Cast Of Characters

Como House, Melbourne

Como House, Melbourne

I’ve been watching Miss Fisher’s mysteries for a little while now. I used to live in Melbourne, so it’s nice to see the familiar streets and buildings such as Rippon Lea, The Manchester Building, Como House and Melbourne Town Hall. And the fashion! If I could have anyone’s television wardrobe it would be Miss Fisher’s – in fact, it’s become so celebrated that Vanity Fair wrote an interesting piece devoted to the secrets of her wardrobe – you can read it here.

The other thing I love about the show is seeing the characters come to life. I first discovered Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher books about fifteen years ago and was instantly hooked. I loved Greenwood’s stories of 1920’s Melbourne, of wealthy Phryne and her devil-may-care attitude as she solved mysteries and set the world to rights. When I heard it was going to be made into a series, I was thrilled. And, so far, it has not disappointed (other than the fact that the divine Lin Chung was relegated to a one-episode lover). Essie Davis is perfect casting as the elegant Phryne, as is Ashleigh Cummings as Dot, Hugo Johnstone-Burt as Constable Collins, and Nathan Page as Inspector Robinson.

Luna Park, Melbourne. The iconic park is in St Kilda, home to the fictional Phryne Fisher

Luna Park, Melbourne. The iconic park is in St Kilda, home to the fictional Phryne Fisher

I had a recent conversation in the comments section on one of my posts with Kristin, from Pursuit Of A New Adventure. Kristin has read both Oak and Mist and No Quarter (thanks Kristin!), and she was talking about how she pictured the characters in her head, naming one celebrity in particular as her image of Deryck. This was interesting and really, really cool. I loved hearing what she thought, as I have a clear picture in my own mind of each character and how they look. And of course I have considered the idea that one day, if my books ever took off, they could be televised or made into a movie. In fact, if I’m being really honest, I might have even spent a bit of time googling images of different actors, assembling my fantasy cast should it ever come to pass.

Well, that’s not embarrassing at all, sharing that with you 😀

But it’s true, and I bet I’m not the only one out there. I didn’t base any of my Ambeth characters on real people (except for one, who looks like a friend of mine). But as they’ve come to life in my mind it’s been an interesting process to try and marry their physical appearance with someone in the real world. For reference purposes, you understand 😉 And while I’ve not yet ‘cast’ every character, I have a pretty good idea of who I’d like to play most of them.

So many stars to choose from ;-)

So many stars to choose from 😉

It would be fascinating to see my work interpreted by somebody else, which is why I so enjoyed Kristin’s comments. I wonder how Kerry Greenwood feels, seeing her creation on the small screen. I also wonder if the cast match her original vision of the characters as she saw them.

So how do you feel about the idea of seeing your characters onscreen? And do you have a fantasy cast list already? (go on, you can tell me)


Feeling Light


I love the way the light falls at this time of year.

There is a golden richness to it, one that invites you to sit outside for a while with hot tea or cold cider, savouring the last sweetness of summer before the long dark of winter sets in. It feels melancholy to me as well – the bittersweet turning of the year seen in the way that the sun sets earlier each night, sending long furls of colour across the sky.

This may sound like a whole lot of waffle – however, light is something that has always fascinated me. I’ve travelled to quite a few places and each had their own light, caught in the feel of the sky and the way the sun hits the land. The high wide skies of Canada, speedwell blue reaching north. The blinding white hot of a Sydney beach at midday, when to be without sunglasses would render you almost blind. The pearl grey light of the Irish coast, mist from the sea softening the sky. The silver-blue-grey of a Melbourne winter, dark nights and frost on the gum trees. The shimmer of Venice, light reflecting from the water onto ancient pastel palazzos, crumbling into the dreaming lagoon.


I saw the northern lights once. It was in the mountains north of Vancouver, the sky full of stars as there were no man-made lights to obscure their show. I woke in the night to see a slowly expanding starburst of light above me, floating above the dark pine-clad peaks. While it wasn’t the rainbow shimmer of Scandinavia, it was still awe-inspiring to see – one day I hope to go further north and see the curtains of colour ripple across the sky.

