Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Wiki

Miss Phryne Fisher is the lead character in the Australian series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. She is the main character in the novel Phryne Fisher by Kerry Greenwood. Actress Essie Davis plays Miss Fisher on the television series.


Described as an independent, glamorous and unflappable lady detective, Phryne Fisher is the leading character of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Set in the 1920s 'between-the-wars' Melbourne, Australia, Phryne breaks all conventional rules. She is as bold, aggressive or charming and sneaky as the situation requires. Carrying a pearl-handled pistol, she shimmies up drainpipes or poses as someone else to get the clues she needs - it's simply part of the job to Phryne. Phryne has a fear of spiders, although she would insist that she isn't afraid of them, she just likes knowing where they are.

Phryne is a wealthy aristocrat who lives in St. Kilda, Melbourne, in 1928. She is a 28-year-old (born December 21, 1900) detective who, with the assistance of her maid Dot (also described as her "assistant" or "companion"), and Bert and Cec (who are wharfies, taxi-drivers and red raggers), solves all manner of crimes. Phryne is no ordinary aristocrat, as she can fly a plane, drives her own car (a Hispano-Suiza) and sometimes wears trousers. (She drew the line at cooking though, which was all done by her butler.[1]) However, while displaying bohemian panache, she manages also to maintain style and class. Her personality seems to match exactly that of her 4th century BC namesake, Phryne, a Greek courtesan. She speaks Russian, Chinese, French, Italian, and Polish, but not Latin. Though she speaks Russian, she finds it difficult to read. Her private library contained quite a few books written in Chinese.[2]


Phryne is a smart, confident, fun-loving and vivacious woman who loves life and seeks to experience all it has to offer. She is a modern woman who refuses to adhere to society's expectations of women and unapologetically marches to the beat of her own drum while demanding equality and independence for herself and for others. Phryne is an extremely sexual individual who prefers short-lived one time flings for pleasure and abhors the idea of being tied down. She is especially dismissive of the concept of marriage seeing it as antiquated, most likely because of the rigid, unfair expectations of women during the time the show is set.

While forward in her romantic pursuits, she is also shown to be respectful of others' wishes and situations. She willingly backs off those who do not express interest and recognizes when it would cause trouble in situations. For example, she is quick to stop her flirtatious banter with Jack when his ex-wife re-enters the picture, knowing that it could cause trouble for him.

Phryne holds contempt for institutions and people that judge others and try to control people, such as churches and even the law.

Despite her firm beliefs she is shown to be compassionate, respectful and accepting of others and their lifestyles. While her maid and friend Dot is a conservative and dutiful Catholic who dreams of getting married and having many children, she never belittles her beliefs, dreams or tries to change her, only encouraging her to expand her world.

She is also shown to be a firm believer in love, specifically that everyone should be allowed to love whoever and however they want. She expresses anger during a case where two homosexual men could face jail time "simply for loving someone". She also at one point states to an inter-racial married couple that while she is not marrying type "everyone should be allowed to marry whoever they choose".

Despite her new-found wealth and prestigious title, she still remains down-to-earth and is quick to share her wealth with those in need, especially her friends and charitable organizations.

Phryne commissioned a home design from Pauline and Kenneth Moore. She encouraged Pauline to become an architect.[3] She later left this house to her half-sister Annabelle.[4]

Phryne's history

Phryne Fisher was born to Margaret and Henry Fisher and spent her childhood in Richmond, Melbourne. She had two full sisters—one named Janie who was kidnapped and murdered when Phryne was a child and one named Eliza—and one half-sister named Annabelle, though she didn't learn about the latter's existence until later in life. The Fishers weren't always rich; they were a poor family until World War I, when several young men between the 'title' and her father died, thus making her father a baron and Phryne an Honourable with an enormous fortune. In 1916, Phryne was still living with her parents at Norfolk House in London.[5] After finishing school, Phryne ran away to France where she joined a French women's ambulance unit during WWI, receiving a reward for bravery and a French war pension. At the end of the war she was in London, where she flew a couple of missions that were "not officially" intelligence missions.[6] She then worked as a painting model for the artist Pierre S. in Montparnasse after the war. She became very close friends with Pierre and his wife Veronique.

After several years here and there, Phryne moved from England to Melbourne temporarily to investigate for a family friend. She enjoyed the lifestyle so much she stayed on permanently. Through the course of the books, Phryne collects a personal maid, Dorothy Williams (who everyone refers to as Dot or Dottie); two adoptive daughters, Ruth and Jane (whom she rescued from slavery); a cat, Ember; a dog, Molly; and two loyal servants, the Butlers. She also has relationships with a string of lovers, most notably Lin Chung, a wealthy Chinese man (whom she rescues in the city one evening). Lin is the only lover with whom she maintains a relationship for more than a few books and even goes so far as to make a deal with his grandmother that when he is married she be allowed to continue a relationship with him.

In the 1960s Phryne went missing in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea.[7] Her golden pistol was found and mailed to the Adventuresses' Club of the Antipodes. She was presumed dead. She left a home and a car to her half-sister. (It is unknown what, if anything, she left to her ward Jane.)


Phryne: No, I don't do children. Especially not uncooperative ones.[8]

Phryne: My apologies, Mrs Lin! Please join us!
Mrs Lin: You are Fox Spirit. Fox Spirits take man's property and waste it.
Phryne: I assure you I have no interest in anyone else's property.
Mrs Lin: Lin Chung is promised to be married to a good family in Shanghai. Leave him alone or you will be cursed until your dying day.
Mrs Lin leaves
Phryne: Fox Spirit. I quite like the sound of that.[9]

Deputy Police Commissioner Sanderson: That is evidence, and you are not police. And may I suggest that you make yourself scarce, Miss Fisher?
The deputy commissioner leaves.
Phryne: A suggestion's not the same as an order, is it?
Jack: Not in my book.[10]

Raymond Hirsch (Phryne's childhood friend): Your sort of fun always led to trouble!
Phryne: Still does![11]

Peregrine: So how well did you know my aunt?
James: Well enough to get me into trouble with my boss. You two could have that in common.
Peregrine: You helped her, didn't you?[12]