Warning: Contains spoilers!
Phryne is admiring her new outfit in the mirror at Madame Fleuris. Behind her Dot is looking happy in a new suit. A maid comes in bringing Phryne and Dot a glass of champagne each and is followed by Madame Fleuris and her younger sister. Mme Fleuris is happy with Phryne dress but the younger Madamoiselle Fleuris wants to make some adjustments to make the outfit more daring but Mme Flueris disagrees.
Hugh cordons off the scene whilst Madame Fleuris tells Jack that Francis Wild (the dead lady) was a dear friend and a loyal client as well as their main investor. Phryne asks the model, Genevieve to fetch some smelling salts for Madame. Hugh notices a gentleman in the room is having trouble breathing and goes to assist him as Madamoiselle Fleuris comes to his aid. The gentleman (Aubrey) says he should have checked on Mrs Wild but she was only gone for 5 minutes. It turns out that the young gentleman was Mrs Wild's husband.
Phryne and Jack inspect the body. Jack asks if Phryne is a regular patron at Madame Fleuris and Phryne says she could not go anywhere else. Phryne and Jack discover a hair pin embedded in Mrs Wilds neck, the murder weapon so assume that the murder is not premeditated as the pin was Mrs Wilds. They also find a single pearl dropped in the blood. Phryne tells Jack they are highly valuable. They notice there are no other pearls and Jack asks Phryne if there was anyone else in the salon when the body was found. Phryne says anyone entering or leaving would be noticed so Jack surmises the killer must still be in the salon.
Jack is interviewing Madamoiselle Fleuris and she tells him Mrs Wild and her husband were in the lounge and she had sent Genevieve off to change outfits because her camera had jammed. Madame Fleuris comes in and says she invited Mrs Wild to the salon to approve the catalogue. Madamaoiselle says Aubrey questioned whether the designs were to conservative but Madame Fleuris says he would know nothing of design and Mrs Wild was delighted with them. The women argue and Mlle Fleuris asks Mme Fleuris what she and Mrs Wild were arguing about she wonders if it was to do with their dwindling clientele. Mme says they were having a business discuss nothing more.
Back at the salon Phryne and Dot find Aubrey's champagne glass in another part of the salon. Phryne goes to telephone Cec and Burt.
Back at the police station Jack is interviewing Violet. She says she served champagne first to Mr and Mrs Wild and then to Phryne and Dot. She says she had left the iron on to heat and went back to the sewing room to press Mrs Wild's frock. Jack asked if Mr Wild had remained in the lounge the whole time and Violet says yes. Violet says Mr Wild always came to the salon but Mrs Wild did not take notice of his opinions.
Back at the salon Phryne is in the sewing room. Dot notices Violet did not get very far pressing the frock and Phryne sees the iron is stone cold so Dot surmises it had never been heating. Phryne and Dot sneak out of the salon and Dot sees some flowers have been delivered. The note says ' to our prosperous future GM'. Cec and Burt arrive and Phryne hands them the catalogue that she stole. She asks them to find out from the florist who order the flowers and asks them to develop the plates.
Back at the station Dot and Hugh are talking and and Hugh tells her the single pearl is worth a thousand pounds. Hugh wonders if they were the motive for the murder but Dot says they wouldn't need to commit murder to steal the pearls and it wasn't premeditated. Hugh notices that Dot is snappy and asks if anything is the matter. Dot says he didn't like her suit or was too busy looking at Genevieve. Hugh says he was looking at her dress as it was sparkly but Dot isn't convinced. She questions Hugh as to what colour her suit blouse was but Hugh can't say and Dot leaves.
Phryne and Jack are interviewing Mme Fleuris and she tells them Mrs Wild was demanding she dismiss the house model Genevieve. Mme Fleuris says Genevieve has modeled for some of the best fashion houses in France and she is fortunate to have her. Jack asks why Mrs Wild would want her gone and Mme Fleuris says Mrs Wild thought Genevieve had designs on her philandering husband but it is not true. Mme Fleuris says Mrs Wild had pointed out her stake in the salon and had threatened to sack her.
Jack then interviews Genevieve who says she says Mr Wild was a gold digger and untrustworthy but he barely spoke to her and she had a boyfriend in Paris. She says Mrs Wild was generous when she first arrived but recently has been aloof and wouldn't use her in a parade. She says it upset her but she blamed Mr Wild as he had told Violet that he thought Genevieve was too old for modeling.
That evening back at Phryne's house Jack is looking through the salons latest catalogue when a sketch falls out. Phryne tells him it is Lady ....s ball gown. Jack tells her that Aubrey's doctor had send his turn was due to heart palpitations from the shock but Phryne wonders if someone else in the room was making his heart beat a little faster. Jack wonders if an affair is motive enough for murder and Phryne says it would be if his wife divorced him leaving him no money. Jack ask about Mme Fleuris violent streak but Phryne says she is not violent she is just French. She tells him about Violet lying about what she was up to int he sewing room. Jack asks if Mlle Fleuris could be a suspect and Phryne tell him the camera was fine so she is hiding something. Jack asks if the sisters argue and Phryne says all the time as Mme Fleuris believes in classical custom design but Mlle Fleuris wants modern pret a porter which Phryne says is certain death for the haute couturier. Jack says them murdering Mrs Wild does not make financial sense but Phryne says stealing the necklace does.
