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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

(Flavia de Luce #4)

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  32,028 ratings  ·  3,633 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Random House Doubleday
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Popular Answered Questions
A P You probably would enjoy it more and know more about Flavia if you read the books in order.
Jennifer Yes, this definitely bothered me. Shes all science and reason, but then believes that theres an immortal man who defies the laws of physics and time…moreYes, this definitely bothered me. She’s all science and reason, but then believes that there’s an immortal man who defies the laws of physics and time to deliver gifts to all children worldwide in a night?

While she may seem isolated at Buckshaw, she presumably goes to school and interacts with other 11-year olds. Believing in Santa in sixth grade would result in ridicule at any junior high. At the very least, her logic would be questioned.

Also she understands the intricacies of pregnancy but not how babies are made and born? Surely by now she would’ve stumbled across an anatomy or biology book and read about it. (less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
IN MY ELEVEN YEARS of life Ive 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 doesnt have to leave her small town of Bishops Lacey to find a steady supply of bodies recently discarded by their souls. Due to precarious pecuniary circumstances Flavias father has recently rented out the ancestral home of Buckshaw to a film crew. Flavia has been busy in her long
...more
Jenny
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Mr. Bradley, write faster!
Danielle Young
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Carolyn
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this might be my favourite of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series yet. She still gets herself into scrapes (and just wait until you see what she is cooking up for Santa Claus in her chemistry lab) but she seems to be growing up and is less an annoying child and more an insightful, but nosy (and still precocious) pre-adolescent.

In the week before Christmas, Flavia's impoverished father, Colonel Haviland de Luce has rented out the use of their stately home, Buckshaw House, to a film
...more
Emma
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Really enjoyed this one! We get some hints about Dogger and Aunt Felicitys past and Flavia attempts to prove the existence of Father Christmas by scientific means. This one has a slightly Agatha Christie vibe to it. Loved the ice rink at the beginning of the book! ...more
Chris
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old alchemist and super sleuth. She actually has her own laboratory in the de Luce country estate, thanks to her deceased Uncle Tar. She is quite precocious. She is brilliant and not afraid of anything and is very observant and nosy, which gets her in a lot of trouble. She does get herself back out of trouble because she is able to figure out and manipulate how. I know, Im describing an 11 year old girl and those characteristics just dont seem normal for an 11 year ...more
Tatiana
May 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Richard Derus
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jennifer
Not much of a mystery, but fun enough if you like the cast of characters and are interested in the larger story arc about Bishop's Lacy, its inhabitants, and their pasts. Flavia is as long-nosed and incorrigible as ever. Homemade fireworks are involved.
Nicky
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery
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 ...more
Josie
Jan 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carl
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Laima
***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 1940s-1950's era.

Flavia is quite a character, someone straight out of the
...more
Claire Huston
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely spiffing! 4.5/5 stars

This review was originally posted on my book blog.

I listened to the audiobook version of I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, narrated by Sophie Aldred.

I picked up this audiobook from the library because it was the only title in the mp3 range which appealed to me. I didnt have a clue that its number 4 in a series, and Im very happy to report it made very little difference to my enjoyment of the story.

I LOVED this. It took a while to get used to Flavias incredibly
...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
...more
Lata
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't care that much about the mysteries in this series. I read these books to spend time with the inimitable Flavia de Luce. She's often hilarious as she goes about her home and Bishop's Lacey while commenting on everything and everyone, and while plotting new ways to respond to Feely's and Daffy's taunts and put-downs. Though she doesn't spend much time on it, Flavia shows us how her sisters' behaviour hurts her deeply.
This installment, Flavia wants to find proof of Father Christmas
...more
Donna
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
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.
Netta
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
A witty homage to the Golden Age of detective fiction and its dame Agatha Christie, though, honestly, having read four books of the series, I'm so in love with Flavia, that I would not mind this book being just a story of de Luce family with bits of a decent detective. Flavia is Conan Doyle-ish sort of a detective, and yet she's a very touching 11 year old girl, who hunts down not only murderers but Father Christmas too. I'd love to conclude this mess of a review with a quote that nearly made me ...more
Kathy
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, ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Book 4 of the Flavia de Luce series, this was actually the third Ive read since I havent yet got my hands on book 3. In this one, it is Christmas time at Bishops Lacey, and Colonel de Luce, in even more dire straits has decided to let out Buckshaw to a film crew. To her surprise the famous actress Phyllis Wyvern has heard of Flavia (her success as a detective previously), and they strike up something of a friendship, Ms Wyvern seeming to understand Flavia more than others do. But before long ...more
Kevin
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The only disappointment I found in this book was that it ended at 300 pages instead of at 3000. I adore Flavia De Luce. She is one of my favorite characters in all fiction.

A couple of quotes from this series:

Tell them we may not be praying with them," Father told the Vicar, "but we are at least not actively praying against them.

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.

Anyone who knew the word slattern was
...more
Katie  Hanna
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not on par with Agatha Christie's plotting (let's face it: WHO IS?) but nevertheless, a delightfully morbid and cozily atmospheric British country-house mystery, starring an 11yr old chemistry prodigy. I enjoyed this, and I'll be checking out the rest of the series soon.
Book Concierge
Audio performed by Jayne Entwhistle
3***

In this 4th installment of the Flavia DeLuce series we find Buckshaw overrun with a cinema crew just at Christmas. Its the perfect setting for the film and theyll 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.
...more
Chance Lee
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
...more
Deanna
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, mystery, uno-red
It's Christmas time at Buckshaw in the fifth Flavia du Luce mystery, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows; but this Christmas promises to be quite different. In order to earn money to pay off the family's debts, Colonel du Luce has rented our the use of Buckshaw to a film company. The whole village is excited about the imminent arrival of the famous film star, Phyllis Wyvern. The vicar asks the actress if she would be willing to do a short scene in order to help raise money for roof repair, and she quickly ...more
Michael
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, detective, mystery
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
...more
Barbara
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
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 wouldnt want to have her as a daughter; shed 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 cant seem to control her impulses and her curiosity enough to not look
...more
J. Brook
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Asghar Abbas
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it

Delightful as always
never change Flavia, never change
Even if faux Britishness is too much at times.

Following, not Nolan's movie, is the direct result of an idea impelled while reading this wonderful book :

https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog...


Trisha
Oct 19, 2012 rated it liked it
another great audio book. The girl reading it is so great at really bringing out Flavia.

honestly what is Flavia's sister's issues though. They are so cruel to her.
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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
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Other books in the series

Flavia de Luce (10 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)
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)
  • The Grave's a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce, #9)
  • The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce, #10)

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