Book Review : I Am half-Sick of Shadows
A Flavia de Luce Novel
By Alan Bradley
It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight. (Synopsis courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
Do you ever pick up a series in the middle? Well, that is what happened in this case and I have not yet read any of the other Flavia de Luce Novels. Even though I have not read the other books there was enough information to understand that Flavia and her sisters are at war with one another, though not to be taken too seriously, and that their father is devastated by the loss of his wife and is emotionally distant. Flavia is intuitive, brilliant, a bit pathos with her love of poisons and still naive. As I gaze about I see no other eleven year olds that could remotely be compared to Flavia. It seems that with her powers of deductive reasoning and familiarity with the scientific process she would have worked out her questions to the identity of St. Nick. Despite the fact that Flavia doesn’t feel real to me it didn’t matter because I liked her so very much. In fact, it is the combination of her fascination and clinical detachment in the face of death contrasted with her youthful innocence that creates her charming character. I do not have sisters, but I have seen enough sister relations to see that her love/hate relationship with her siblings is entirely plausible.
This is a terrific light mystery. If I had a teenager who loved mysteries this novel would be good for them too. At one point, Flavia refers to a mistress,”as someone who becomes the best of friends with a man”, and notes that others seem to be concerned about her talking about a mistress, but she cannot be bothered about any more of the details. I can safely say I am glad Flavia is not my child, she would give me a headache in real life.
Hope you enjoy the novel and I look forward to reading the others.