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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia De Luce, #4)
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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce #4)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  15,606 ratings  ·  2,390 reviews
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. Amid a blizzard, the village gathers at Buckshaw to watch famed Phyllis Wyvern perform. After midnight, a body is found strangled by film. Flavia investigates.
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Random House Doubleday (first published 2011)
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Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha ChristieThe Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha ChristieCupcakes, Paws, and Bad Santa Claus by Pamela DuMondI Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan BradleyThe Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
Christmas Mysteries
4th out of 237 books — 90 voters
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3rd out of 503 books — 48 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”IN MY ELEVEN YEARS of life I’ve seen a number of corpses. Each of them was interesting in a different way, and this one was no exception.”

Flavia de Luce always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong right time. She doesn’t have to leave her small town of Bishop’s Lacey to find a steady supply of bodies recently discarded by their souls. Due to precarious pecuniary circumstances Flavia’s father has recently rented out the ancestral home of Buckshaw to a film crew. Flavia has been busy in he
Mr. Bradley, write faster!
Danielle Young
Probability and reality are not reasons to read a Flavia de Luce book, and that is as true for I Am Half-Sick of Shadows as any of them. I am not looking for a well crafted mystery when I read these books, I am looking to romp around with the characters (especially Flavia) that populate the strange little world of Bishops Lacey. A romp (with a good dash of firework chemistry) is what this book delivers. This book takes place solely in Buckshaw (where pretty much the entire town of BL happens to ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: Flavia de Luce does Christmas. Buckshaw, Bishop's Lacey, is now the scene of Ilium Films's new Phyllis Wyvern extravaganza, The Cry of the Raven. The film company has paid the desperately strapped-for-cash Colonel Haviland de Luce a sizable sum to use Buckshaw as the backdrop for this bound-to-be-mega hit, which means Christmas will be spent with an entire film crew up the family's collective backside. Flavia meets the famous Miss Wyvern as she enters the house
There is plenty to love in this installment of Flavia de Luce's adventures, especially if you are her existing fan. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is a Christmas story, with a great infusion of some new blood, which is a must for any series focusing on such a tiny place as Bishop's Lacey. Flavia's father is forced to rent out Buckshaw to a movie company to film its new feature. When the star of the movie is found murdered, Flavia is on full alert. Now she has two Christmas cases on her hands - the mu ...more
Having read all four Flavia de Luce novels in the last couple of weeks, I'm all Flavia'd out for the time being. She certainly is unique -- who else would try to capture Father Christmas by coating the roof and chimneys in birdlime? -- but perhaps is best taken in small doses. I don't think I can take much more of her tampering with crime scenes. (Does this bother anybody else? I could understand her looking around, but she disturbs the body, moves things around, and steals evidence for her own ...more
***I won this book from Goodreads as a First Reads giveaway***

I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

I very much enjoyed reading this novel. It is the fourth installment in a series of books about Flavia de Luce. Eleven year old Flavia lives with her sisters Daphne and Ophelia and her father, Colonel Haviland De Luce, in a rambling old mansion in the English countryside. The story is set around Christmas sometime during 1940’s-1950's era.

Flavia is quite a character, someone straight out of the
At this point, I've elected not to take these books seriously at all, and just enjoy them for what they are without picking nits. After all, at least it features a curious, resourceful young girl who is interested in chemistry and forensics, who solves murders in a delightfully Blyton-esque way by getting herself all tangled up in them. Of course there're problems with this... fetishisation of an old British country house and ~British spirit~*, etc, Flavia tampering with crime scenes, the nigh-o ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: next in the series.

Oh, the sweet pure pleasure of reading a Flavia de Luce mystery, the witty and wise 11yo chemist with a propensity for poisons. Book 4 in the series is as fresh and original as book 1 and, I think at this point, my favourite in the series. Making a great Christmas gift as our action takes place on Christmas Eve this is sure to please fans and newcomers alike. Fans will be pleased to see familiar faces but newcomers won't miss a thing just jumping in with th
These are fun, easy, light, reads. For me, the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley is just for fun. I enjoy Flavia and her adventures. I always say that she never sounds like a little girl, but this one was the closest of her being and acting her own age. I really liked that and it made me smile. I also like her family dynamic. It is her anchor and she knows that, even with the tension with her sisters.
There is but one word that appositely describes this book and its predecessors, "delightful." The plot, the setting, and the wonderful character of Flavia de Luce take the word "delightful" and fill it out to its bursting seams. I want to read these stories as fast as I can, and, yet, I want them to never end. I highly recommend this book and the others to anyone who needs a smile, a tug of the heart, a warm fuzzy feeling of comfort and joy. In this latest tale, Flavia's beloved Buckshaw, decayi ...more
Chance Lee
I liked this one, but not as much as the others in the series. It took a while to get going.

