Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! To start us off we have:
So I watched this during the COVID-19 #shelterinplace with my friend for her birthday. As we couldn’t be together, we decided to each watch at the same time and then text each other our thoughts. It is hard enough trying to make plans and now we have more time, but can’t get together.
Now I’m not a big Miss Fisher fan. I have watched the show but I don’t really like the content. The mysteries are okay-usually there isn’t a whole lot of detecting and the answer just comes at the end. I’m not a fan of the book series either as I read a couple before I watched the series and just couldn’t get into it.
What I do like about the series is the characters-that’s the only reason I kept watching them: Mr. Butler Dorothy “Dot” Williams, Constable Hugh Collins, Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson, Cec, Burt, etc.- and I like how they interact with each other and Miss Fisher.
So quick recap for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) grew up poor but after WWI inherited a distant relatives fortune and now has boundless dollars. She does whatever she wants in 1920s Australia, often being asked to look into mysteries or crimes that have happened. She has a best friend/companion/lady’s maid in Dot, fosters a young girl Jane, hires two taxi drivers to assist in her investigations (Cec and Burt), and is constantly helping out/being a thorn in the side of Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson and his Constable Hugh.
This film takes place after the final season, when we last saw the crew Phryne saved her father, Dot and Hugh married, and Phryne asks Jack to pursue her twice. So now that the recap is over-let’s move onto the mystery.
So we start off the film with the opening lines of “agitators” and I totally thought it said alligators. My friend did too, not a good font choice.
So we start off with a figure-Miss Fisher-running through the streets of a Middle Eastern city. Oh no, her hijab caught on a stick, I hate when that happens, you know your clothes get caught on things.
The hijab is pulled off and we get to look at Miss Fisher’s dress- it sure is something, look at all those sequins. Miss Fisher always has fantastic clothes.
So while Miss Fisher is running through the streets, all I can wonder is, where is Dot?
Or why is Miss Fisher there?
And where is Detective Jack (Nathan Page)?
So Miss Fisher is searching for someone/something. Ew, she was scaling the wall and then put her gloved hand in hr mouth-gross. That wall is probably super dirty as I’m sure it has never been cleaned.
So she is looking for a Shirin. Why is she looking for Shirin? How does she know her?
Police follow Miss Fisher in a car while she and Shirin are on a motorbike. Good thing cars didn’t go fast back then or else they would be easily caught. They ditch the bike and get on top of a train with Miss Fisher in her heels being able to manage that.
I hate when movies and book do that. The train is going through a tunnel and she isn’t going to make it! Fade to black. We then switch to Australia
Oh, no! Is that Dot crying? Aw, she’s pregnant, she and Hugo are having a baby!
This timeline feels off, but that happens when they make movies. So it turns out that Miss Fisher is presumed dead again, and they are holding a funeral in London. Hugh and Dot can’t go because she is so far along, but Jack journeys to it.
The funeral starts, and Aunt Prudence doesn’t sit on a regular chair but has to have an armchair. She has to have the best of the best.
So the funeral is interrupted by a plane overhead, and it is so obvious that it is Miss Fisher. So now that we know she is crashing her funeral, who are all these other people?
I mean right away I know that one guy is Rupert Penry-Jones, you know Captain Wentworth, but who is he in the film?
I looked him up and his character is Jonathan Lofthouse, but who is he to Phryne, they never say in the film-although the flirt a lot so we know he isn’t a close relation.
Oh no, poor Jack. He won’t be happy, I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack with how many times Phryne has “died”. Oh..his face might get stuck in that expression.
Phryne: Why are you so angry?
Really? Really? And you just kissing everyone like it’s no big deal. Ohmygosh! I wanted to slap some sense into her. Don’t you know how that would make Jack feel? And then she is all tell me what you wrote in your eulogy and he’s all it says I’m done with you. And she is offended? Really?
You know why he is angry and you are being so caviler with his feelings. He believed you dead! Phryne ca be fun, but in this she is kind of a jerk-especially the way she flirts in front of him with all these other guys in front of him. Like this guy wanted to marry you, he LOVES you and you don’t care one iota for his feelings.
And who are these people? Especially the guy she keeps kissing-Jonathan? Like why does she know them why are they at the funeral?
Jonathan and his older brother are fencing while taking about the war and those two have serious issues. They also are talking a bit about what happened in WWI, but there is a whole angry subtext going on underneath.
So the Sheikh is Shirin’s uncle and he and Eleanor, the wife of Jonathan’s brother seem too close.
So Sheikh Kahlil Abbas, Jonathan, and his brother-I guess I should look his name up…let’s see Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse. Seriously? Who came up with that name? Anyways…They have some business plan that they are doing-something that needs to go through or else the Lofthouses will lose everything as Lofty sucks at keeping the finances together.
