Ginger's Reviews > I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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's review
Dec 28, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011
Read in December, 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 typical lead child character fashion the girl's mother is long dead, and her father was so shaken by it that he's essentially an absentee dad. Her two older sisters are mysteriously quite mean to the 11 year old, so she is mostly left to her own devices. She spends a lot of time musing mentally over poisons she could make in a devilish way, reminiscent of the voiceovers of American's favorite serial killer Dexter. It was a little creepy. But I did really enjoy the portions of the book dedicated to her family and pronounced loneliness.

I won't spoil the actual murder plot, but it unwinds pretty predictably. Everything takes place in a snowed in English manor so it's a "Oriental Express" style "locked room" mystery. Its also a pretty charming setting.

There was nothing incredibly moving or surprising here, but it seems like a solid mystery series with an interesting twist on characters.

Incidentally, I really love the title.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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MoaningMyrtle I love the title too! Kinda stumped as to how the Lady of Shalot ties in though... :/

message 2: by Meg (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meg Myrtle: I'm pretty sure it references Christie's The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side, which has some plot parallels and leans heavily on The Lady of Shalott. That may not be the only way it fits, though.

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