Ms Fisher vs Miss Fisher

Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries is the sassy new spin-off series of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Sure, the titles may sound similar, but things couldn’t be more different for these two sleuths – here’s how their worlds compare.

Ms and Miss Fisher

THE ERAS

Miss Fisher: With her architecturally impeccable bob making her a dead ringer for silent movie icon Louise Brooks, Miss Phryne Fisher is the elegant embodiment of her age: the roaring '20s. Yes, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries couldn't be more Jazz Age if you put a martini glass in its hand and called it Jay Gatsby. Everyone looks dapper and fabulous, most of all Miss Fisher herself, with her penchant for silk kimonos and dazzling waistcoats (even her weapon of choice is a rather stylish gold pistol). Miss Fisher's world is exotic, flamboyant and dazzling, and the 1920s were frankly a lot cooler than any other decade of the 20th Century. Except for maybe one...

Ms Fisher: Welcome to the 1960s. OK, so maybe the dance moves aren't quite as spectacular as the Charleston, but this was a decade right up there with the '20s when it came to high fashion, decadent parties, and all-out cool. And this is the world of our new Fisher - Ms Peregrine Fisher, whose mother was the "abandoned love child" of Phryne Fisher's father. In other words, her mum was Phryne Fisher's half-sister, making Ms Fisher the niece of Miss Fisher. Following this? Good, because you'll need to keep up with Ms Fisher as she unravels complex cases in 60s Melbourne, with the help of the Adventuresses' Club. Of which more in a moment.

THE FISHERS

Miss Fisher: When it comes to describing Miss Phryne Fisher, the temptation for any onlooker is to simply swoon, call her amazing and be done with it. Having a mind as sharp as a diamond-tipped stiletto heel is only one of the traits that sets her apart from mere mortals - she's also an expert pilot, a daredevil driver of very fast cars, an irresistible flirt and man-magnetiser, and an expert catcher of deadly spiders (once trapping one under her diaphragm). Having come up from a rocky childhood to scale the dizzy heights of society, she's a self-made socialite and seducer who's about as fazed by the rigid gender norms of her time as she is by potentially lethal creepy-crawlies. How on earth can Peregrine Fisher measure up?

Ms Fisher: The new Ms Fisher never actually met her aunt, which is probably just as well, because... talk about having the most impossibly incredible precedent to live up to. Indeed, Ms Fisher never even knew she HAD a wealthy, globe-trotting, butt-kicking aunt until she's notified of Phryne Fisher's disappearance and apparent death, and the fact she's in line for an inheritance that will change her life - and set her on the course to become a private detective herself. But there's a steep learning curve ahead of her, because Peregrine is certainly a far cry from the self-assured, breezy, nigh-on superpowered Phryne. Younger, bouncier, but more vulnerable and down-to-earth, Peregrine has to learn to channel her latent Fisher awesomeness pretty sharp-ish if she's to take down the bad guys of the 1960s.

THE MENFOLK

Miss Fisher: One of the most delightful aspects of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is the "will they, won't they" frisson between Phryne Fisher and her often grudging partner-in-crime-solving, Jack Robinson. Being an actual police detective who has a job to do, he's often exasperated by the way Miss Fisher breezes in to crack the cases, but their chemistry - as effervescent as a coupe of Champagne - more than makes up for it. And Phryne has always looked beyond the stern, business-like façade to see the real Jack Robinson, who - as she once said right to his face - "claims to have no passions in spite of a heart that runs as deep as the Pacific Ocean". Nope, no simmering sexual tension there AT ALL.

Ms Fisher: Peregrine Fisher is very much carrying on the family tradition of pairing up with handsome, clearly besotted but frustratingly unavailable detectives. Enter, James Steed, her era's answer to Jack Robinson - by which we mean he's just as natty a dresser (check out those streamlined 60s suits) but more emotionally open and easy going. There is one snag with Steed, though: he comes with an unwelcome add-on, namely his boss Percy Sparrow. Who, despite being a fellow cop, is an unpleasant and possibly crooked presence who may yet become Ms Fisher's nemesis.

THE CASES

Miss Fisher: As you might expect from a gal who gets embroiled in all parts of society, and likes to jet-set around the globe, Miss Fisher's cases are an eclectic array of enigmas. There's the time she investigates a murder takes her into the world of Zionist politics for example. Or the time she went undercover at a circus (see, there are just some things you just can't imagine Sherlock Holmes or Poirot doing). Her cases also encompass some of the fads and passions of the 1920s, such as the mania for all things Ancient Egyptian, and the rise of celebrity psychics and clairvoyants. And everything's served up with ever-present cocktails. Well, it is the Jazz Age, darling.

Ms Fisher: Peregrine's cases are as much a product of her era as Miss Fisher's are of hers. So, brace yourself for the murder of a 60s pop star, and an eerie case that takes Ms Fisher to a secret military base amid whispers of alien abductions. There is one major difference with this Fisher, though: she's got a proper crime-solving team working alongside her. Take a bow, the Adventuresses' Club, a group of fierce women who gleefully defy the sexism of the 60s. One, Birdie Birnside, is a former spy who fought in World War Two, while another - Violetta Fellini - is a brilliant scientist. Peregrine has to prove her worth to join their gang, while they back her up with their sensational skills. But the burning question is... is Phryne Fisher herself still out there somewhere?