I also like the way light behaves at different times of day, and often use it in my descriptions when writing. I think it’s a nice way to convey to the reader what time of day it is, as well as adding mood when necessary. My favourite time of day is sunset, though I do enjoy the early light of dawn as well – there is something about the transition between day and night that I find to be full of potential, stories lying in the shadows between light and dark.



An Observation – Part 6 – Heart Shaped Garden

Heide I - Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - Nick Carson

Heide I – Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Nick Carson

Miss Three and I were at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne, spending the day there with my mother-in-law, her sister and two other friends. Madam had already charmed everyone at lunch in the cafe, pretending to take our ‘orders’ at the table, charging us all exorbitant prices:

‘Really? A hundred dollars for coffee and cake? It must be good.’

After lunch she wandered with us through the concrete cool of the mid century modernist house called Heide II, once home to artists John and Sunday Reed, lolling on the couches where they had once sat and looking with a child’s eye at the paintings on the rough textured walls, bright arcs of colour and light.

Then we went to the original timber clad farmhouse, Heide I. The rooms were filled with paintings and photographs documenting that golden time when Heide was a hotbed of art and love and friendship, legendary names reclined in sunny group shots, laughing on the green lawns.

Miss Three became tired of it all, not being able to touch anything. She wanted to go outside and I obliged – after all, she had been so very good all day. So out we went, leaving our group behind as we stepped into the walled garden surrounding the house to find ourselves alone. Miss Three chased after butterflies then became entranced by the heart shaped flowerbed on the lawn, created by Sunday after the end of her love affair with Sidney Nolan. I watched as Miss Three danced around the heart, pink skirts blowing, small arms stretched out.

All at once it was as if time slowed and shifted, and it was as though Sunday stood near me, her presence as strong as the scent of roses tumbling over the high brick wall. I could feel her pleasure at seeing my daughter enjoying her garden, and hardly dared move or breathe, not wanting to break the spell sitting like a golden bell over us all.

Then a woman came through the arched opening in the wall, her expression disapproving as she looked at Miss Three who was stopped on the path, smelling a flower. ‘Excuse me,’ she said, moving abruptly past us before we really had a chance to step out of the way. And just like that, the spell was broken, the magic gone.

All except the memory. That remains.

An Observation, Part 5 – A Glimpse of Snow


It was a hot Melbourne day, the kind where the air is heavy and damp before 9am, holding the city hostage until a cool change blows in from the west. I was waiting for a train at one of the red brick rail stations so ubiquitous in the inner city, federation bungalows and Victorian houses backing onto the tracks. If it weren’t for the prickly pear and palm trees lining the embankments and the sticky, overbearing heat, you could almost be in old England, wrought iron arches and curving brickwork evoking somewhere half a world away. Perhaps that was what they wanted, the architects of this city by the bay – a reminder of faraway home.

I sat on a bench in the shade as I waited for my train to arrive, fanning myself with my hand, though all it did was move the warm air around. The platform was almost deserted. The only other occupant was a tiny old lady with a wrinkled face and improbably black hair, dressed in dark layers that looked stifling in the heat, her small feet stuffed into black shoes. She came to sit next to me and I smiled at her. She smiled back, flash of bright eyes in her lined face.

‘Hot day,’ she said, her strongly accented English betraying her European roots.

I nodded. ‘Sure is.’

‘Where you from?’ she said, lifting her chin at me.

‘Canada,’ I said. It was my answer at the time, my most recent address before coming to Melbourne, the twang in my voice giving me away.

‘Ohh,’ she said, nodding. ‘It’s cold there. Lots of snow.’

I think I said something about how nice it would be to have some snow as we both wilted in the heat, air shimmering on the tracks nearby.

She agreed then leaned in, as though about to share a confidence.

‘When I was a little girl in Italy, we sometimes have snow. Not very often, but I remember one time when I was at school. Our classroom had a balcony with big doors and we all ran out to touch the snow as it fell. When the teacher called us back in, we threw snowballs at her.’

Then she giggled, her legs swinging back and forth like the little girl she used to be, transporting both of us back to a place where snow fell and children laughed. Eventually the train came and we both went on to our destinations – I never saw her at the station again. But I always remembered her story, the small glimpse she gave a stranger of snow on a hot day.