Miss Fisher’s Guide To The 1920s

Welcome to one of the most exciting decades in history, with private detective Miss Phryne Fisher as our glittering guide…

Miss Fisher


To make it in 1920s society, you need to look the part. And that means being almost painfully stylish at all times. Miss Fisher carries herself like a catwalk model, complete with an ever-changing array of dresses, blouses, hats and shoes - each so gleamingly colourful, she rivals the razzle-dazzle of a strutting peacock. Meanwhile, there's Dr Mac, a woman who dresses in natty, tailored suits and looks as sharp as any gentleman, while the gents themselves can be seen swanning around in crisp shirts, fitted waistcoats and suave hats. Yes, everyone looks utterly fantastic in Miss Fisher's world.


Well, it's not called the Jazz Age for nothing. Prepare to be immersed in the sexy, sizzling sound of big band jazz, with clarinets, saxophones and trumpets going full throttle. Jazz is the soundtrack to Miss Fisher's life, and she's known to frequent various dark and sultry clubs where crooners take the crowd through classic tunes, and everyone hits the dance floor with a gusto to put 21st Century party-goers to shame. And it's not ALL about jazz either. Tango dancing is also very popular, and - unsurprisingly - Miss Fisher herself proves very adept at this most passionate of courtship rituals.

1920s car as seen in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

1920s car as seen in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.


It's a paradox of the 1920s that, while there's a sense of exhilaration and decadence, most people's views on matters of sexuality, equality and downright fairness are stuck in the Victorian age. Take the time Miss Fisher, in classic Miss Fisher style, brazenly barges into a pathology lab to give her opinion on a corpse. The doctor is utterly scandalized, saying "I have never seen a woman set foot inside this building in my time." People are similarly shocked by notions of marriage between people of different races, homosexuality and servants who speak out of turn.


Miss Fisher's world will appeal to those of us in the digital age who are hopelessly nostalgic for the heyday of print. This is a time when glossy magazines are truly a cultural force, setting the fashion tastes and political opinions of the masses. People are also hooked on the serialized stories published in various magazines, which are a bit like the soap operas of the day. In fact, when one magazine worker is killed, Dot is aghast at the lack of resolution to a story. "Now we'll never know if Hilda and her blue fairies were rescued from Marvin," she laments. Marvin who? "Marvin the Malevolent Monitor Lizard", of course.

Essie Davis as Miss Fisher.

Essie Davis as Miss Fisher.


The other defining thing about the 1920s? Egyptology has become a global sensation, thanks to the uncovering of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter and his intrepid team. Suddenly, the world is thrilled at legends of pharaohs, ancient rituals and superstitions. This is very apparent when Miss Fisher becomes embroiled in a case involving ornate Egyptian antiques and a weird reincarnation cult that goes back thousands of years.


It's not just the music that's hot in the Jazz Age. We're also in an era when men of all social positions were fond of frequenting houses of ill repute. These are far from low-rent, scuzzy brothels. One such example is the Imperial Club, where doctors, judges and politicians convene to puff cigars, drink brandy and watch exotic dancers cavort to the sound of a big band. Funnily enough, it's Miss Fisher's male friends who are most befuddled when they enter this den of vice, while Phryne herself gets stuck in, going undercover as a go-go dancer to investigate grisly goings-on.


Don't be fooled by all the glitz and glamour. The Great War is still very fresh and bloody in people's minds, and there are some flashbacks to the brutal battlefields of the Somme. Miss Fisher herself played a role in the war, and it's clearly affected even this unflappable gal. In fact, the war is partly why she has such a breezy, devil-may-care attitude to life. As she herself says, "I stopped taking anything seriously in 1918."