It is a well documented fact that I am obsessed with Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
I mean, it’s got everything: 1920’s, Australia, flappers, the idle rich, sassy characters, heaps and heaps of sexual tension, spectacular displays of side eye, and murder. So if Justine Larbalestier’s Razorhurst is the direction Miss Fisher’s is heading, I will be very happy.
Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce.
Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.
Let’s jump right in.
What Intrigued Me: I am a classic movie girl with a soft spot for noir. So old timey mobsters? Murder? Sounds like fun.
What Hooked Me: Dymphna Campbell. When the other characters in the book talk about her, they always refer to how beautiful she is. No one considers how smart she is. And Dymphna prefers it that way. Keeps people from suspecting her. The girl has moxy.
Also, when did we stop using the word “moxy”? I like that word. I move to bring back the word “moxy”!
What Made Me Fall In Love: The books that stay with me are the ones that are a bit of a puzzle, that make me work to put the pieces together and see the full scope of a story. Books that make me think, consider not just what’s on the page, but where on the page, and how the story is unfolding.
Story wise, Razorhurst is a tree. You’ve got the main trunk of the story, running fairly linear. But every now and then the plot veers off into a branch, revealing a glimpse of backstory or focusing on one of the minor characters. And these branches make you think: why now? Why bring this character to attention here? Why is this information important at this moment in the story? How will this knowledge affect what happens next?
The story is engaging in the reader, playing games with them. And I can’t help but get swept up in that.