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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Mystery [Paperback]

Alan Bradley
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description


All is not well at Buckshaw, home of Flavia de Luce...

With the family finances in a parlous state, Flavia's father has, with deep misgivings, rented Buckshaw to a film company for a location shooting. Naturally enough, director, crew and stars do nothing to endear themselves to the household - especially the servants - until, when a heavy snowfall cuts off Bishop's Lacey from the rest of the world, the actors are talked into staging a benefit performance in the parish hall.

But old jealousies surface, and the leading lady is murdered. Flavia, who has been enlisted to help out behind the scenes, finds herself up to her knees in snow - and murder!

Frequently Bought Together

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Mystery + A Red Herring Without Mustard (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY) + The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY)
Price For All Three: £17.47

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Nov 2012)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1409118177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409118176
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is the fourth murder mystery for eleven year old sleuth, master chemist and expert on poisons, Flavia de Luce. While her father is preoccupied with a deepening financial crisis, and her sisters continue to outdo one another in beastliness to their younger sibling, the undaunted Flavia brings her keen eye and sharp mind to all that's' going on around her. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

[T]his breezily entertaining novel set in 1950s England both lives up to its predecessors and points the way to momentous events in the next book. Great fun! (GOOD BOOK GUIDE 2013-06-01)

Book Description

Christmas is coming - but for Flavia de Luce, in the deep midwinter there's a murder to solve...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Flavia! 16 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the fourth in the Flavia de Luce series, another wonderfully endearing "cozy mystery" set "somewhere" in England in the 1950s. I absolutely love this series, they're the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life with one of the most captivating heroines in the shape of 11 year old Flavia.

It's getting close to Christmas and the de Luce family finances are still in a perilous state so the Colonel reluctantly agrees to rent out Buckshaw to a film crew. The glamorous film star Phyllis Wyvern has agreed to perform a scene from Shakespeare in order to raise funds for the church roof, so the local villagers swarm to Buckshaw to see the leading lady in action. Blizzards conspire to keep the audience captive overnight but tis not the season to be jolly as a body is discovered and, with so many suspects, Inspector Hewitt needs all the help he can get to find the killer. Of course, Flavia, our amateur sleuth, is on hand to ferret out the culprit but she is already occupied with proving Santa's existence and concocting some splendiferous fireworks.

If you are already a fan of Flavia, you will love this seasonal story as you are immediately transported into the snowbound world of Buckshaw and Bishop's Lacey. Flavia is as irrepressible as ever but she still has that cloud of sadness, the loss of her mother and her sisters' indifference/cruelty weigh heavily on her. Some much needed distraction comes with the arrival of the film crew and the glamour of the silver screen. There are a lot of new characters in this relatively short book but they really come to life for the reader, even the one who dies quite soon!

Overall, a pleasure to read, an ideal Christmas treat which leaves me longing for the next instalment in Flavia's adventures, Seeds of Antiquity, hopefully out in 2012.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Youthful idealism 15 Nov 2011
By TerryB
If you have already read Alan Bradley's first three books in this series you will love this one too - I know I did. I just find Flavia and her whole dysfunctional family so endearing. If you have never read any of these books get a copy of `The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie'. If you enjoy it you are in for a treat with another three books to keep you entertained.

I was amazed to discover that Alan Bradley (a Canadian) had never set foot in the UK until he came over in 2007 to collect an award. He manages to create a very authentic idealised feel of rural England in the 1950's in these books.

