The writer of the delightful Phryne Fisher series jumps nine decades into Melbourne’s future, to bring us Corinna Chapman, baker. Corinna lives and bakes in Melbourne, Australia, in one of the truly great buildings of fiction, the Insula, eight stories covered in peacock blue tiles where each apartment is named for a Roman god or goddess and decorated accordingly. Someone is terrorizing the women in the building with poison pen letters, graffiti and vandalism, and someone else is killing junkies on Corinna’s very doorstep. Of course she takes action, however reluctantly, and along the way we meet her friends and neighbors, including Meroe the witch
I believe in absolutely nothing except yeast and the inevitability of politicians, so Meroe and I have agreed not to discuss it. Thus we have stayed friends.
the Lone Gunmen, whose tech shop Corinna describes thusly
The walls were painted black just like every nerd’s bedroom, and were layered with posters for each new video game. I would bet that somewhere right against the paint there would be an ad announcing Pac Man. Someone was lurking behind the counter, trying to stay out of direct sunlight and reading William Gibson.
and her two employees, Kylie and Gossamer
It was no use trying to describe either of them by mundane things like hair or eye colour. These could change overnight. At the moment Gossamer had greenish hair and bright green contacts in…Kylie had had pink hair and her own eyes, which are blue. Or so I believe…The only way I could be sure about their identity was their navels, which were always on display. Kylie had a silver ring with a blue stone in it in hers which is round and flat. Gossamer has a gold ring in hers, and it tends to have a lip on the upper rim…Otherwise they really could be twins.
Not forgetting Daniel, the hunky PI, Jason, the recovering heroin addict slash apprentice, the Mouse Patrol, aka Rodent Patrol Officers Heckle and Jeckle, and her partner, Horatio
…a gentlemanly cat [who] considers it impolite to hurry his food. Besides, he needs to remove every crumb from his whiskers before he steps down to the meet the Mouse Police, a rough but pleasant pair, far removed from him in elegance. Horatio is an aristocrat. I occasionally feel that I am unable to meet his stringent requirements for suitable conduct in a Lady.
The plot takes Corinna in some decidedly new directions, not least of which is a private S&M club, and no matter what she says at the end
Memo to the universe re Corinna Chapman as an investigator: I quit.
we know she lies. Partly because there are three more books in the series, upon which I am soon to embark. The icing on the cake, or in this case, muffins? There are recipes. Yummmmmmm…
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.