I’m pretty over it and are focusing on more important things. When is Jack coming back? If he has just a cameo I am going to be very disappointed.
Hmm…is this sheik a good or bad guy? They seem to be setting him up to have a secret of some kind but is it a red herring or foreshadowing?
I really miss Mr. Butler the Butler. He was awesome. This butler is super creepy and weird. He slinks around and freaks me out.
Shirin Abbas gets a note from someone saying he is a friend of Shirin and has information regarding the death of her family. When she was little her whole tribe was killed in a sandstorm. She remembers someone slaughtering everyone and sparing her-but the English government has gone with the sandstorm story and jailed her for stirring things up (that’s why Phryne had to save her). Phryne doesn’t want her to go, but decides to take her place.
Phryne goes to see Jack to assist her who is staying at a pretty crappy hotel, I mean the door is pretty see-through. Jeez Phryne, you could have offered him a room at the mansion you are staying at Phryne.
Jack is also made because Phryne got married! WHAT????
So she didn’t want to marry Jack as she “wasn’t ready” but then went and married some other guy?
They go to the meeting place, a church, which is pretty deserted. If this was me I’d want my back to the wall as it is the perfect point to assassinate someone.
Phryne finds the friend who looks crazy and possibly drugged. He speaks of demons.
So with the WWI talk, the Sheikh, the English government controlling the country, and most likely the massacre of the tribe- here are my theories:
A) Maybe this guy was one of the English troops (best guess from all that was said earlier and how they mentioned the sheik is now indebted to the government) sent to kill the tribe but spared her a she was a toddler.
B) Maybe the sheikh isn’t really the sheikh but they murdered the tribe to hide the fact that they were placing someone else in who would allow them to takeover the country. The solider spared the girl because she was so young and she had never met her uncle before so she wouldn’t be able to tell if he is or isn’t the real sheikh.
He gets shot, TOLD YOU! Perfect place for an assassination, but passes on an emerald amulet . They call the police who are incredibly rude to Jack, and he holds their passport and Jack is upset that he can’t return to Australia. Phryne is mad at him, but geez-Jack has a real job and is not rich like you. Remember he took off time for your funeral.
Like you grew up poor, you think you would remember parts of what it was like.
They go to meet Phryne’s friend who is involved with art and antiquities, she had run into him on her earlier escapades, and he goes upstairs to look for something He takes a really long time and they hear a noise. Phryne follows as she is all Danger? Where? Let me at it! She doesn’t even want Jack to go with her.
So that guy is safe, but another one comes in and then a fire, wow it went 0-6 real fast.
Phryne runs after the thief but doesn’t shoot at him and he disappears in the fog. Well you should’ve hit him in the leg or something.
Jack saves the amulet and Phryne and him get really close when the firefighters come. They are like oh yeah, there is a fire.
They show the necklace to Shirin who remembers it. She has a flashback to her mom holding it. I think it might be a key as the way it is shaped, it could fit into something. My friend also pointed out it is a triangle-just like her tattoo.
Supposedly, there is a tomb and they were supposed to protect it I’m guessing. Th necklace MUST be a key. They also find a compass. Hmm, maybe it is supposed to be like in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and they need it to find the crypt of tears.
The Lofthouses and the Sheikh were involved in what looks like a shady business deal. Hmm…thought so.
Phryne wears a sweater with a big “PF” on it. Wow, I have no words.
So the Sheikh wants Shirin to forget all about the past and focus on London and the ball they are throwing her. I can’t hep but think that it is a huge deal to accept her so she should be happier, but when she leaves the Sheik, he seems to be thinking about it. Is he planning something bad or helpful?
Shirin tells Phryne about the past and says it was three men who destroyed the village-I would have thought they would need more to destroy a whole village.
I think the Sheikh is somehow involved and that the men forced the mother to open to the tomb.
That night at the party Jack looks good in his fancy duds.
That evening the Sheikh fights with the Lofthouses, not wanting to agree to the deal anymore. Maybe he isn’t involved. Hmm….
Everyone is shouting secrets at this party, like shouting. The extra in a yellow dress and gold jacket was like oops, heard all of that. Mr. Lofthouse and the Sheikh are causing a scene as well.
All I can think is, why did Phryne marry that other guy. They better tell us, and soon.
This is like the worst party ever, at least no one died…but just wait…Oh no a gunshot! There it is.
The cop on the scene is pretty sharp putting things together. When it comes to alibis Jonathan tries to protect his brother (or him), by saying they were together, but the butler says no he and Jonathan were together. Wow really threw the older brother under the bus. Hmm…we know that Jonathon wasn’t with his brother, so why would he lie?
