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4.7 out of 5 stars
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows: A Flavia de Luce Mystery Book 4
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2011
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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on 19 February 2017
I LOVED this book. It took a while to get used to Flavia’s incredibly idiosyncratic voice and turn of phrase, but once I did, it was the best thing about the book. It reminded me of how the Famous Five spoke to each other, but smarter! This is the first book I've read in the series. If I’d started the series at book 1, I’m sure I would have already been at home with her voice and not needed this “adjustment time”. That said, this book worked as a stand-alone, I fell in love with Flavia and by the end was incredibly sorry it was all over.

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!
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on 2 October 2016
What a delightful series!. 11 year old Flavia de Luce, chemistry genius and enfant terrible. She lives with her father and sisters in n enormous country estate which is continuously under threat as her father cannot maintain it. Bodies and blood but not in the depressing sex and serial-killer manner of current fiction. Although Flavia is scarily intelligent, she also has a childish innocence (she is not sure about about the existence of Santa Claus and has come up with a wonderful concoction to trap him in a chimney), this may not be creditable for today's 11 year old but this is 1950. There is a great cast of characters including Dogger the general factotum, who is extremely well educated and suffers from post traumatic stress following incarceration in a POW camp, the vicar's dreadful wife who spanked Flavia with a hymn book (wouldn't happen today!), Inspecter Hewitt and lovely wife Antigone (much admired by Flavia) and of course Flavia's sisters who never lose an opportunity to put her down.
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on 12 October 2013
Like Gollum, Miss Marple and Harry Potter, Flavia de Luce deserves a place among the great fictional characters of all time. Clever, witty, naughty (bordering on evil at times) and heart-breakingly in need of affection, she entertains from beginning to end. Suitable for all ages, I can see me re-reading these for years to come. Be warned - 'Speaking From Among the Bones' is the 5th Flavia de Luce book and it ends on a huge cliffhanger - AND BOOK 6 DOESN'T COME OUT UNTIL NEXT YEAR! Am chewing my Kindle in frustration! Can't wait...
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on 19 March 2015
Another excellent story in the Flavia de Luce series. Once again the occupants of Buckshaw are tested by a sudden murder and only Flavia is able to outwit the murderers and impress the local police with her powers of observation. I am anticipating the release of the latest story at the end of April. Can't wait.
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on 29 December 2012
Flavia de Luce is one of those detectives whose ability fills me with wonder, my knowledge of chemistry at the age of 11 wasn't a patch on hers and I can only envy the way she puts her knowledge to use. For me, Flavia is up there with Brunetti and Ramotswe; detailed analyses of the problems faced but still a person I'd like to meet.
In addition, the writer's English is a pleasure to read.
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on 8 December 2012
The fourth Flavia de Luce book is as good as the first three. Excellent tale of our junior sleuth solving another crime in her very grown-up way, but still just an eleven year old girl who believes in Santa Claus! Very interesting character is our Flavia, with her disfunctional family and the old retainer 'Dogger' who is closer to her than her own father.
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on 23 April 2016
Great book , but collect the set.
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on 27 January 2016
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on 21 July 2014
not as good as the earlier ones
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