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A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce #3)

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Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey--mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard. Flavia ha Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey--mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard. Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse--that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce's drawing room. Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession--a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.


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Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey--mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard. Flavia ha Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop's Lacey--mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia's own backyard. Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse--that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce's drawing room. Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession--a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.

30 review for A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce #3)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”ALONE AT LAST! Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.” Flavia de Luce Flavia de Luce spends a lot of time by herself somewhat by choice and somewhat by her incompatibility with the rest of the household. She is the youngest of three daughters and is most decidedly lacking from any constructive supervision. Her father is a philatelist and spends most of his time intently examining stamps with a magnifying glass for those ”ALONE AT LAST! Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.” Flavia de Luce Flavia de Luce spends a lot of time by herself somewhat by choice and somewhat by her incompatibility with the rest of the household. She is the youngest of three daughters and is most decidedly lacking from any constructive supervision. Her father is a philatelist and spends most of his time intently examining stamps with a magnifying glass for those hairline faults that make them valuable and collectible. Her mother Harriet, the source of the family money, and the owner of the Buckshaw estate, had the audacity to disappear into the wilds of Nepal. She is presumed dead. Money is tight because the family estate is tied up, with much uncertainty of ever being resolved, because of the premature demise of Harriet. So even though they live on this grand family estate it is slowly crumbling down around their ears. Wallpaper dangles from walls and ceilings. There are more drafts every year and the gardens have been turned back to nature. Flavia spends most of her time trying to avoid her older sisters Ophelia (Feely) and Daphne (Daffy). Those aren’t exactly endearing nicknames that Flavia has assigned them, but they have been well earned. Feely is concerned about clothes and improving her already beautiful complexion. Daffy is a voracious reader, and rarely takes her eyes from the pages unless it is to help Feely with their latest bit of fun torturing Flavia. The whole de Luce family is left to their own devices becoming more and more caricatures of themselves and less the well rounded individuals they would be if Harriet were still in the picture. Flavia whenever possible escapes to her laboratory. Her great-uncle Tarquin de Luce had installed a full working laboratory with bunsen burners, shelves of chemicals, and beakers which provides everything an eleven year old with an inquisitive mind needs to discover the mysteries of the universe. Finding her hands covered with blood she muses about the components of this red substance. ”Red blood cells, I remembered from my chemical experiment, were really not much more than a happy soup of water, sodium, potassium, chloride, and phosphorus. Mix them together in the proper proportions, though, and they formed a viscous liquid jelly: a jelly with mystic capabilities, one that could contain in its scarlet complexities not just nobility but also treachery.” She makes the family cook cry. Like most eleven year old girls she is capable of moments of great cruelty, but forget that part, tears are so interesting. ”I had a special fascination with tears. Chemical analyses of my own and those of others had taught me that tears were a rich and wonderful broth, whose chief ingredients were water, potassium, proteins, manganese, various yeasty enzymes, fats, oils, and waxes, with a good dollop of sodium chloride thrown in, perhaps for taste. In sufficient quantities, they made for a powerful cleanser.” Flavia is only eleven, but in the course of this her third adventure she is going to find her third dead body. (She is the Jessica Fletcher of Bishop’s Lacey.) Crime fascinates her and dead bodies aren’t really people, but fresh research specimens. It all begins with her going to see a gypsy to have her fortune told. In the process she manages to light the tent on fire. (These things tend to happen around Flavia.) In an act of self-preservation from the fire and from the impending punishment she flees the tent. The old gypsy woman does manage to escape the fiery inferno left in Flavia’s wake and in an act of contrition Flavia invites her to move her caravan to the family estate. Later when she comes to check on the gypsy she finds her bloodied and battered and this time reacts with more courage and saves her life. Who would want to hurt an old gypsy woman? The tale is older than Flavia. Meanwhile a body shows up dangling from Poseidon's trident in the Buckshaw gardens with a de Luce silver shell fish fork stuck up one nostril. This is the very same young man that Flavia caught in the house the night before attempting to liberate an antique from the house. This sends Flavia on a flurry of investigations that somehow all have to be tied into a bow if she is ever going to find out the truth. She is beset with red herrings. ”...a cup of ale without a wench, why, alas, ‘tis like an egg without salt or a red herring without mustard.” Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene A Looking Glasse, for London and Englande (1592) She is attacked by a gigantic rooster during a bit of snooping and illegal entry. She is chased about by unscrupulous antique dealers. She meets Porcelain, a niece of the gypsy woman, and doesn’t realize how lonely she is until she meets a person that is odd enough to be a real friend to her. Flavia, as always, is in trouble with the police. Her curiosity will not let anything lie despite orders to the contrary. She discovers hidden passages beneath Buckshaw that had been forgotten for generations. This takes her to icky places she has never been before. ”Even though I ducked the thing, its slimy finger still managed to caress my face, as if it were dying for want of human company.” And what is going on with the Wobblers? They are a sect of religious fanatics that believe their children must be dunked in running water by the heel in the same way as Achilles. Their membership is secret, but then secrets are what Flavia most likes to unlock. So spend some time with a precocious young lady growing up in England shortly after WW2. She will make you feel proud to know her one moment quickly followed by the need to give her a good shake the next. She hatches elaborate plans of revenge against her foes (her sisters), but always manages to restrain herself from actually launching them. Sometimes planning the demise of our most ardent enemies is cathartic enough without actually destroying them. These aren’t the type of books that I would typically read, but when each new volume comes out I become a buying zombie. I know how it is to feel lonely in a house full of people. I only wish I’d possessed Flavia’s moxie. Oh and Flavia a word please…”Spare us the pout. There’s enough lip in the world without you adding to it.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Full Disclosure--I'm in love with Flavia de Luce, the 11 year old who is deeply devoted to the study of chemistry, with a special interest in poisons, and an amateur sleuth. Flavia spends her time humoring her widowed father, who spends most of his time engrossed in stamp collecting, and bedeviling and avoiding her two older sisters--17 year old Ophelia whose passion is music and 13 year old Daphne whose passion is reading. In this third in the Flavia de Luce series, beginning with The Sweetness Full Disclosure--I'm in love with Flavia de Luce, the 11 year old who is deeply devoted to the study of chemistry, with a special interest in poisons, and an amateur sleuth. Flavia spends her time humoring her widowed father, who spends most of his time engrossed in stamp collecting, and bedeviling and avoiding her two older sisters--17 year old Ophelia whose passion is music and 13 year old Daphne whose passion is reading. In this third in the Flavia de Luce series, beginning with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Flavia is up to her old adventures and in and out of trouble as only an 11 year old with almost total freedom and a trusty bicycle named Gladys can be. Set in the small English village of Bishop's Lacey after World War II, this book has everything--a baby that has been missing for years, an accused gypsy whose tent at the village fete burns, and a corpse found hanging on a statue in a fountain at Buckshaw, the de Luce estate. And, of course, Flavia finds herself squarely in the middle of the ensuing events. Not only are there red herrings, but there is someone who is running around the village with a pronounced fishy smell. Thank goodness for Kindle. I bought this book the day it was released and I'm eagerly awaiting the next adventure in the series. A word of advice--read these books, but read them in order. It pays to get to know Flavia and her family. Kudos, Mr. Bradley

  3. 5 out of 5

    Crowinator

    As always, a delight. One-sentence summary: Flavia de Luce returns in her third mystery, investigating a long-ago missing child, the brutal attack on a gypsy fortune-teller, and a murdered local thug. I feel like I've already said everything I need to about this series in my short reviews of the other two books. This one isn't any different -- it's delightful, charming, and funny, but it has dark undertones (her sisters' treatment of Flavia, which seems to be worse in this book; her father's abs As always, a delight. One-sentence summary: Flavia de Luce returns in her third mystery, investigating a long-ago missing child, the brutal attack on a gypsy fortune-teller, and a murdered local thug. I feel like I've already said everything I need to about this series in my short reviews of the other two books. This one isn't any different -- it's delightful, charming, and funny, but it has dark undertones (her sisters' treatment of Flavia, which seems to be worse in this book; her father's absent-minded neglect; the family's looming money troubles; and oh yeah, all the murders). Obviously, Flavia carries the series, and you either love it or hate it