Maybe the butler doesn’t like the Lord of the manner, but then again who does?
So the Sheikh is the one who is dead and Phryne sets off to investigate his room. She looks in a vase and finds a ginourmous emerald. Why would you have an emerald that big and hide it out in a tomb in the desert. Why wouldn’t you take that to your palace?
So Alexander the Great curses the emerald that whoever takes it death will follow. How come he had those powers? Where did they come from? I wish I had powers like that. I’d be cursing all kinds of objects.
Phryne decides to leave for the Middle East and the tomb and Jack wants to go with her but sorry only two fit in the plane and she’s taking Shirin. Ouch.
Jonathan going to come too and fly Jack, but how can they do that when Scotland Yard had their passports?
So they end up in the Middle East and the guide they hire is really shady. He has a big rifle and is all that’s for hunting. What do you hunt in the middle of a sandy desert?
Obviously he is lying, but why? Who put him up to it? Who is behind this all. The Sheik died so that leaves us with Lofty, Jonathan, Lady Eleanor, and the butler. There is no others they introduced unless Shirin is secretly a child mass murderer. They wouldn’t…would they? Nah!
I think Jonathan might be the one in on it, why else would he leave his brother behind if he wants to “help” him so bad. That seems weird.
Phryne of course looks glamourous in the hot desert and is all made up. She seduces the guide so they can overpower him and get the truth. Someone paid him to delay him. Who? Who? The guide doesn’t know.
She and Jack fight and he brings up her husband, at least we will get the truth about her husband, the Maharajah…but no Jack storms off and Phryne follows him falling into quicksand? Okay…whatever.
It turns out that the Maharajah is gay and there were rumors and he was going to be killed so to stop them Phryne married him but doesn’t live with him. Like how does that make sense at all? He could’ve married anyone and how does the wife not living with him keep people from thinking he was gay?
I mean he’s royal! He could command anyone to marry him. And most royal marriages married for an alliance and to produce heirs or for wealth, not love. It makes more sense for him to marry a royal woman to have a child and then continue with his life and what he is doing. This is the stupidest thing ever. What royal parents or people would want their maharajah to marry some Australian woman who doesn’t even live in the country. This is incredibly dumb and just a plot device to keep Phryne and Jack apart.
So the tattoo does help lead the way and they find the tomb. So Jonathan is being really strange, and I am hardcore believing it is Jonathan right now.
They get i the tomb and find Alexander’s desert bride, the first time we heard that one.
Watch out she might come alive like in The Mummy.
They find a knife with initials on it and I know it will be JL, for Jonathan Lofthouse as he is weird.
So he wanted to return the emerald as his troop came and slaughtered the tribe for it. He felt guilty and after the Sheikh died hid it in the room as he knew Phryne would find it and return it. Okay I feel like you could have handled this a lot better in a completely different way. It seems really convoluted.
But he says he did’t kill the sheikh? If Jonathan didn’t do it, then who did?
It turns out the butler is there in the tomb and he did it. Yes the butler did it.
Yes the butler did, but why? It doesn’t make sense? And how could he afford to get there or know where to even find this secret tomb. This whole thing makes no sense.
But Phryne knows, it is because he is secretly Jonathan’s father?
How did she know? Where were the clues? I mean he liked Jonathan better than his older brother, but just because Mr. Carson liked Mary better than the other girls I never suspected that he was secretly her father.
How did the butler not only get the money and knowledge to travel to the middle of nowhere, but how did he beat them?
The butler is going to kill them, but Jonathan saves them as the tomb collapses-all make it out but those two. Phyrne and Jack are now alone in the desert, what happened to Shirin? And they end up sleeping together which I don’t like as Phryne was a GIANT jerk to him in this and Jack was so moral and wanted to marry Phryne not just be another guy she sleeps with.
As they are traveling a man comes from nowhere with a message that Phryne’s husband is dead and they need her to solve the crime. How, what, why?
So this film didn’t work for me. First of all Miss Fisher works because of the contrast between her and all the other characters-so removing her from them didn’t work at all.
Second, Detective Jack Robinson didn’t really work in this scenario either. In Australia, he is in a position of power, he can get information, he has a role-going to England and the Middle East doesn’t work for him. He has no power, he can’t do anything, he has no role to play but follow Phryne around.
And third, Phyrne is completely callous and rude in this. Like she does her own thing, and is light and airy-but she never is cruel like this.
Fourth-this story sucks. Like what were they thinking-this plot is everywhere. They should have thought smaller, kept it in Australia, and created better mystery. Like where were the clues? Everything just felt so out of left field. And what was up with this mythology of Alexander the Great?
For more female private detectives, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)
For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)
For more mysteries, go to The Last Puzzle: The Last Christmas, Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)