I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Mystery Book 4 Hardcover – 3 Nov 2011
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Praise for the cosy crime Flavia de Luce Mysteries - perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders: The Flavia de Luce novels are now a cult favourite (Mail on Sunday)
Certain to become a national treasure (Daily Mail)
Delightfully entertaining (Guardian)
Flavia is enchanting (New York Times)
A breath of fresh air to the world of period-piece sleuthing (Independent)
Flavia is mercilessly addictive (New York Times)
A clever, witty and totally gripping read with lots of surprises (Essentials)
At once precocious and endearing. Flavia is a marvellous character. Quirkily appealing, this is definitely a crime novel with a difference (Choice)
It's like entering the lost world of the Mitford sisters where the girls are allowed to run completely wild (Crime Squad)
Hilarious, eccentric and mischievous (Deadly Pleasures)
The fourth novel in Alan Bradley's addictive Flavia de Luce mystery series.See all Product description
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The mystery element of the story was good, if nothing new (all the suspects trapped in a big house because of unexpected heavy snow… we’ve never seen that before!). The setting was excellent and the set up interesting. The film crew and actors brought some old Hollywood glamour to the story. But the star of the show is Flavia, her love of chemistry and her rather “inventive” experiments. These include an attempt to prove the existence of Father Christmas by covering the chimney stacks in bird lime in the hope of trapping him there! Brilliant!
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.
It's a totally dysfunctional family, and a totally off-the-wall plot. Desperate for money to keep the old pile, and the family, from complete ruin, Colonel de Luce has rented the house out to a film crew just before Christmas. Mayhem, madness and a huge quantity of snow descend overnight, locking everyone indoors just in time for a grisly murder. And Flavia, being Flavia, is first on the scene.
This is a YA book for adults and I'm definitely going to seek out the others - including the new one just out, called Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia De Luce Mystery 5). It reminds me of the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency - the same sense of humour and gentle escapism.
Alan Bradley, like Alexander McCall Smith, is not a young author - born in 1938 - and didn't begin the Flavia de Luce stories until 2006, when he wrote the beginning of a story for the Crime Dagger Debut prize and found that he'd won! It only goes to show.......