Sian Jones's Reviews > I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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's review
Jan 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-person-narrator, mystery
Read in January, 2012

For me, the success of an individual book in this series depends on the balance between its focus on the emotional world of the astonishing 11-year-old narrator, Flavia, and the more standard murder mystery elements. If those mystery elements provide an impetus for discovering more about Flavia's world, and if the book can convince me that the murder is necessary for that discovery, rather than just convenient, the more I enjoy myself. This installment does a slightly better job of incorporating the murder by using Buckshaw as the scene of the crime, but in all honesty, I didn't care as much who killed the actress as I did about finding out the outcome of Flavia's attempts to catch Santa Claus with pitch on the roof. Much as I love Flavia's voice and story, when the murder starts seeming incidental in a murder mystery, you can't really call the book an unqualified success. I'm starting to look forward to a Flavia book without a murder artificially inserted in it.

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