He is quoted as saying of the theme of the books: `Youthful idealism and how far it can take someone if it's not stamped out, as it so often is.' This for me sums it up rather wonderfully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good, but not as good as the others 4 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a good book - written in Alan Brandley's typically witty and engaging style. Flavia deLuce is an excellent heroine. But the book seems rushed - perhaps because all the action takes place in one location, and there is simply nowhere to go for anyone, which makes the book seem more contrived than the other Flavia books - and less exhiliarating. It lacks the range and interest of the earlier books, and the plot is feeble (** SPOILER COMING!* would one really kill ones mother on such flimsy grounds?). There are lots of red herrings which could have been made much more of. Also, what on earth has Aunt felicity got to do with the dead woman? Claiming is some sort of secret war work is not really good enough. And such contrived acquaintances are rather trite and annoying. The appearance of Nialla from a previous story also seems unnecessary. The final scene on the roof, for me, was also a bit daft.
I am aware that the other reviewers on this page will disagree with me. Bt this is really nowhere near as good as the previous Flavia books. Still, dont let this put you off, as despite everything overall its good, and was fun to read. But I hope Alan Bradley takes a bit more time with the next one. I have no doubt that he knows this one is below standard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO HAPPY, FLAVIA'S BACK! 12 Nov 2011
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Do believe it was just about two years ago that Alan Bradley brightened my reading/listening life with his introduction of Flavia de Luce, an irresistible mixture of intelligence and mystery brought to life in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She's a master in chemistry with a keen interest in poison, and an intrepid amateur sleuth. At that time I called Bradley's book an imaginative debut and a sure winner also noting how glad I was that it would be a series.

My enjoyment of Flavia's shenanigans continued with A Red Herring Without Mustard in which Flavia visits a fortune teller who suddenly, unwillingly goes to her final reward. Eleven-year-old Flavia does have a penchant for running across dead bodies, and this unfortunate (fortunate for the reader) knack continues with I Am Half- Sick of Shadows.

As the story opens Flavia is busy in her laboratory trying to work out something to trap Santa Claus. She's diverted from trying to capture the cheery old fellow when a film crew comes to Buckshaw, the de Luce's down at the bricks English estate. Said movie is to star the famous Phyllis Wyvern. And, since this is the most excitement the village of Bishop's Lacey has seen in generations the villagers gather to watch the actress perform. However, no one is prepared for the unscripted closing scene: a body is found strangled with a length of film.

Once again Flavia's skill is put to the test And once again Los Angeles-based actress Jayne Entwistle delivers a superb narration.

- Gail Cooke
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Flavia de Luce Rides Again
Wonderful story, written to formula but still with original plot twists and interesting characters, carrying on the evolving story of the deLuce family and their failing fortune.
Published 21 days ago by drhugh
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
not as good as the earlier ones
Published 2 months ago by michael dodd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun as always
Great fun as always . for those looking for a series of detective novels to work their way through the Flavia De Luce books are light but great fun.
Published 2 months ago by Silvery surfer
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant Flavia De Luce
I always wish these books were longer. I was lucky to find this series late so there was no wait between books. I am sad to have read them all now and hope for more soon. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Angela Eyles
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
Wonderfully odd yet down to earth characters. I have enjoyed all the Flavia de Luce books and have reccomended them widely.
Published 4 months ago by Miss C. H. Bowman-shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I think the book was amazing I loved the characters especially Flavia and her chemistry! I'm sure to read the rest of the series!
Published 9 months ago by ApplePIP268
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Golden Age Pastice - Sadly Not Worth the Money
Great couple of opening sentences. But seventy pages into the book my concentration waned and I was sick to death of the story - the characters were fatuous and vapid. Read more
Published 9 months ago by A Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Flavia de Luce triumph!
Like Gollum, Miss Marple and Harry Potter, Flavia de Luce deserves a place among the great fictional characters of all time. Read more
Published 11 months ago by B. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder and Mayhem with Flavia de Luce
I do like a bit of light-hearted stuff among all the serious books I read! This is the first novel that I've read of the Flavia de Luce series, and I'm absolutely hooked. Read more
Published 14 months ago by The Book Witch
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric story with a theatrical back drop
Not my favourite Flavia de Luce story as it seems rather hurried. That being said, there is still much to delight fans of this excellent series of books.
Published 17 months ago by A. Silk
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