Nancy McKibben's Reviews > I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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bookshelves: historical-fiction, mystery, reviewed

I am Half-Sick of Shadows
By Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luca, prodigy and girl detective, half-orphan scorned by her sisters and nearly forgotten by her father, spends the days before Christmas plotting a means of unmasking Santa Claus, namely by smearing the chimneys he’s reputed to come down with birdlime:
Birdlime, as any practical chemist will tell you, can be easily manufactured by boiling the middle bark of holly for eight or nine hours, burying it under a stone for a fortnight, and then, when it is disinterred, washing and pulverizing it in running river water and leaving it to ferment . . . now, after six months of preparation, my concoction was powerful to stop a Gabon gorilla in its tracks, and Father Christmas - if he existed - wouldn’t stand a chance.

It was a brilliant plan. I wondered why no one had thought of it before.
Not only do we have Christmas and the entrapment of St. Nicholas, we also get to an enjoy a troupe of actors who roll in to film a movie and are persuaded to give a performance of Romeo and Juliet at Flavia’s home. And if the experience of young Flavia at large among the actors isn’t enough to please us, a blizzard arrives to snow in both audience and actors, and when murder occurs - as we know it must - young Flavia is there to give chase.

And did I mention the fireworks? Personally created, of course, by Flavia.

Flavia’s charm and scientific erudition never seem to wind down, nor do the author’s powers of invention falter, so we can happily anticipate the next installment of our girl detective’s redoubtable adventures.

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Reading Progress

December 20, 2013 – Started Reading
December 21, 2013 – Finished Reading
April 21, 2014 – Shelved
April 21, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
April 21, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
April 21, 2014 – Shelved as: reviewed

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