Our lady sleuth sashays through the back lanes and jazz clubs of late 1920s Melbourne fighting injustice with her pearl handled pistol and her dagger sharp wit.
After many years abroad, Phryne returns to Melbourne, in part to start a new life in her home town, but to also ensure that Murdoch Foyle (Nicholas Bell), the man thought to be responsible for her younger sister’s mysterious disappearance, never gets out of jail. But before her very proper Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes), a well-known society matriarch, can drag Phryne off to attend her first soiree, she finds herself embroiled in a murder.
She befriends the most unlikely of murder suspects – an innocent Catholic girl, Dot Williams (Ashleigh Cummings). Phryne takes Dot under her wing, employing her as a maid. Over time, Dot becomes one of Phryne’s closest companions; with Dot’s natural intelligence in all things domestic and catholic she is often an unexpected asset in Phryne’s murder investigations. From illegal abortions to union disputes, exploited workers and missing girls, Phryne finds justice for those who can’t help themselves.
As she delves deeper into the murky world of murder, Phryne crosses paths with the local constabulary, befriending the handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). Despite being married, Jack finds himself drawn to Phryne’s vibrant personality and seeks to ensure that she is kept out of harm’s way as they endeavour to solve the cases.
They come to rely on each other, Jack for the information he gets through diligent police procedures, and Phryne for the information she obtains using her charms and daring. When Jack won’t give Phryne the information she needs, she can easily manipulate Jack’s trusting deputy, Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt), to keep her informed even if he is not aware he is doing so. Leaving a trail of admirers in her wake, our heroine makes sure she enjoys every moment of her lucky life and along the way she unlocks the truth of her own dark history.