on the basis of her character, because you can't escape her point of view: she is terribly deceitful and cunning and prideful, too smart to see how foolish she is, but she has a vulnerable and even a naive side that helps you remember that she's only a child, and a lonely one at that. My favorite part of this series so far is seeing how the relationship between Flavia and Inspector Hewitt develops: both his wry but protective treatment of her and her fantasies of earning his esteem as a detective. Flavia's near-obsession with him and with his pretty wife are funny but heartbreaking. At one point, she daydreams about being invited to tea, I think, where they both shower her with attention, and to me it shows how much she longs for a fully-engaged, demonstrative family. (Also it shows her delusions of grandeur, which is the dark side to Flavia's flights of fancy; she is entirely too in love with her genius to admit to any faults of her own.) I love that he actually invites her to visit at the end! She needs someone wholly on her side and willing to do what it takes to mold her into the best detective she can be -- because otherwise, she may turn into a criminal mastermind one day.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    I loved the first book in this series, and was not disappointed in the followup, although there seemed to be a lot more sadness in the life of the precocious 11 year old Flavia this time. She is still an intrepid detective, and her fights with her sisters have some of the funniest lines I've read in years, but the dysfunction in the family had a very lonely edge to it that made it hard to have as much FUN. The depth of it, however, was really fascinating. The mystery in this installment was very I loved the first book in this series, and was not disappointed in the followup, although there seemed to be a lot more sadness in the life of the precocious 11 year old Flavia this time. She is still an intrepid detective, and her fights with her sisters have some of the funniest lines I've read in years, but the dysfunction in the family had a very lonely edge to it that made it hard to have as much FUN. The depth of it, however, was really fascinating. The mystery in this installment was very fun/interesting as last time, and I just really enjoy this series, so if you're a mystery fan, check it out from the beginning!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    3.5 stars. Flavia continues to be the gem in these books. A blend of vulnerable and feisty, dogged and determined. I admire her tenacity and resilience and her ability to create a rich and full life for herself.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    If you are contemplating reading A Red Herring Without Mustard you probably already adore Flavia de Luce, a precocious 12-year old amateur sleuth. If you feel wishy-washy about the girl, don't expect her to undergo a major personality transformation in this book, Flavia remains the same smart, naive, sneaky, lying chemist/detective as she was in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. And I wouldn't have her any other way. As such series go, whenever a If you are contemplating reading A Red Herring Without Mustard you probably already adore Flavia de Luce, a precocious 12-year old amateur sleuth. If you feel wishy-washy about the girl, don't expect her to undergo a major personality transformation in this book, Flavia remains the same smart, naive, sneaky, lying chemist/detective as she was in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. And I wouldn't have her any other way. As such series go, whenever a sleuth emerges, her/his residence immediately becomes a criminal hot zone. Same goes for such a tiny village as Bishop's Lacey. It's been only 2 months since the events of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and here Flavia comes across a few more major crimes. First, after attending a local fete and accidentally setting a Gypsy fortune-teller's tent on fire, Flavia feels obligated to help out the said Gypsy woman and offers her to spend the night on her property. Too bad, she finds this woman beaten into pulp the next day and barely manages to save her life. And second, just hours later she comes across the dead body of a local riffraff fellow in her own yard. Of course, Flavia can't leave these crimes to the police. She lies, she conceals evidence, she breaks into places and, naturally, she uncovers the truth! It is Flavia who carries this entire series. I am not sure the mysteries themselves are all that complex, but what makes these books so darn entertaining is the narrator herself. She is funny, she is cheeky, she is simultaneously innocent and cunning, basically, she is one the most charismatic narrator I've ever come across. If you love Flavia de Luce, there is absolutely no way this book will disappoint you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    In this third book in this charming and entertaining series, Flavia invites a gypsy and her caravan to stay on the family estate (after accidently burning down her tent at a fair), only to find the woman beaten nearly to death the following morning. She later finds a dead body in the grounds of her house, a man who she earlier caught prowling inside the house up to something fishy and is determined to find out what he was up to. It's always delightful to spend a few hours with Flavia deLuce. Youn In this third book in this charming and entertaining series, Flavia invites a gypsy and her caravan to stay on the family estate (after accidently burning