Alan Bradley is quick! His last Flavia de Luce, A Red Herring Without Mustard, came out in February. Now we have another, this one a perfect addition to upcoming holiday displays.
Flavia de Luce is an ideal mystery series for young adults that, in its fourth outing, has yet to flag in quality. Every entry is as accomplished and entertaining as the last.
The first 30 pages of I Am Half-Sick of Shadows are available on Scribd.
BRADLEY, Alan. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Novel. 320p. Delacorte. 2011. Tr $23. ISBN 978-0-385-34401-2. LC number unavailable.
Adult/High School–Flavia de Luce, the audacious and precocious 11-year-old sleuth seen in Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009), The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (2010), and A Red Herring Without Mustard (2011, all Delacorte) is back at work in the same crumbling British manse, Buckshaw. It is the dead of winter during the Christmas holiday and Flavia’s father, desperate to raise funds, has rented the house to a movie crew. There is much drama surrounding the cast and crew of this movie, especially the lead actress Phyllis Wyvern, and Flavia is an astute observer of all the players. Amid the filming, Wyvern has agreed to perform a key scene from Romeo and Juliet as a fundraiser for the local church. The whole town turns out for this performance as a raging blizzard prevents anyone from leaving. Known for her love of chemistry, Flavia is working on some experiments to determine once and for all if Father Christmas really exists, but is sidetracked by discovering Wyvern’s body. As in the earlier novels, Flavia’s brilliance and cunning allow her to discover clues missed by the police. The twists and turns will keep readers engaged as will the moving and tender relationship further developed between Flavia and her loyal family retainer, Dogger. The overarching mystery that has run through all of these books is expressed by her unkind sister’s comment, “Hate you, Flavia? Do you really believe I hate you? Oh, how I wish I did! It would make things so much easier.” Give this to Flavia fans, mystery fans, and those who love a great story and a charming heroine.–Jane Ritter, Mill Valley School District, CA