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The circus is in town for St Kilda's first Flower Festival, which includes a parade. And who should be Queen of said Flowers but the Honourable Phryne Fisher? She has dresses to purchase, cinemas to visit, and agreeable cocktails to drink.
However, one of her flower maidens is unstable and has vanished. So Phryne investigates, trudging through the underworld with the help of Bert, Cec, her little beretta, an old flame from Orkney, the owner of the most exclusive brothel in St Kilda, and several elephants.
But when her own adopted daughter Ruth goes missing, Phryne is determined that nothing will stand in the way of her retrieving her lost child.