I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
A Flavia de Luce Novel
Delacorte Press, 2011
From the back of the book, “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.”
Flavia’s back – this time at Christmas! Having been told by her evil sisters that Father Christmas is a lie, Flavia sets out to prove his existence by making something in her laboratory called birdlime – some kind of super glue to glue the poor man-elf to the chimney! She also makes up fireworks to shoot off on Christmas Eve – all of this in secret, of course – except for Dogger, her family’s everything-man, who has a 6th sense when it comes to Flavia getting into trouble! As the description above states, her plans go awry a bit with her discovery of a body. The intrepid Inspector Hewitt makes his way to the snowed in villagers and film crew and reluctantly (and begrudgingly) solves the crime with Flavia.
Another perfect book for middle-graders of all ages, the murder doesn’t take place until well into the book but the love-hate relationship Flavia has with her sisters and her witty personality make for fun reading while you’re waiting for the mystery to begin. The murder takes place off-stage, not gruesome at all, although Flavia does make a rather extended examination of the body that might be a little squeamish to some. The murderer comes after the girl-sleuth, but she fights her way out of it. Does she catch Father Christmas in her sticky trap? I’ll never tell!
Now reading: the next book in the series:
Speaking From Among the Bones!