Dot is in Phryne's room admiring one of Phryne's gowns she hold it up to herself as Phryne enters the room. Dot tells her that her mother used to say ' they'll see you coming' if her sister wore anything to showy. But Phryne says that is a good thing. Dot says she doesn't like attracting too much attention but Phryne asks if it depends whose attention it is. Phryne tells her a woman should dress for her own pleasure. Phryne says as she grew up poor in flannel luxury clothing appeals to her and if that happens to appeal to men that's just a side issue. She tells Dot that tomorrow they are going to the house of Fleuris to order Dot an evening gown.
The next morning Jack is questioning Aubrey. He asks if Aubrey remained in the lounge the whole time. Aubrey says yes where else would he go and Jack tells him that his Champagne glass ended up in the corridor. He says Mme Fleuris said she suspected he was having an affair with one of the staff but Aubrey says that is insulting and preposterous. Jack asks if there's anyone else at the salon that would want to harm his wife but he says no.
Back at the station Hugh tells Jack that the cancelled cheque he found in Mrs Wild's handbag was issued to a real estate agent in Fitzroy and it was for a deposit for an apartment. Jack goes to question the agent. The agent says she was surprised that the cheque was canceled as his wife seemed quite taken with the apartment and they had insisted on a street level apartment. Jack asks her to describe Mrs Wild and he says she was easy on the eye.
Phryne and Dot arrive back at Madame Fleuris salon the next day and find Genevieve on the reception desk. Dot arranges booking an appointment whilst Phryne sneaks past to replace the catalogue. Whilst Genevieve is showing Dot through to see Mme Fleuris Phryne checks the appointment book and riffles through the desk.
Mme Fleuris asks Dot is she is not happy with her suit. Dot says the suit is lovely. Mme Fleuris suggests something full length for evening wear and more glamorous in satin or silk. Dot says she doesn't want anything to extravagant and Mlle Fleuris says it needn't be expensive as they can use art silk. Mlle suggests something more a la mode but Mme Fleuris is not impressed and says a woman must no her style and Dot's style is a suit.
Phryne is snooping around and finds Violet asleep in the sewing room. Phryne asks her if that was why she hadn't ironed the dress the day before as she knew the iron had never been heated. Violet says she had been working long hours as it had been busy. Phryne says that Mlle Fleuris had said business was dwindling but Violet says even one frock can be time consuming as she had been trying to finish the beading on the ball gown. Phryne notices a lot of boxes and ask if Violet has a lot of postal orders to fill.
Phryne and Dot head to the Melba Cruise salon of beauty to talk to the clients that no longer use Madame Fleuris. They talk to Mrs Carlyon who tells them she had not seen a lot of the Wilds recently as she was denied an appointment one to many times at Mme Fleuris. She says she expects it was her attitude to Mlle Fleuris as her ideas seemed like excuses to scrimp. Mrs Carlyon's mother, Mrs Tippit says she thinks Mlle Fleuris was touting for financial support but she is not sure what for. Phryne asks her when she last saw Mme Fleuris and she says not since September which was a bad month for her as she also had a robbery. Melba Cruise tells Phryne she was having a gown made to match some jewellery when the jewellery went missing so she canceled the gown and then the could not fit her in again.
Back at Phryne's home she and Jack are taking to Mlle Fleuris. Jack asks her is she and Aubrey were having an affair and she says no. Phryne tells Mlle Fleuris that they know Aubrey tried to buy an apartment with a woman matching her description. So Mlle Fleuris tells them she and Aubrey were going to set up a pret a porter salon. Jack asks her if she knew Mrs Wild had cancelled the cheque but she says no. Jack asks if both she and Aubrey had remained in the lounge in the run up to the murder and Mlle Fleuris says she was preoccupied with her camera but Phryne shows her the developed slides and tells her there was nothing wrong with the camera. Mlle Fleuris then tells the truth and says when Aubrey told her the apartment had fallen through she was too upset to do anything but she doesn't think Aubrey killed his wife but he did leave the lounge.
Jack bring Aubrey into the station for questioning he admits he was in the sewing room when his wife was murdered. He says Violet can witness this as they were having a dalliance which means he has a alibi. Phryne says this also means he has a motive but Aubrey says he would not kill his wife over a girl like Violet.
Violet is running parcels to the post office on her bike Cec and Burt distract her and steal the big package Phryne had spotted in the sewing room. Back at Phryne's house they attempt to read the package but the writing is smudged where it fell on the ground. Phryne enters the room and Cec and Burt tell her the flowers that were outside the salon were ordered by telegram and give Phryne the address for Gary and Mollie Nex. Phryne says the room doesn't ring a bell. Phryne then opens the parcel and they see it looks like one of the evening dresses from the catalogue. Phryne sees the parcel has GM at the beginning and wonders if it is going to the senders of the flowers. Phryne then asks Mr Butler to call in Mme Fleuris.
