A Question of Death - The Body in the Library Synopsis

Phryne and Jack are in the library of Robert Sanderson MP inspection a dead body of a young woman. The notice the girl is not wearing shoes but her feet are clean so wonder how she got there and where her shoes have got to. Phryne asks for the doctors report and Jack tells her the cause of death is indeterminate and there has been recent sexual activity.

Jack tells Phryne that Robert Sanderson was trying to pass a bill to legalise prostitution as he feel prostitutes are exploited by there pimps so he had made a lot of enemies. The worst one being Reverend Joshua Blackroot who called Robert Sanderson a whoremonger.

Phryne notices that the young woman's clothes do not match as some items are expensive and others cheap. They notice a card stuck to the young girls back that says for a good time call Alice. Phryne notices the girls hair is girtty so Phryne combs it onto a magazine and discovers coal dust in her hair. Phryne surmises that the chimney sweep must have brought the girl in his sack.

Jack goes to arrest the sweep and Phryne starts to read the magazine. She notices an article about Reverend Blackroot she reads it and notices a picture of the murdered girl who turns out to be Jane Trellis-Smythe a woman active in church work who helps the Reverend in his home for fallen women. Phryne surmises that she could be the Reverend lover doing church work while her husband is away. She wonders if the Reverends home for fallen women is a front for an illegal brothel and says perhaps Mrs Trellis-Smythe wondered what it would be like to be a fallen women so dressed up and perhaps was smothered when she threatened to uncover the brothel and then was dumped at Robert Sandersons house to cause a scandal and stop him putting through his bill that would put the Reverend's brothel out of business.

Phryne shows a card that she found on the hall stand to Jack it says chimneys swept and the second card stuck to the girls back says the Reverend Blackroot's home for fallen women for a good time call Alice.  

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