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.
©2011 Alan Bradley (P)2011 Random House
"If ever there was a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce.” (USA Today)
I enjoy this series and the characters very much. This particular book had some great character moments, however the mystery itself did not hold together very well. If you are a devotee of the series, then by all means read this. Otherwise you can skip it.
Librarian, reader, commuter. I got tired of the radio and CDs and switched to audio books. Now I listen to books while I quilt, clean, etc
Flavia is the precocious youngest daughter of the family de Luce and lives in a large manor house with a long history. The death duties from her mother's death ten years earlier are having a deleterious effect of the family's resources in this novel just after WWII. Her father, the Colonel, decides to rent out the house to a film crew. The film's star, Phyllis Wyvern is a bright star of film and everyone is excited.
In the meantime, Flavia is trying to disprove her two older sisters' assertion that Father Christmas is made-up. Using her chemistry lab, she has concocted an elaborate trap on the roof.
The commotion of the film crew grows when the Vicar cons the two movie stars to enact the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet as a fundraiser for the church roof. The whole village attends and, alas, gets snowed in.
Late that night, Phyllis Wyvern is brutally murdered and Flavia discovers the body. With her curiosity, annoying persistence, she and the police solve the case with an exciting and stunning conclusion. I am always amused at the discussion between the police inspector and Flavia. Each gets it almost-right and when they put their theories together, each one thinks they solved it!
Another delicious audio book with flawless and terrific narration.
I love hearing Jayne Entwistle's voice and I enjoy Flavia's character. Thus, I keep reading these books hoping that there will be another one that lives up to the first in the series. Sadly, this one doesn't.
Nothing exciting happens until chapter 11 (there are 22 chapters), and when it does, the action is far too spaced out to keep me really interested.
I can't say enough about Jayne Entwistle's talent. She is a wonderful narrator and she was the perfect pick for these novels.
There was nothing particularly gory or disturbing about this one, but there were some expressions that might offend Christians. I did not appreciate the use of the phrases, and this will probably be my last Flavia book.
This is the fourth book in the series but the first that I listened to on Audible. I read the first 3 books and had a different "voice" in my head of what Flavia sounded like, which made it hard for me to listen to the narrator at first. However, she won me over completely with her reading.
The weakest part of the book for me was the story. I felt the mystery was not as well constructed as the previous 3 books. At the same time, I appreciated that the book managed to tie up some loose story lines from the previous books and gave further insights in to Flavia's family dynamics. The back and forth between Flavia's father and her sister's new boyfriend was hilarious.
5 stars for the narrator, 4 stars for the story.
Young Adult and Brit Lit aficionado.
Flavia de Luce is SUCH a distinct, complete, enjoyable character. I work with kids her age, and she would fit right in. As the ring leader.
I want to say Miss Marple, but it is so, so, so much better than Miss Marple.
There is something about her tone that just doesn't sit quite right and her Flavia sounds like a much younger petulant child....at the same time, though....she grows on you. I haven't listened to all five Alan Bradley Flavia books and I don't mind it at all, now. It was initially very off-putting, though.
Flavia to the rescue.
Really can't recommend Alan Bradley's books enough. Very original. Very real. The relationship between the sisters in spot on.
I'm a major mystery fan. Audible keeps me sane while commuting. Business skills titles help to stay sharp professionally. Happy Listening:)
After the first introduction to Flavia you won't be able to tear yourself away. Her youthful exuberance, and quest for knowledge will keep you entertained. The historical reference are a treat for all you British mystery buffs. I think Agatha herself would be delighted in a young brit following in her footsteps. I don't know where Alan has derived his inspiration but he uses just enough detailed description to keep me enthralled while letting my imagination run wild with Flavia. If you didn't really connect with chemistry before you will suddenly be reminded of it everywhere around you. Thank you Alan for entertaining me during my many hours commuting. Anxiously awaiting Flavia's next adventure. Can't imagine where Harriet is??? Highly recommend the Flavia de Luce series to everyone. Already have to my local audible click.
The plot moves along at just the right pace. Very detailed description of events keeps me in the moment. Twists big and small keep me engaged.
I know it's obvious but she becomes Flavia, although she does the other voices justice as well.
All the moments when Flavia tries to engage with her sisters. Their struggle to be a family without their mother tugs at the heartstrings.
Don't miss out.
Felt like this one was a little formulaic.
Flavia, of course! Dogger a close second & Mrs. Mullet.
I've started to read Alan Bradley's books about Flavia de Luce when the first book was published in Russian. This one I've decided to listen in English.
All the books are an easy reading. Plots are more theatrical than lifelike. But they are complicated enough, so the reader won't guess the ending right after first ten pages - but does not feel fooled in the end because the author played "smart" and was hiding half of the information until the very last scene. Flavia is an interesting main character, a little bit artificial but not completely unbelievable.
"I Am Half-Sick of Shadows" is mostly the same. It was good as background for housework, but hardly a piece for re-listening or re-reading. Also, I'll gladly buy next books in audio-form.
Narration was a little bit slow, so I had to speed it up to 1.25. The voice sometimes was too hight, sometimes reading was too agitated. But, as I said, all the books from this series have the same scent of histrionics, so the narrator's manner of speech fits just well.
(One thing I don't understand is the connection between the plot and the title. May be the explanation was somewhere in the text and I've missed it.)
I love the story, but I don't think I would enjoy the story so much if it weren't for Jayne Entwistle's spot-on performance of Flavia. My only problem with the book is that it is too short.
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