Murder in Williamstown, a Q and A with Kerry Greenwood

We were thrilled to learn earlier in the year that Kerry Greenwood's new Phryne Fisher novel is set right here in Williamstown. She has been kind enough to sign some books for us and to answer a few questions we had about Murder in Williamstown and her writing process.


What do you love about the crime-mystery genre?

In crime fiction you must have a coherent, connected narrative leading to a resolution. There’s no time or leisure for excursions into irrelevant detail.

Is it your favourite to read as well as write? Is so, why?

Yes it is. And I can do no better than quote Miss Prism: ‘The good ended happily; and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.’ I’m with her. People love justice; and so do I.

Where do you draw inspiration for your novels?

I fell in love with stories I heard as a child. And I love research. The world is full of stories waiting to be told.

You've written 22 books in this series, how do you keep your work fresh and original?

Even in series that I love, occasionally I will close a book and reflect that I have more or less read this book before. My primary inspiration Dorothy L Sayers never wrote the same book twice, and neither shall I.

What is your connection with Williamstown and why did you choose to set this book in Williamstown?

I’ve always loved ports. My Dad was a wharfie and many of my childhood memories are of cargo ships being unloaded. I picked Williamstown this time because my mother grew up there, and attended the local state school. Williamstown is a very insular place; but in a thoroughly good way. They do things differently there. 

What sort of research is required to set a book in well known locations?

Newspapers are the best source of material, especially when you write about the past. But where possible, nothing beats walking around yourself. You notice all sorts of thing by being there which you’d never pick up at second-hand.

Tell us about your favourite place in Williamstown?

The library! It’s shiny, comfortable, quiet, and filled with local colour and helpful staff.

What was the writing process like for you this time given the pandemic and the restrictions that came with that? 

No different. My chief historical document was the Williamstown Chronicle, which I found online. And I had many vivid and recent memories of walking about Williamstown. 

Where will the next Phryne Fisher be set?

I have hinted that it will be Bendigo, but it could be anywhere. Stay tuned!

Thank you Kerry, we can't wait to sell your book.


To pre-order your signed copy click here. Murder in Williamstown will go on sale on Tuesday 1st of November.