down her tent at a fair), only to find the woman beaten nearly to death the following morning. She later finds a dead body in the grounds of her house, a man who she earlier caught prowling inside the house up to something fishy and is determined to find out what he was up to. It's always delightful to spend a few hours with Flavia deLuce. Youngest daughter of an old but impoverished aristocratic family struggling post WW2 to keep up the estate, 11 y old Flavia is left very much up to her own devices when not being terrorised by her older sisters. Her socialite mother disappeared while climbing mountains when Flavia was still a baby, her father has never recovered and copes by immersing himself in his stamp collection, not facing up to his estate falling down around him and with only a fleeting interest in what his daughters are up to. Flavia is smart and curious and has inherited her great Uncle's chemistry lab where she likes nothing better than studying poisons. Recently she has become known for finding dead bodies and solving their murders through her sharp wits and her ability to sleuth throughout the countryside on her trusty bicycle while disarming people with her youth and polite questions to reveal secrets and clues to her. Always fun to visit the eccentric deLuce family and their staff, the interesting characters of the surrounding villages and the long suffering local police.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shayantani Das

    I absolutely love Flavia, this precocious yet not obnoxious child sleuth has won over my heart, and I absolutely love her. Which is why I totally love this book, because it shows us a little more about Flavia. Behind the lab glasses and witty remarks, lies the heart of a small kid, who misses his mother, and is hurt by her sister’s hatred towards her. Some scenes were very very touching, and although really emotional scenes sometimes fail to move me, Flavia with her simple emotions almost made m I absolutely love Flavia, this precocious yet not obnoxious child sleuth has won over my heart, and I absolutely love her. Which is why I totally love this book, because it shows us a little more about Flavia. Behind the lab glasses and witty remarks, lies the heart of a small kid, who misses his mother, and is hurt by her sister’s hatred towards her. Some scenes were very very touching, and although really emotional scenes sometimes fail to move me, Flavia with her simple emotions almost made me cry. The mystery part of the book was excellent, better than the first two books i think (although seriously, who cares). Flavia has her future predicted by a gypsy woman and later brought her home (after burning her caravan, hehe) only to have her attacked in the middle of the night. And thus Flavia had another juicy mystery in her hand, which she is determined to solve before the police does. Its, like Flavia say “jolly fun” . Her witty remarks, naïve yet very intelligent persona always kept me entertained and I almost obsessively added quotes from the book. I would have added the whole book to be honest, because I thoroughly enjoyed every line from it. I wanted to prolong reading this book , to enjoy Flaiva’s company for as long as I could, but the book got so interesting in the end that I couldn’t stop. I don’t know how I will survive till the next book comes out. I think I will reread the series again, because I honestly don’t think I will ever grow tired of riding with Flavia on Gladys, through the fields of Bishop’s Lacy or watching her as she adds hydrogen Sulphide in her sitter’s chocolate, or puts poison ivy in her lipstick. What JOLLY FUN! Highly Recommended. 5++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ stars, hehe. I know I have added them already, but few of my favorite quotes: "I remembered Father remarking once that if rudeness was not attributable to ignorance it could be taken as a sure sign that one was speaking to a member of the aristocracy." "I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers for instance or oatmeal. Then when the fugitive word was least expecting it I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness." An this.. "I had to make water ” I said. It was the classic female excuse and no male in recorded history had ever questioned it. “I see ” the Inspector said and left it at that. Later I would have a quick piddle behind the caravan for insurance purposes. No one would be any the wiser." (Isn’t she just awesome?) Last one, and my new mantra "Compared with my life Cinderella was a spoiled brat."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    Perhaps I took too long to read A Red Herring Without Mustard. If I'd zipped through it on sunny Sunday afternoon, the rambling plot would have been a trifle to be indulged instead of endured. About two-thirds of the way in, brakes were put on the pace and the exposition became redundant. There were heaps of elements that I did love, namely Flavia and her irascible, invincible spirit. Bradley loves this little girl and taking care to round out her precociousness with vulnerability. Flavia is tak Perhaps I took too long to read A Red Herring Without Mustard. If I'd zipped through it on sunny Sunday afternoon, the rambling plot would have been a trifle to be indulged instead of endured. About two-thirds of the way in, brakes were put on the pace and the exposition became redundant. There were heaps of elements that I did love, namely Flavia and her irascible, invincible spirit. Bradley loves this little girl and taking care to round out her precociousness with