I quite enjoy watching and reading detective stories and mysteries. I am more drawn to the less grisly end of this spectrum and some of my favourites include The Number One Ladies Detective Agency, Death in Paradise, Father Brown and the like. As a child I loved to read books like the Secret Seven and Famous Five series, and my absolute favourite – Encyclopaedia Brown.
For many years now I have been a fan of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries television series. It is based on a series of books written by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. They are set in Melbourne and surrounding areas in the late 1920’s and the heroine is Phrynie Fisher, an unconventional woman of wealth and accidentally-inherited status who chooses to use her intuition and resources to become a Private Detective and champion the cause of the underdog.
I own all the DVD’s of the television series and so was delighted to be receive the latest instalment, a movie, for Mother’s Day today. As I watched it with my son this afternoon I had the opportunity to wonder what it is about Phrynie that I admire.
I have to say that I absolutely adore most of Miss Fisher’s outfits, of which there are many. She is amazingly capable of scaling the walls of buildings and chasing felons in heeled dress shoes with scarves flowing and her headwear remaining firmly in place, not to mention her impeccable red lipstick! While this aspect of the stories is enjoyable, it is a little too shallow to capture and hold my admiration.
Phrynie is not afraid to stand up for herself or for others who might be being treated less than is acceptable. She is fearless in confronting sexist attitudes at a time when women were expected to be seen and not heard. She befriends people of different race when others turn away. She identifies abilities in those who’s opinion is often overlooked and encourages them to share their insights and find their voice. She uses her status in ways that furthers the cause of the downtrodden, rather than for her own comfort and privilege.
While I wouldn’t want to take the comparison to it’s fullest extent, I feel that these are some of the characteristics I most admire in this fictional individual because they are ones that I would like to be known for. I want to be fearless. I tend not to be a rule-breaker for the sake of breaking rules, but I do desire to be someone who stands up for injustice, especially when it is imposed without due consideration of the disadvantage it might cause. I would like to be someone who champions the cause of those who have difficulty letting their voice be heard. I want to be seen as someone who befriends the friendless.
Why? Because that is the example that Jesus set when He walked this earth. He chose to use his power and status, more often than not, to bring health, compassion and attention to those society overlooked. He spent time with people that others literally turned away from. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Jesus is like Miss Fisher, but that she is like Him. I can see there is some of His behaviour evident in her personification.
This day, when we honour those women who have had good influence in our lives, to those who have loved and nurtured us and been an example as a way we can live, my own mum included, I am grateful to be able to identify characteristics that I seek to emulate of Jesus in these people also. Thanks Miss Fisher for reminding me of this.