Flavia de Luce rides again. Aboard her trusty bicycle "Gladys" the eleven year old sleuth/aspiring chemist is off on another adventure. Her latest escapade is precipitated by a chance meeting in the local churchyard with a young woman named Nialla, assistant to a relatively famous television puppeteer named Rupert Porson. Rupert, it seems, has some ties with at least one of the local village residents and when the vicar extends an invitation to Rupert and Nialla to perform their puppet show for the locals, the mystery begins. As with Alan Bradley's first novel,THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, this story also takes place in the small English village of Bishop's Lacy circa 1950. Once again, suspicious deaths are the order of the day and Flavia takes center stage in this unusual who-dunnit.
Flavia's family still resides in the crumbling mansion known as Buckshaw. Still present are the banes of Flavias young life, her sisters, seventeen year old Ophelia and thirteen year old Daphne, who take gleeful pleasure in taunting Flavia with tales of her unwanted birth and/or adoption and, as usual, Flavia continues to plot delicious and devious ways to avenge herself on her tormenters (her latest attempt at "getting even" involves a box of candy and noxious odors). The unconventional family is rounded out by Flavia's introverted philetalist father and her eccentric, outspoken visiting Aunt Felicity. Although Flavia's reaction to her sisters represents the typical reaction of an 11 year old to teasing, her powers of deductive reasoning, her knowledge of chemistry and her wild imagination definitely place her far beyond her chronological years.
To enjoy this book, please do not attempt to apply logic when it comes to Flavia's amazing and unbelievable intelligence. Just think of Flavia as wonderful wine ......you don't know how it's made, but the flavor is full and pleasing so you just enjoy it.