vulnerability. Flavia is taking on layers as a character as she begins to shed the innocence of childhood and enters the dark world of adolescence. She is becoming more self-aware and multi-dimensional. The settings of Buckshaw and Bishop's Lacey become more significant, offering greater delights and deeper tensions. The cloud hanging over Buckshaw grows as the family's fiduciary status weakens, and Flavia’s sisters' teasing borders on torture. But for all her precociousness and savvy sleuthing, Flavia’s pigheaded blundering into crime scenes left me terrifically annoyed with Bradley. Flavia knows better than to traipse through blood, muck about with corpses, and smear her fingerprints all over murder weapons. Bradley does his heroine a great disservice in dumbing her down and creating comic book scenes of her escapades. It is a challenge for the author to show more heart and soul in some of the secondary characters, because we see them only through Flavia’s eyes. Her father, Dogger, Inspector Hewitt, and Porcelain- those characters whom Flavia regards with sympathy or holds in awe- are given the most flesh on their bones. It’s as if Bradley can’t commit to writing a good mystery, relying instead on his irresistible heroine to carry the day and for that, the whole construct suffers. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: I’m not a great reader of mysteries, so the whodunit aspect isn’t a deal-breaker for me. But Good Golly, I still demand a good STORY. And if you are writing a mystery, well, silly is fine, but just don’t let me yawn. Herring got off to an enchanting and intriguing start, and promised to be much better than …the Hangman’s Bag, but the too-brief foray into Gypsy culture, the inexplicable tangent of the Hobbler sect, and the plopping in and pulling out of Fenella and Porcelain (character, not china) were as disappointing as hydroponic tomatoes- a pretty package hiding flavorless pulp. The weak story was my central gripe about book #2 and if anything, #3 was a greater disappointment, if only because it started out with such promise. I remain convinced that Flavia is worthy of better, and greater, challenges.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Warning: I am going to gush. I adore Flavia DeLuce!! Honestly this 11 year old precocious chemist is someone I wish were a friend or maybe I could be her brilliant uncle...maybe my favorite character in any fiction! In a word, delightful! A couple of my favorite quotes... "Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend." "Tell them we may not be praying with them," Father told the Vicar, "but we are at least not actively praying against them." "It is not unknown for fathers with Warning: I am going to gush. I adore Flavia DeLuce!! Honestly this 11 year old precocious chemist is someone I wish were a friend or maybe I could be her brilliant uncle...maybe my favorite character in any fiction! In a word, delightful! A couple of my favorite quotes... "Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend." "Tell them we may not be praying with them," Father told the Vicar, "but we are at least not actively praying against them." "It is not unknown for fathers with a brace of daughters to reel off their names in order of birth when summoning the youngest, and I had long ago become accustomed to being called 'Ophelia Daphne Flavia, damn it.' "She consumed books like a whale eats krill." "You never know what you're getting into when you stick your nose in other people's rubbish." Start this fabulous series with the brilliant and Edgar Award winning,"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie." I just finished "A Red Herring Without Mustard" and thought it was a dazzling 5 star book. I was actually saddened when it was over. My highest of recommendations! This one is truly a great and fun read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    This was a wonderful book choice to transition me from 2011 to 2012. Flavia is so much fun! She’s a hoot. But, with each book, I also find her more & more endearing. And she really makes me appreciate chemistry. For the first time I’m enjoying Gladys as her own character, not just as an accoutrement of Flavia’s. I would have preferred Roma to Gypsy, though this is historical fiction and I’m sure the term is more correctly used for this time and place. But then right away the word for horse was This was a wonderful book choice to transition me from 2011 to 2012. Flavia is so much fun! She’s a hoot. But, with each book, I also find her more & more endearing. And she really makes me appreciate chemistry. For the first time I’m enjoying Gladys as her own character, not just as an accoutrement of Flavia’s. I would have preferred Roma to Gypsy, though this is historical fiction and I’m sure the term is more correctly used for this time and place. But then right away the word for horse was given in the Romany language so I was satisfied. So, I read this almost immediately after reading book 2 and my thought was I’d go on almost immediately to book 4, but it turns out that for all the griping I do about waiting for each next book in a series to be available, I think there is something to be said for enjoying series books more if there is some time in-between them. I think I’ll wait at least several months to continue with this series; I have too many books at the top of my queue to do anything else anyway. I love how Flavia says: “…because I was only eleven years old, I was wrapped in the best cloak of invisibility in the world.” This series is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I love how the scary parts are short and not too scary. In this book, I nearly cried with emotion at the last line and nearly laughed when I turned the page to read the short author’s note. And, I didn’t guess the mystery in full, not at all, and I enjoy having good clues yet being kept basically in the dark. I read so many mysteries I often do guess them, which can be fun but I prefer being surprised. 