I admit that I have quite low standards for books. Never in a million years could I write a blog like my friend Katrina because my taste is generally atrocious.

I put it all down to Sweet Valley High. And what were those other really trashy teen girl books … (Cover Girl, PS I love You, etc.) … ruined.

I think I must be just super shallow as generally all I want after a day of managing kids is a pleasant story with a happy ending … no psychopaths, rapes, grisly murder details or tragic stories about terminal illnesses or terrible childhoods, and I don’t like too much tension (if it gets too stressful I still turn to the end – you’d think I would have a bit more gumption in my 40s). I do enjoy a biography (maybe because with a biography you already know the story and are just filling in the details – and you know if they live or die). And I enjoy a romance (obviously). And I like history (always my favourite subject at uni). And relatively non-violent mystery (thanks Encyclopedia Brown and The Famous Five … and Agatha).

So, I have been loving Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books. Each one is a history lesson of Melbourne rolled into a lightweight murder mystery with a great heroine who lives her life her own interesting way. They are super!

My friend Michele introduced me to Phryne and lent me a few of the early books. And I have been reading the series on BorrowBox, the Darebin Library e-book borrowing system. What a great idea … You get to borrow books, but DON’T have to return them (in person I mean). After 2 weeks they just ‘disappear’ from your device. Last year I racked up about $60 in library fees in an accidental period of non-returning (a shock even to me) so BorrowBox really is a blessing.

Last week I reserved the very last Phryne Fisher book I had to read, ‘Murder on a Midsummer Night’. I couldn’t borrow it until today. I tell you, with the holidays looming I was hanging out.

Then, I found it – a real paper copy – in the Anglesea op shop (I really do think it could be the best). So I finished the book before my e-loan period began.

But now I feel sort of sad. How will I live without a new Phryne waiting in the wings?

I was feeling quite grown up, and smugly thinking I was setting a great example for the kids by choosing to read at night INSTEAD of watching reality TV.

Luckily the Tour is on … and a new series of ‘The Block’ is about to start …

But if anyone”s got a suggestion for me as to similarly great lightweight reading I’d be interested …



  1. Haven’t heard of these titles before, but will definitely look it up, the covers look lovely. It looks a bit like Maisy Dobbs, do you know her? I also love Agatha, and Dorothy L Sayers or Josephine Tey!


  2. oh my gosh – i LOVE Phryne – the books and the tv series – i have quite a few of the books if you have not read them all – the similarities between you and me are literally quite frightening Leanne!! Otherwise i love a biography and am just reading one about Fay Weldon which i can pass on when i am done… you remember eading Flowers in the Attic and all those books?! These holidays i have also been exposed (pardon the pun), to Captain Underpants! (thanks Luke!)


  3. Oh Leanne, you know I read a fair amount of trash! (If I recall we bonded over a bit of Judith Krantz in that first week of uni…). After years of effort (ebay and op-shops), I have filled in all the gaps in my Sweet Dreams collection and almost completed my SVH collection (#TeamJessica). Not sure what I’m going to do with them all but it’s nice to have the books that filled all my hours from age 12-15.
    Did you see the Phyrne costume exhibition at Ripponlea last year? Was fantastic – lots of stuff from the designer about how she sourced vintage pieces and also bought lots of saris and carpets to make vintage-looking evening dresses and coats!


    1. Sweet Dreams, that’s it … and have you come across Sweet Valley Kids … India went straight from Bily B Brown to this SVH first chapter book series … I was such a proud Mum as she whipped them out on the beach when she was 6 – I found THEM at Anglesea op shop too…xx


      1. Haven’t come across SVKids. Yet.
        At some stage I’ll make you a photo montage of the Sweet Dreams covers – a nice walk down memory lane.


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