The Castlemaine Murders
Narrated by Stephanie Daniel
This is the 13th entry in the Phryne Fisher mystery series set in 1920s Australia. As always, Stephanie Daniel does a wonderful job with the narration, giving each character a unique, appropriate voice.
The Castlemaine Murders features multiple mysteries including a mummified body found on an expedition to an amusement park, and a mysterious robbery that occurred years earlier among the Chinese immigrants. Ms. Daniel has a different challenge this time around as several characters are described as using different voices when the occasion requires; Ms. Daniel exceeds my expectations. When Phryne uses her “English accent,” she sounds quite different than when she normally speaks.
Phryne’s sister, Beth, is visiting and goes through many changes over the book. Ms. Daniel’s interpretation of Beth’s character follows the story perfectly. In the beginning she gives Beth a proper, snobby, upper-class English accent that is fitting with Beth’s behavior toward Phryne’s unusual household. Eventually Beth gets angry and attacks a man. During the fight, Ms. Daniel gives her a lower-class Australian accent (which must be similar to that of her upbringing). Although Beth doesn’t maintain that lower-class accent (and it wouldn’t have been appropriate for her character), she speaks in a gentler, friendly voice for much of the rest of the book.
All of the books I’ve read in the series have some interesting bits of historical information mixed in with the story. This one includes history of the Chinese immigrating to Australia in both the 1850s and 1920s as well as the 1850s Australian gold rush. There are numerous Chinese immigrant characters and Ms. Daniel gives each a clear Chinese accent. Everyone sounded as I expected based on his or her character and on the action in the book.
I should caution that this is a mystery and not romance. Phryne has had a number of different lovers in the books I’ve read. In this one she’s still involved with Lin Chung, who is now married to someone else, with his wife fully aware of the relationship.
There were some whopping coincidences in one of the mysteries but The Castlemaine Murders still captured, and held, my attention. I’m really enjoying the series in audio and can highly recommend it to fans of historical mysteries.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: B and Book Content: B