4 ½ stars I just upped the other books in this series from 4 to 5 stars. Its protagonist is just too unique for me to feel otherwise.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. While Flavia remains brilliant, funny, annoyed at being excluded from investigations when she keeps providing Inspector Hewitt his best clues, I had some trouble with the plot of this story. The Hobblers and stolen goods stuff kept eluding my interest, though it was important to the resolution of the story. And what the heck is with Feelie and Daffy? Why are they so mean to Flavia? Not having had sisters, I don't get their attitude towards Flavia.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Review from Badelynge This third outing of Alan Bradley's irrepressible Flavia De Luce gets the series back up to top form. Flavia saves the life of an old Gypsy fortune-teller who has been beaten and left for dead. Ok our young heroine had almost managed to burn her to a crisp the previous evening but the less said about such details the better. Flavia sets out to track down the assailant, trampling over several crime scenes in the process, bamboozling the local constabulary and driving her fami Review from Badelynge This third outing of Alan Bradley's irrepressible Flavia De Luce gets the series back up to top form. Flavia saves the life of an old Gypsy fortune-teller who has been beaten and left for dead. Ok our young heroine had almost managed to burn her to a crisp the previous evening but the less said about such details the better. Flavia sets out to track down the assailant, trampling over several crime scenes in the process, bamboozling the local constabulary and driving her family to new levels of embarrassment. Flavia can't resist the siren call of an unsolved serious misdemeanor, so when a body is found hung on an ornamental fountain in the grounds of Buckshaw Flavia is ecstatic. Never mind justice - think of the opportunities to prove her cleverness to that lovely man Inspector Hewitt. Perhaps he'll even invite her to tea. The second book stepped over the line a few times with the added absurdities of the world of the puppet show. The fun, tongue in cheek adventures of Flavia combined with the exaggerated staginess of puppeteering didn't quite complement each other. This one is much more to my liking. We also get the introduction of a new character called Porcelain Lee who is a great inclusion, mainly because of her ability to bamboozle the bamboozler. She also gets a wonderful scene homaging perhaps Du Maurier's Rebecca, as she appears on the staircase dressed as Flavia's late mother Harriet. It's the ability to bring off that sort of a poignant vibe counterpointing the cheeky adventures of our precocious investigator that sets these books aside from a lot of its competitors. Bravo to Mr Bradley. And please sir, can we have some more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    L.M.

    I'm telling you I love these books so much I'm afraid to share them. I would be sad to hear anyone say anything negative about my girl Flavia. These are the Agatha Christie books for the young at heart. I absolutely adore them, and each is even better than the last.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    I absolutely adore Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11 year old who tries to solve the murders that seem to be occuring quite frequently in the town of Bishop's Lacy. (I listen to audio, so forgive me if I spell things wrong.) Quite frankly, the little village has so many murders, I would think one would be safer living in South Los Angeles. Reading A Red Herring Without Mustard, I realized what makes the character of Flavia so appealing. She is extremely intelligent, perhaps too much for her own go I absolutely adore Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11 year old who tries to solve the murders that seem to be occuring quite frequently in the town of Bishop's Lacy. (I listen to audio, so forgive me if I spell things wrong.) Quite frankly, the little village has so many murders, I would think one would be safer living in South Los Angeles. Reading A Red Herring Without Mustard, I realized what makes the character of Flavia so appealing. She is extremely intelligent, perhaps too much for her own good. However, she's pretty naive about a lot of things as well. She doesn't realize that her sisters do love her even though they constantly torment her. She doesn't realize the implications of her father's financial situation. She doesn't see herself the way others see her and it shocks her when people tell her things about herself that she can't imagine being true. I am starting to wonder a few things about Flavia and her family. First, does Flavia ever go to school? What about her sisters? I think all three books have taken place during one summer, but Flavia never mentions the last school year or the upcoming one. We learn in this book that Flavia doesn't have any friends. Why? Is it because she doesn't go to school? I also wonder why her mother went mountain climbing in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby. It seems quite odd. Is it possible that