The entire book is set in Buckshaw, Flavia's epic estate. This incredible mansion would be a fine enough setting, but I missed Flavia zipping around Bishop's Lacey on her trusty bicycle, Gladys. At the half-way point, the residents Bishop's Lacey comes to Buckshaw for a show. Ah-ha, Flavia doesn't need to travel to Bishop's Lacey; Bishop's Lacey will come to her! This is when I finally became invested in
J. Brook
This novel lacks the wit and descriptive brilliance of the previous installments. Perhaps it was hastily written to meet the Christmastime deadline? It was a quick read, as were the others, but I did not find myself as amused or deliciously satisfied as I had been with its predecessors. Dogger (my favorite) is still the most mysterious and complex character in the series, and I am glad to get a better glimpse into his psyche. However, I would like to see more significant maturation in the charac ...more
I have truly enjoyed this series. (I say “enjoyed” since this is the fourth and latest book in the series. I hope there are more.)

Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old, precocious, independent, and intelligent young girl and an amateur detective. I wouldn’t want to have her as a daughter; she’d be too much for me to handle. As a character in book, however; she is a delight.

She is a bane in the side of the local inspector, since she can’t seem to control her impulses and her curiosity enough to not l
Book Concierge
Audio performed by Jayne Entwhistle

In this 4th installment of the Flavia DeLuce series we find Buckshaw overrun with a cinema crew just at Christmas. It’s the perfect setting for the film and they’ll pay handsomely (keeping the estate afloat for another year). Flavia, however, is much more concerned with whether Father Christmas is real. In an effort to settle the question once and for all, she concocts a chemical trap – her own sort of SuperGlue – which she spreads around the chimneys. Mean
Review from Badelynge.
The de Luce family have suspended their usual Christmas preparations in order to try to generate some much needed cash, hiring out Buckshaw to a film company. Usually Christmas is the one time of the year that the warring sisters declare a temporary truce for the celebrations but that seems unlikely amongst the uproar of visiting film royalty. It's not long before things start going wrong and most of the population of Bishop's Lacy is camped out in the halls, pretty much s
An Odd1
"I am half-sick of shadows" (Flavia 4) by Alan Bradley is from Tennyson's "Lady of Shalott", the red cover and Santa hat, is Flavia de Luce, precocious 11, using her superb chemist skill to test the presence of Father Xmas with birdlime glue on the chimney pot, and celebrate the night with extra-dose gunpowder firecrackers off the roof. For much needed funds, her widowed father Haviland rents their magnificent manor Buckshaw to famous 1950s British movie director Val Lampman. He brings star Phyl ...more
Dec 29, 2011 Ginger rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Every year at Christmas my friend and I listen to a "Christmas Mystery Novel" in the car while driving across the country to visit our families. She was pretty excited about this choice; the detective in question is an 11 year old girl chemist who lives in her family's ancient manor home and solves murders. The "Christmas" element of this novel is that it's set over the holidays and the child becomes obsessed with the idea of capturing Father Christmas through Chemistry as a side plot. In typica ...more
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, the fourth in Alan Bradley’s series of mystery novels featuring the precocious eleven year old sleuth Flavia de Luce is one too many — many times over. This is at least the fourth murder that Flavia has solved within the environs of Buckshaw, the decrepit and crumbling family estate, and since she is eleven years old in all these books, seemingly within a very short span of time. Statistically at least, the dump is a death trap! Even Miss Marple traveled to encounter h ...more
I am half-sick of Flavia de Luce. Yes, in this series she's been a precocious narrator of her own brilliant, amateur sleuthing as well as infatuation with chemistry, especially concerning poisons. There's been a good amount of good humor, as well as violent denouements which don't fit the overall setting.
The setting, a large, old estate in a small town, must have been begging for the full blown "cozy" treatment, because this one delivers that, in your face, to the point that in the end, the Insp
Christmas at Buckshaw is just what I wanted. Only Flavia de Luce would think of flooding an entire portrait gallery to create an indoor ice skating rink. The amateur chemist and detective is back for a holiday adventure. Her overly-logical brain has worked out a plot to “catch” Santa with a sticky chemical solution applied to the roof. She’s so clever it’s easy to forget that she’s still a little girl, wondering if Santa exists.

