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This review is from: A Red Herring Without Mustard (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY) (Paperback)
This novel gives the impression of having been carelessly written. Flavia doesn't speak like an English girl any more- we have drapes instead of curtains and faucets instead of taps. More importantly, her involvement in the crime is more like unjustifiable interference than before. In the first novel, she had good reasons for not telling the police what she knew, but in this one she has none. The introduction of a weird cult is rather forced, the motivation of the strange Porcelain is left unexplained, and there are too many arbitrary extras. Miss Mountjoy's uncle was the dead teacher whose story is part of "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", but in this novel we are told that her uncle is now the old headmaster, just so that he can quite unrealistically give us some ancient gossip.Bradley is straining to find an occasion for chemistry, so the business with the fishy smell is introduced, but it doesn't have any actual role to play in the plot.If we lose patience with Flavia there is no point in the stories and now she is becoming an irritant. Not only does she spoil crime scenes, but she steals quite valuable things from her family in order to conduct experiments on them. This stops being charming after a while.