the mountain climbing story is a cover up for something else that happened to Harriet? Could it be that she's not really dead? I also have to wonder why the Colonel's name is de Luce as well as the girls when it's pointed out that the house and money belonged to Harriet. She was the de Luce, not the Colonel. Did he take her name when they married? And, wouldn't he and/or the girls have inherited the house and money when Harriet died? It seems as if they didn't. does that mean that Harriet just disappeared? The fact that I'm wondering these things and hoping that my questions get answered in future volumes just goes to show how involved I've become with Flavia's story. However, I do hope that she's twelve years old by the next time we see her. I hope she's in school too. As usual, Jane Entwhistle did a terrific job of narrating. She captures Flavia's energy and enthusiasm perfectly. In this installment, she also does a great job of voicing Flavia's naivety too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Review: 53 of seventy-five Title: [A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD] Authors: [[ALAN BRADLEY]] Rating: 4.125* of five The Book Report: Flavia de Luce of Buckshaw, Bishop's Lacey, is in it up to her neck again in this third outing of Alan Bradley's wildly popular series. This time she burns down a gypsy woman's fortune-telling tent, takes the woman home over her father's presumed objections, and then finds the lady bludgeoned almost to death in her caravan. Next up is a meeting with the gypsy's semi-esta Review: 53 of seventy-five Title: [A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD] Authors: [[ALAN BRADLEY]] Rating: 4.125* of five The Book Report: Flavia de Luce of Buckshaw, Bishop's Lacey, is in it up to her neck again in this third outing of Alan Bradley's wildly popular series. This time she burns down a gypsy woman's fortune-telling tent, takes the woman home over her father's presumed objections, and then finds the lady bludgeoned almost to death in her caravan. Next up is a meeting with the gypsy's semi-estanged granddaughter, deliciously yclept Porcelain, whose surprise presence in the crime-scene caravan causes Flavia to be assaulted and, subsequently, to invite the woman home with her. While escorting the younger gypsy into Buckshaw, her rambling, underheated Stately Home, Flavia espies a for-sure corpse dangling from Poseidon's trident. (That's one of Buckshaw's fountains, not the real Poseidon, of course.) It proves to be local ne'er-do-well and remittance man Brookie Harewood, last seen slouching about in Flavia's drawing room! Will the wonders never cease! No, in fact, they won't, and Bradley spins a net for every red herring imaginable as Flavia encounters forgers, thieves, religious dissenters called Hobblers who baptize babies a la grecqueOne empathizes with Colonel de Luce, widower and soon-to-be bankrupt. He has a precocious daughter. Poor bastard. My Review: Whatever else it is, this book is fun. It's just plain old-fashioned chuckle-inducing fun. It's a little ramshackle, what with the plot holes and all, and the behavioral improbability index starts high and never comes down, but so what? Flavia's chemistry fetish caused me to smirk a bit in the first book, [The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie], and her all-around precocity wasn't helping stuff. I found the Colonel to be an absurd character, someone directly from the Wodehouse Warehouse. There just isn't enough vitriol to heap on Flavia's horrid sisters, Ophelia and Daphne (Feely and Daffy to Flavia). But here's the thing: Each of these characters is reported in Flavia's first-person, eleven-year-old perspective. Keep that in mind, and there is a sudden SNAP as the lenses in the optometrist's big, black machine fall into place: “Better now, or now?” And that's when you should read these books: Now.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    I'm somewhat torn on the subject of Flavia de Luce. I find the books fun to read, but the hail-fellow-well-met Englishness (as portrayed by a Canadian writer who never went to England prior to starting on the first book). It's just a total fantasy, and I can never tell how seriously people are taking it. As for the mystery in this particular installment, I figured it out relatively quickly, but it's still fun to follow along, and I love that the main character is a young girl who is fascinated wi I'm somewhat torn on the subject of Flavia de Luce. I find the books fun to read, but the hail-fellow-well-met Englishness (as portrayed by a Canadian writer who never went to England prior to starting on the first book). It's just a total fantasy, and I can never tell how seriously people are taking it. As for the mystery in this particular installment, I figured it out relatively quickly, but it's still fun to follow along, and I love that the main character is a young girl who is fascinated with science. It all has rather a Famous Five feel, ultimately, with Flavia de Luce playing all five (well, maybe the four humans -- her bike, Gladys, or maybe her family's servant, Dogger, could be Timmy): how a kid solved the mysteries the police couldn't solve, with the police coming in at the end to wrap things up. I can even see Flavia's father as Uncle Quentin... One thing that is bothering me is Flavia's relationship with her sisters. It's played lightly, yet it's frankly abusive. She's constantly being told that no one loves her, no one would want to spend time with her, that she's frankly unworthy of love... and I can't tell how seriously people (including Alan Bradley) are taking that. There's more than a touch of Dahl's Matilda in Flavia, but it never seems to get any deeper than that. At this point, I'm starting to want to know why Flavia's sisters treat her that way, what effect this is really having on Flavia, whether this is just meant to build up a picture of a "quirky" family (ugh), or whether it's meant to be leading somewhere. Playing pranks is one thing, even fighting, but psychological warfare? It's really starting to get on my nerves.