Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood: book club discussion questions
I listened to Cocaine blues in audiobook as a preparation for the new ABC TV series. I was going to review it, but several of the people on the Australian Women Writers Challenge already have. So, instead, book club discussion questions:
How old do you think Phryne is? Does it much matter, or is it significant? Is she a flapper?
Phryne draws her gun and puts the barrel on the back of the neck of a character,who is later one of her stalwarts, as a method of haggling taxi fare. How can that scene be constructed so that it seems like a perfectly normal thing, from Bert’s perspective?
How often does she mention her gun? What’s the gun mean to her, as a symbol, and to you, as a reader? How many other people have guns? Why?
Phryne’s other possessions are described in some detail. Do we learn about her character and opinions through these descriptions, or are they mostly colour?
Can you list the many things Phryne is excellent at? Does that strike you as realistic for a wealthy person with a lot of free time? Aspirational? Suitable in a heroine in this sort of book? Divorcing her from needing other characters? Overdone?
Does Phryne develop as a character during the novel? How?
Does Phryne have any weaknesses to counterbalance her many strengths? What are they? What function do they serve, from the author’s perspective.
When are the supporting characters essential in this novel? Are they essential for the things they do, or the things they know?
Phryne’s sexuality is omnipresent in this novel. How does Phryne use sensuality or eroticism as weapons? Where else does sex turn up in the book as a weapon, and how do these uses compare?
Is Phryne a reliable narrator for the recitation of her adventures?