Mme Fleuris arrives and they show her the dress. Phryne tells her there are three all the same. Mme Fleuris says they are copies with modernisations in poor taste but the dresses have not been made yet. Mme Fleuris is upset as she says word is out and Lady Archdale cancelled her ball gown and other costumers have left. Phryne asks Mme Fleuris if she knows Mr and Mrs Nex but she says no. After Mme Fleuris leaves Dot asks how the dresses tie in with the murder. Phryne says she is not sure but Violet has obviously been moonlighting so she will do some nocturnal investigation.
Dot is waiting up in the kitchen when Hugh knocks at the back door. Dot opens the door and Hugh tells her that her suit blouse was pink and he does pay attention to her. Dot invites him in and offers him cocoa. Dot asks Hugh which outfit of hers he likes the best and he says the one he first met her in. Dot is confused as this was a maid uniform. Hugh tries to back peddle and Dot says Phryne is right dressing to please a man is besides the point.
Phryne is at Mme Fleuris salon she hears noises and gets worried. She picks the lock into the sewing room but finds no one there but finds a aubergine pearl in a box. She then discovers Violet who has been struck by an iron and is lying bloodied over her bench. Phryne hears a noise and finds someone has locked her in the sewing room so she takes a bolt of fabric and climbs out the window using it as a rope. She is hanging from the bolt when Jack and Hugh arrive.
The all head back to the police station and Phryne tells them about Violets murder. Phryne deduces that Violet and Mrs Wild must have both known their killer and the killer is no amateur. Jack ask how Phryne knows it is the same killer and Phryne says the killer knew where to go to retrieve the pearl except for the one she found in the box.
Phryne and Jack are in the morgue with Violet's body. Jack tells Phryne that the coroners report says the head wound was not lethal and Violet was smothered to death. Phryne suggests it was in a bowl of beads (as that was where she found Violet). Jack asks Phryne is Violet was making the dresses. Phryne sees Violet was being paid generously. Phryne tells Jack she thinks Violet had a partner in crime as the dresses weren't exact copies they had some modernisations.
Phryne and Jack return to the salon to question Mlle Fleuris. Mme Fleuris asks them why they need to question Renee again. Mlle Fleuris admits she was seeking Aubrey's help to established her own salon. Mme Fleuris is upset that her sister would set up in competition with her but Mlle Fleuris says Mme Fleuris won't accept her designs there is only one in the new catalogue. Mlle says that Aubrey understood that she wanted to make affordable fashions. Whilst Mlle Fleuris has gone Phryne notices rosebuds on the floor under the camera. Phryne opens the camera and pearls fall out of the back. Mme Fleuris asks Mlle if she is the killer.
At the police station Phryne shows Mlle Fleuris the parcel with the dresses in. She tells Mlle it got waylaid and delivered to the police and had the same initial GM as the flowers which the florist says indicated Gary and Mollie Nex. Phryne says the parcel was being sent to Rue de la Pays. The home to the new department store Gallerie Mollie Neus. Phryne asks if Violet has threatened to expose her but Mlle says she would never hurt violet.
At home Dot tells Phryne she has laundered the dresses. Phryne wonders if Mrs Wild was killed because she found out about the dresses Violet was making. Phryne notices the dress is really sparkly and says you'd almost think they were real sapphires. Phryne remembers Melba Cruise said she lost a sapphire necklace and Mrs Tippet had got robbed.
At the station Hugh tells Phryne all 6 clients of the salon had been robbed over 6 months. Hugh said there had been a string of similar robberies on the north shore in Sydney in the 6 months prior to that. Phryne heads back to the salon to try on her dress and fur coat with her Columbian emeralds adorning her. She asks Aubrey what he thought and he is non committal as he has his mind on Mrs Wilds affairs. Phryne mentioned she is off to Daylesford for the weekend so the coat can wait for her return.
That night Jack and Phryne stake out her house. After a while the phone rings and then a top window opens in the house. Jack goes after them and Phryne heads them off at the back stairs. Phryne spots the thief in the act and tackles them. A fight ensues. Jack bursts into the room as Phryne has pinned the thief. She unmasks the thief who turns out to be Genevieve. The question her and ask how she persuaded Violet to help. She asks why Genevieve killed Mrs Wild and Genevieve tells her Mrs Wild threatened to expose her but in fact Mrs Wild thought Genevieve was having an affair with her husband.
Jack and Phryne report to Mme Fleuris about Genevieve. Mme Fleuris is distraught and says she will close the salon. Phryne tells her she can't do that she has her clients and her sister. Mme Fleuris says a sister who betrayed her and Mlle says its because Mme Fleuris won't budge about her pret a porter idea. Mme Fleuris says it will ruin them and spell the end of haute couture. Phryne says that as a woman of taste she confesses she buys in department stores and well cut trousers but will always love the glamour of Mme Fleuris. Mme Fleuris says she can't continue as she has lost clients, her head seamstress and her house model. Phryne says they can solve those problems