Who is Phryne Fisher?

The Hon Phryne Fisher is a character created by  Kerry Greenwood in a series of murder mystery books set in the 1920's in Melbourne, Australia.  Phryne (pronounced fry-nee) is named after the Greek courtesan whose beauty inspired the painter Apelles to create his famous picture of Aphrodite Anadyomene and as so rich that she offered to fund the rebuilding of the walls of Thebes, which had been destroyed by Alexander the Great in 336 BC, on the condition that the words "Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne the courtesan" be inscribed upon them. Her last name Fisher is implication that she is a 'fisher of men' as all detectives are. Her name also reflects the Grail Cycle Le Roi Pecheur, the Sinner or Fisher King.

Phryne was meant to be Christened Psyche but there was a little confusion at her baptism as her father was nit feeling himself due to a long night at the club the night before and so she ended up as Phryne.  

Phryne is no ordinary aristocrat, as she can fly a plane, drives her own car (a Hispano-Suiza) and sometimes wears trousers, while maintaining style and class.

Phryne was born in about 1900 in Richmond, Melbourne to a poor family however during World War I several young men between the 'title' and her father died her parents were soon elevated to the titles of Lord and Lady of an English Manor House. This made Phryne an Hon with an enormous fortune. After finishing school Phryne ran away to France where she joined the french women's ambulance unit in WWI receiving a reward for bravery and a French war pension. After the war Phryne worked as an artist model in Montparnasse (this story is explored in the book Murder in Montparnasse). After several years here and there, Phryne moved from England to Melbourne to investigate for a family friend (This story is explored in Cocaine Blues). Phyrne enjoys Melbourne so much that she decides to stay on permanently buying a house at 221B The Esplanade, St Kilda (the B she added as a nod to Sherlock Holmes' address) where she sets up as a lady detective.

Through the course of the books, Phryne collects a personal maid, Dot; 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. So far Phryne's life is going swimmingly.

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