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

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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Feb 22, 2012

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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 her mischief. [return][return]This time a film crew is camped out over Christmas to shoot scenes for a new film featuring the aging cinema doyen Phyllis Wyvern. A winter storm traps all in the mansion while half the local villagers are attending a charity performance staged by the film’s stars. During the night — murder most foul! [return][return]While the plot is a lot of fun in the typical English cozy mystery manner, the settings and sidelights are repeated again and again from the previous three books. We know that Flavia’s older sisters hate her, that her father suffers from a philatelic addiction worse than Holmes' morphine, that her mother is presumed dead in some foreign spy intrigue and that Dogger the handyman suffers occasional flashbacks from the horrible torture he went through during the war. Dogger is also brilliant and can do just about anything.[return][return]If the series continues there will have to be some developments to broaden the playing field. At the least let Flavia age gracefully from book to book. Even Harry Potter allowed that.
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