Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

Gotta love Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Alan Bradley's murder mysteries. She's a feisty, intrepid youngster with a love of chemistry who solves crimes more quickly than the investigators around her. In this spunky installment, Flavia has decided to set a trap for Father Christmas (this was a bit of a stretch to believe she would actually buy into the legend) by putting a sticky birdlime solution on the roof and has also concocted a plan to orchestrate a stellar fireworks display to celebrate the eventful evening.

When Buckshaw is leased out to a filming company for the month of December, Flavia expects to be quarantined in her room for the duration. But nothing can keep her from exploring the cast and crew and getting to know the lead star, Phyllis Wyvern. She is completely taken by surprise when she discovers Miss Wyvern in her room, strangled with a length of film. She immediately sets about to unlock as many clues as she can find. With numerous possible suspects, she must hone in on the truly important details. As she unravels the mystery, her birdlime and pyrotechnics on the roof both play a part in leading to the moment of climax in the story.

Although I wasn't as pleased with the third installment in this series, I have rallied again to a great love for Flavia's stories, in this fourth installment, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows. The characters were colorful. The plot moved along swiftly (despite the murder not being introduced until the end of chapter 11?), with ample moments of humor. The denoument, while a bit flimsy, was satisfying. I will certainly be looking for the next installment and will once again embrace this clever little sleuth.

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