Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood was my my introduction to the mystery genre. It was my trapdoor to a wonderful extended world of reading. Having been rather scarred from an close-encounter-of-the-crime-genre-kind with Ben Eton's Past Mortem (disgustingly violent but seductive in keeping you reading) I had sworn off crime, mystery, thriller and all the associated genre.
Cocaine Blues completely changed my reading habits. It takes a REALLY good book to have that much influence - it helped immensly that there were others in the series to carry on with the stories. Phryne Fisher is one of my favourite characters. She is small, fiesty, has great hair, loads of lovers, wonderful dresses, a big heart, a little gun, eats wonderful food, loves cocktails and solves mysteries with a keen sense of justice. All the books that she is involved in are great fun and are just on the right side of fluffy - because they DO have substance and they ARE well written. Cozy mysteries are sub-genre that has become a fave and Kerry Greenwood is the Queen. I have since read some Agatha Christie; delved into Stieg Larsson and came up again breathing and relishing reading the content that I so love to watch on the telly.
I want to be Phryne when I grow up.