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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"If ever there was a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce.” (USA Today)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story
  • C.
  • Santa Fe, NM, United States
  • 03-16-12

Another Great Flavia de Luce Adventure

Alan Bradley's precocious heroine, Flavia de Luce is refreshing. His books are definitely originals, including the titles. I have enjoyed all of Mr. Bradley's books, both in print and audio, and Jayne Entwistle's narration is flawless and perfect for all the characters, especially Flavia's. Please, whoever decided narrators, I beg you to do all possible to keep Ms. Entwistle as the narrator of this series.

For anyone who has not read any of the Flavia de Luce books by Mr. Bradley, I recommend starting with the first one, "Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" and continue to read/listen to them in order. While each book can stand alone, a deeper appreciation for the characters is achieved by reading each book in the order they were written.

Previous Flavia adventures had her riding all over the countryside around Bishop's Lacy on her trusty bicycle, Gladys. I am Half Sick of Shadows is set almost entirely in the big, deteriorating mansion the de Luce's call home and Gladys has been put away for the winter. A parade of strangers and locals find themselves trapped in the mansion on Christmas Eve due to a huge snowstorm....and there is a murder to solve! Flavia does her usual magic with chemical concoctions and her keen deductive mind to come up with the answers, but not without some hard knocks along the way.

If there had been more stars to add to the ratings, I would have done so.

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  • melanie
  • VILONIA, AR, United States
  • 01-14-12

Loved it!

Where does I Am Half-Sick of Shadows rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I'm a huge fan of the Flavia series, but this is the first one that I've heard on audio. I thought that Jayne Entwistle did a great job! The actual mystery wasn't great, but I love Flavia's character and listening to how her mind works!

Would you recommend I Am Half-Sick of Shadows to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, but I would definitely start with the first book in the series.

Which character – as performed by Jayne Entwistle – was your favorite?

Flavia, of course!

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Love this series

What did you love best about I Am Half-Sick of Shadows?

I've read all of the previous books in the series but this is the first one I've listened to. I loved Ms. Entwistle's portrayal of Flavia...it was the voice I'd been hearing in my head.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It is always interesting to see how Flavia manages to find herself in the middle of mayhem.

What about Jayne Entwistle’s performance did you like?

Everything

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had the time.

Any additional comments?

A good read!

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  • Kathleen
  • St. Clair, MI, United States
  • 01-03-12

I love these books!

I'm sure the books are fun to read, but what really makes it for me is Jayne Entwistle. No one else could "voice" Flavia so perfectly. Not inseparable from reality (I mean a child who is an expert in chemistry and poisons?), but who cares. The story goes on to make me feel like I'm running around solving mysteries with her and her rickety bike (I wonder if Gladys could carry us both?). Read the books, or better yet, listen to them.

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  • Roxane
  • RIO RANCHO, NM, United States
  • 01-02-12

Flavia is a delight!

Where does I Am Half-Sick of Shadows rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

I always look forward to the latest Alan Bradley audiobook, and this one does not disappoint.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jayne Entwistle perfectly captures the eccentric Flavia, who reminds me of a talented-and-gifted version of Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family cartoons--an eleven-year-old chemistry nerd loaded to the gills with irony.

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  • Marilyn
  • Vancouver, WA, United States
  • 12-26-11

Flavia does it again

Would you listen to I Am Half-Sick of Shadows again? Why?

Flavia is fresh voice amongst all the jaded detectives out there. She's a wonderful mixture of cleverness and naivete. I am looking forward to next Flavia story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Flavia, of course. She's a breath of fresh air.

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  • Deana
  • Granby, CT, United States
  • 12-23-11

Cute Holiday Story/ Mystery

Where does I Am Half-Sick of Shadows rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I like this Flavia de Luce series - but maybe not as much as I wish I did. The main character being a child gets old quickly for me. I read the first in the series and realized I wouldn't read any others--- but listening to the holiday mystery at Christmas time seemed like a nice prospect. This isn't much of a mystery-- it's very character-driven and well-written, but in my mind not a mystery. Still, it was nice to listen to-- well-narrated and put me in a festive mood.

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An engaging 'Cozy' of a mystery.

If you could sum up I Am Half-Sick of Shadows in three words, what would they be?

Cozy detectective tale... told from the point of view a very advanced youngster of a detective. We like this series a great deal. The story this time around may not have quite as gripping as say the first but it's a very comfortable world if you've visited before and the reader is entirely right for the story.

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Poor, poor, pitiful Flavia--

she is caught up in a series that doesn't quite know where it is going. Yes, she in amusing, and yes, the Jayne Entwistle does a wonderful job bringing her to life, but most of it is too twee by half.

We've gone through most of a year with Flavia, the precocious 11 year old, but what happens next? I don't think I am going to stick around to find out.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Typical Flavia -- our favorite girl detective

Flavia has wormed her way into our hearts and we eagerly await each new adventure. We loved the Christmas setting and all the action at Buckshaw.