Posts Tagged ‘I Am Half-Sick of Shadows’

I can’t decide what is my favorite part of Alan Bradley’s I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, the new mystery featuring 11-year-old amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce.

Is it when curious Flavia discovers the body in the middle of the night while prowling through Buckshaw, the dilapidated English estate where she lives with her father, the Colonel, and her irksome older sisters, Ophelia (Feely) and Daphne (Daffy)? Or is it right before this when the villagers gathered at Buckshaw to watch scenes from Shakespeare performed by a visiting film crew realize they’re snowed in by a Christmas Eve blizzard?

Possibly it’s when Flavia takes it upon herself to sneak back to the scene of the crime and investigate at her leisure, discovering important clues. Or maybe it’s when her plan to catch Father Christmas in the act goes awry on the snowy roof of Buckshaw when confronted by a killer. Or it could be when the fireworks Flavia has concocted in her laboratory finally detonate.

Oh, it’s all such fun. I’ve enjoyed precocious Flavia’s detecting adventures ever since Bradley introduced her in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, also set in post-WWII England. Think Agatha Christie meets Nancy Drew and Encylopedia Brown. The other two Flavia books — A Red Herring Without Mustard and The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag — are also entertaining, but I think this new one is my favorite.

Maybe it’s the relationship among the three sisters. Or maybe it’s because readers find out more about the Colonel and  his late wife Harriet. Maybe it’s the witty writing, the amusing characters, the neat plotting. Or all the literary references. . .

Really, the only thing I truly dislike is having to wait another year for a new Flavia book.

Open Book: I borrowed a hardcover copy of Alan Bradley’s I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Random House Publishing Group) from the Edisto Beach Public Library and read it the next-to-last-afternoon of the year.



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