Daily Archives: April 5, 2013

*** I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley


In the Flavia De Luce seriesI Am Half-Sick of Shadows is a bit of a lightweight, as a Christmas story with a highly improbable plot that brings the entire village to the heroine’s mansion for Christmas eve — and that does not include the movie crew using the mansion as a backdrop for a new movie — but then of course there are lots of improbable events in the life of an eleven-year old amateur detective.

In this installment she deploys her usual knowledge of chemistry and sleuthing, interleaved with very realistic hatred of her older, more conventional sisters, and the story is fast-paced and full of well-observed details about what a very young and sheltered girl of the 50s may think about adults, as when she is shocked to find cigarettes in an actress’s purse, while she does not hesitate to search said purse, or break into the murder room, for that matter! Although the other books in the series seem less contrived, this one carries the contrivance quite well.

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