baron Harold Gordon Fisher, is a card player, a gambler, and a rake. Even Phryne isn’t sure she can trust him. He arrives in Melbourne, financing a famous magician, but seems to be in serious trouble. Harry and his problems are important to several episodes in the season, including the finale. Hugh meanwhile had proposed to Dot last season. This season the two are determined to get married and set the date. They experience a few issues and problems, but the final episode sees the two married!

The individual stories this season also were better than last season, I felt, although there were good stories in season 2 as well. The reoccurring issues with Phryne’s father, and Dot and Hugh having problems even getting married, though Hugh’s parents disapprove, leads to issues. But the young couple prevails. Phryne and Jack are also more romantic this season, and Phryne is much less likely to chase any convenient man she comes across.

As in previous seasons, the mysteries take place in a variety of settings: a traveling magic show, a championship tennis invitational, a scientific society awards night at a local observatory, The Grand Hotel, a pair of warring Italian restaurants, a women’s health clinic for “hysterical” women, the streets of the poorest section of Melbourne and the hospital van treating the street kids, and an air force base. Phryne, Jack, Dot, and mostly Hugh have their hands full. Hugh is missing from two episodes, he’s sent on a fishing trip. But he returns even more determined to marry Dot. While Hugh is gone, the replacement constable also hits on Dot but she turns him down flat. We even learn Phryne’s one weakness.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is a wonderful show. The women are strong, independent, and capable. Jack is adorable with Phryne – and he has learned to let her have her head on an investigation. Hugh is still a bit more traditional, but he respects Dot and her career choices. The costumes, wardrobe, wigs, and hats are beautiful, especially Phryne’s outfits. The settings are beautiful and filled with excellent historical detail. The format of the mysteries themselves are more in the “British cozy” vein, but that isn’t a slight. This is a fun, light program. Series 3 is like series 1 in that it’s a bit darker, with the season-long arc about Phryne’s father. Dot and Hugh’s upcoming wedding counterbalances the darkness of the other season-long plot, however.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is highly recommended.

Read My Review of Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Read My Review of Series 1 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

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Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 2 Review

  • Series Title: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Season: Series 2
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: ABC (Australia)
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Ashleigh Cummings, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony J. Sharpe
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries does not have a season-long arc like series 1 did, and I missed that. Phryne trying to find out what had happened to her sister, between individual cases and mysteries gave series 1 a darker edge. However, series 2 is still enjoyable. I liked this light, and fun mystery series set in Melbourne Australia in 1929. Phryne Fisher is a modern woman, a “lady detective” and still meddling in the cases of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. Phryne and Jack are still dancing around their mutual attraction. Dot and Hugh are now a couple, and Hugh eventually proposes to Dot. Dot accepts him immediately, but then some of the complications of their relationship come to light – they decide to have a long engagement.

The episodes are completely separate this season, with no connecting arc. Each story puts Phryne, Dot, Jack, and Hugh in a different setting: a gentleman’s club, a football club (Australian rules football or rugby), a high fashion salon, a winery, a seaside carnival, an automobile race, a medical college, even a silent movie and a radio station. The settings are varied, but the plots tend to be very similar: there’s a murder, somehow it involves one of our main characters (including Jack being called in because he’s a police officer), our four characters work to solve the case, rushing to the scene if they aren’t there already, revelations are made, and the murderer is revealed and caught. In that respect, this series is more like the “English cozy” style of mystery story than anything more hard-boiled. But, again, that isn’t a slight. Series 2 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is light-hearted and enjoyable to watch – and there’s always Phryne’s wonderful dresses and hats to look at! Phryne herself is modern, intelligent and capable. Dot (Dorothy Williams) has come out of her shell.

The finale of the season is an honest-to-goodness Manor House Mystery, set at a mountain chalet during “Christmas in July”. Phryne, Dot, Mac, and Aunt Prudence arrive because the chalet is near Prudence’s gold mine, which she plans on selling, so she needs to sign some papers to dump it. The mine has been closed for years, so it appears to be worthless. When our characters arrive they find someone at the house died in a “horrible accident” – falling and getting electrocuted when decorating the Christmas tree. However, it wasn’t an accident. When there’s a second murder that night, everyone decides to call the police – but the power goes out and the phone line is cut. The next day, Jack and Hugh arrive, stating they barely got through and the road was closed behind them. They are cut off. There are several more murders and attempted murders, all to the theme of “The 12 Days of Christmas”. However, there is something more sinister going on, related to the mine collapse years ago that killed all the miners and caused the mine to be closed. It’s a brilliant finale!

I still highly recommend Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, and I’m glad I can jump right into Series 3.

Read my Review of Series 1 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 1 Review

  • Series Title: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
  • Season: Series 1
  • Episodes: 13
  • Discs: 4
  • Network: ABC (Australia)
  • Cast: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Ashleigh Cummings, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Richard Bligh, Travis McMahon, Anthony J. Sharpe
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

The Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher is a vibrant, intelligent, modern woman, who enjoys fine clothes, fast cars, a comfortable lifestyle, and solving crimes. This series is set in the late 1920s in Melbourne, Australia. Phryne also has a habit of collecting and rescuing strays. The first few episodes of this series feel very much like your typical British cozy (despite being set in Melbourne, Australia) from the 1920s with mysteries set in a manor house, on a train, and in an underground jazz club. But as the series develops it gains depth – and darkness.

Phryne has experienced a lot in her life. She’s been a nurse in the first World War. But the defining moment of her life was when her younger sister was kidnapped and never found. Young Janey’s kidnapping goes from a few mentions as background, to subtly becoming the theme of the season. The penultimate episode features a mysterious death at Phryne’s Aunt Prudence’s house, during which the past is stirred up – and it leads directly in to the final episode in this set.

The final episode has Phryne and Jack investigating the most important case in Phryne’s career: discovering what happened to her sister. It’s a edge-of-your-seat episode, that I’m not going to spoil. But it takes something initially introduced almost as a simple “tragic background” and makes it pay off. This gives the season the satisfactory conclusion of a good novel. There are two more seasons of this series and I very much must see them.

The other theme of this particular season is that of rescuing strays. She meets Dot (Dorothy) Williams who is working as a maid in less than ideal circumstances and brings her in to her own household, as a lady’s maid, her companion, and tutors her in solving crimes. Watching Dot grow and become more independent and confident is one of the joys of the series. Phryne also meets two taxi drivers who share driving duties on their cab – both are unionists and one who is nearly a communist. She employs them to help with the heavy lifting so to speak. When she opens her new house, she hires a butler – named, appropriately enough, Mr. Butler. He reminds me very much of Alfred Pennyworth in Batman – as he cares for Phryne and her self-made family as well as running the household. Finally, Phryne adopts a young ward, Jane, who had been under the control of a Fagin.

Phryne and DI Jack Robinson have a flirting attraction, but it’s not pushed as they have only just met in this season.

Finally the clothes, hats, cars, jewelry, and settings are just fabulous! The filming is also terrific – at times moody, always colorful, and fitting of the 1920s setting. Overall, the series is excellent and I recommend it. I will no doubt purchase the next two seasons soon.