Jenn Ravey's Reviews > I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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Jan 27, 2012

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Why am I bringing you a book with a Christmas cover on Halloween? Well, duh, because it also has a skeleton. And poison. And a dead body or two. Yes, my friends, the new Flavia de Luce novel is out tomorrow, and if you've read any of these books you know it's the best candy out there. So put aside the M&Ms, Butterfinger bars, and salted caramels, and pick this up instead. You won't regret it in the morning.

Buckshaw, the de Luce estate is not faring well in 1950. There isn't enough money to keep it up because Harriet, Flavia's mother died before being able to write her will. Thus, Buckshaw is being overrun by a film crew who rents the place out for a period film. Colonel de Luce is none too pleased, but the family home is at stake.

Everyone is starstruck when film star Phyllis Wyvern arrives on set, but Flavia has other things on her mind: Father Christmas. She has developed a powerful glue to trap him to determine if he's real or not. Of course, she's never too busy to be the observant, precocious 11-year-old Flavia. When the vicar asks Miss Wyvern to lend her talent to help raise funds to save the church roof, Buckshaw is full to bursting and a blizzard hits, trapping everyone inside with a murderer in their midst.

As usual, Alan Bradley writes Flavia in such a way that she absolutely cracks me up. When one of the transport department introduces himself, calling her "little girl" and presuming to know her name, this is Flavia's response:

I had half a mind to march upstairs to my laboratory, fetch down a jar of cyanide, seize this boob's nose, tilt his head back, pour the stuff down his throat, and hang the consequences.

Fortunately, good breeding kept me from doing so.

Flavia is just so darn smart.

My only complaint is that this book was entirely too short (the denouement felt very rushed), and I do not want to wait for the next one to come out. I think especially since it's a "holiday" edition, it was a lot shorter than the last three. Alas, I guess that's the complaint every author wants to hear...give me more!

Who else out there is a fan of Flavia?

Read this: in a sitting, with a mug of hot chocolate at your side.

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