As the de Luce family’s finances dwindle, Flavia’s father decides t
I listened to this on Audible and what an absolute pleasure! Alan Bradley is so flirtatious and playful with his prose, I'm totally in awe of his significant talent. Flavia deLuce is one of my all time favorite heroines and I especially love her inner monologues. This mystery wasn't as twisty as some of his earlier works, but I still found it thoroughly enjoyable and utterly delightful from beginning to end!
Can't wait to dive into book #4! 3-1/2 months until its release. :)
It's hard for me to admit this, even now, but I don't think I really liked this book. And that's hard because I feel like I *should* like this book: morbid, amoral preteen heroine; tortured yet capable vet; snarky maiden aunt; giant ancestral home filled with drafts and sadness; small village. And this installment, too, had snow and rooftop shenanigans.

Shenanigans, people. I am a sucker for shenanigans.

But overall, I just wasn't moved by it. The writing style's fluid and lambent, and Flavia is a
These amateur sleuths are getting younger (or is it just that I am getting older?) for Flavia de Luce is 11 years old and already she is into her fourth investigation - all successful let us add!

Flavia lives at Buckshaw, a grand country house, and for the Christmas period a film crew is visiting to make a feature film starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Flavia's two sisters, Ophelia ('Feely') and Daphne ('Daffy') are smitten with the star and are really looking forward to the experience.

Usually my first gesture to Christmas is tuning my kitchen and car radios in to the all Christmas music all the time stationright before Thanksgiving. This year I have a whole new and exciting holiday herald! I have the new Flavia de Luce mystery I AmHalf-Sick Of Shadows by Alan Bradley.

Ah Flavia. My girl. The eleven year old chemistry queen and whodunit heroine returns for her fourth foray into Miss Marple-ville. Flavia is working on a super glue that will prove the existence of Santa Claus, h
Imagine living in an old English estate house so large and so old that entire wings are unoccupied, unattended and unheated. Eleven year old Flavia DeLuce take full advantage of this by flooding the hallway of one old wing with water and turning it into an ice skating rink. She explains her love for water in all its forms. Flavia glides gleefully with pigtails flying, candles flickering. After all no one will notice what she has done until it get warm again.

Meanwhile Flavia's father, Col. DeLuc
Paula Marlene
Das vierte Buch in der Flavia Reihe kam mir kürzer vor als die Vorgänger (hatte es an einem Nachmittag durch). Der kriminelle Anteil der Geschichte stand dieses Mal nicht unbedingt im Vordergrund (Flavia stellt, unter anderem, dem Weihnachtsmann eine Falle), aber vielleicht liegt es auch daran, dass ich mich auf alles Familiäre stürze.
Einige Kurzgeschichten nur über die innige Geschwisterliebe, einige tiefe Gespräche mit dem Colonel und auch noch einige Anekdoten über und mit Dogger. Eine klein
Carolyn Hill
As with all the Flavia de Luce books, this was a fun romp. Flavia's father has rented Buckshaw, the family manor house, to a film crew to bring in badly needed funds. Having recently seen My Week with Marilyn, I could easily imagine the film crew taking over Buckshaw. Why they were filming over the Christmas holiday, however, remains one of those questions without a satisfactory answer, except that it suited the plot devices of the author. A snowstorm leaves the entire film crew as well as local ...more
I enjoyed the writing in this mystery about my favorite 11 year old detective and chemist, but think that the plot left something to be desired. Unless I really missed things, how Flavia deduced the killers in this mystery is most unclear. Phyllis Wyvern is found strangled by a piece of movie film in one of the bedrooms at Bradshaw, the de Luce home which is being used as a movie set. As most of the village of Bishop's Lacey is in Bradshaw, arriving to see scenes of Romeo and Juliet acted by Phy ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley 2 11 Jan 29, 2015 04:35PM  
English Mysteries...: This topic has been closed to new comments. New Flavia de Luce book 7 44 Feb 13, 2012 01:50PM  
English Mysteries...: This topic has been closed to new comments. New Flavia de Luce book 1 18 Nov 22, 2011 09:37PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where
More about Alan Bradley...

Other Books in the Series

Flavia de Luce (7 books)
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)
  • The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2)
  • A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3)
  • Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce, #5 )
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)
  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1) The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2) A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3) Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce, #5 ) The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)

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“Books are like oxygen to a deep-sea diver," she had once said. "Take them away and you might as well begin counting the bubbles.” 104 likes
“Although it is pleasant to think about poison at any season, there is something special about Christmas, and I found myself grinning.” 11 likes
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