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I am not sure if it is the personality of Flavia or the voice given to her by the narrator of this audiobook that annoys me so much. At any rate, 10 hours and 45 minutes of this story was about 3 hours too long. I finally ended with a marathon listening session simply to avoid having to hear that voice again tomorrow! Not to mention, also, that there are too many (in my opinion) "educational" diversions and unnecessary, long-winded explanations. Stick to the story, please! The many tentacles of t I am not sure if it is the personality of Flavia or the voice given to her by the narrator of this audiobook that annoys me so much. At any rate, 10 hours and 45 minutes of this story was about 3 hours too long. I finally ended with a marathon listening session simply to avoid having to hear that voice again tomorrow! Not to mention, also, that there are too many (in my opinion) "educational" diversions and unnecessary, long-winded explanations. Stick to the story, please! The many tentacles of the mystery were indeed enthralling. The story has great potential and I may consider circumventing the annoying audio interpretation by reading a print version of another book in this series. A good editor could make this into a terrific story but as it is -- well, as the saying goes -- meh!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Twig

    I`ve read this book in one sitting and oh my dear Flavia, you are the most adorable 11 year old girl I`ve ever known!! I`ve read this book in one sitting and oh my dear Flavia, you are the most adorable 11 year old girl I`ve ever known!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tiffy_Reads

    Loved the latest escapades of Flavia's life. This one is just as great as the previous two. It's chalked full of murder, mystery, mayhem and sister drama. Cant wait to read the next one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    SheriC (PM)

    Another solid story in this YA mystery series. The adorably psychopathic little chemist is again at the center of a series of attacks and deaths, riding all over the countryside on her anthropomorphized bicycle Gladyce, and driving the local law enforcement to distraction with her meddling and exasperatingly smug genius. Audiobook, purchased via Audible. Jayne Entwistle again brings Flavia’s outsized personality to life.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Niina

    Hopeisen hummerihaarukan tapaus on Alan Bradleyn kolmas 11-vuotiaasta yksityisetsivästä, Flavia de Lucesta kertova teos. Agatha Christien salapoliisitarinoiden jalanjäljissä kulkevan Flavian tutkimuksia on aina ilo lukea, ja jopa yli 400 sivumäärä tuntuu lyhyeltä jouhevan tekstinkuljetuksen ansiosta. Monen ikäiset lukijat saavat näistä teoksista paljon irti, eikä kerronta oli murhista huolimatta ole liian veristä, siksi voisin suositella Flavia-sarjaa jo yläkoululaisillekin. Bradley on luonut Fla Hopeisen hummerihaarukan tapaus on Alan Bradleyn kolmas 11-vuotiaasta yksityisetsivästä, Flavia de Lucesta kertova teos. Agatha Christien salapoliisitarinoiden jalanjäljissä kulkevan Flavian tutkimuksia on aina ilo lukea, ja jopa yli 400 sivumäärä tuntuu lyhyeltä jouhevan tekstinkuljetuksen ansiosta. Monen ikäiset lukijat saavat näistä teoksista paljon irti, eikä kerronta oli murhista huolimatta ole liian veristä, siksi voisin suositella Flavia-sarjaa jo yläkoululaisillekin. Bradley on luonut Flaviasta ihastuttavan hahmon: yhtä aikaa pikkuvanha tiedenainen, mutta silti särmikkäässä hahmossa on myös lapsen pyöreyttä (esimerkiksi silloin, kun Flavia puhuttelee polkupyöräänsä Gladysta). Tällä kertaa toiminta alkaa jo heti ensimmäisessa luvussa. Flavia menee markkinoilla ennustavan mustalaisnaisen telttaan ja kuultuaan, mitä tällä on sanottavanaan, aiheuttaa vahingossa teltan palamisen maan tasalle. Hyvityksenä hän tarjoutuu majoittamaan naisen Buckshawin kartanon maille. Pian tämän jälkeen Flavia kuitenkin löytää naisen pahoinpideltynä vankkuristaan. Saatuaan apua Fenella-nimiselle mustalaiselle Flavia aloittaa omat tutkimuksensa. Miksi ja kuka tahtoi satuttaa yksinäistä naista? Myöhemmin Flavia löytää myös ruumiin, joka synnyttää lisää kysymyksiä kemiasta kiinnostuneen tytön aivoissa. Haudattu salaisuus paljastuu ja outo uskonnollinen lahko liittyy jotenkin muutama vuosi sitten kadonneeseen lapseen. Lopulta Flavia yhdistää pisteet toisiinsa ja päihittää jälleen paikalliset poliisit päättelykyvyllään. Ihastelen joka kerta teoksissa kuvattua 1950-luvun miljöötä, joka huokuu elämää, värejä, tuoksuja ja makuja. Bradleyllä on sana hallussaan, esim. ilmaisu vilkuttaa kuin villiintynyt pölymoppi tarttui heti mukaani. Nautin suuresti teoksen miljöönkuvauksesta ja juonenkäänteistä, jotka ovat raikkaan ennalta-arvaamattomia. Vaikka jokaisella osalla on ollut eri suomentaja, käännökset noudattavat samaa linjaa niin, etten ainakaan itse huomannut tyylillisiä eroja osien välillä. Flavian lisäksi de Lucejen perheeseen kuuluu isä ja kaksi vanhempaa siskoa, Ophelia (17) ja Daphne (13). Tyttöjen äiti Harriet on kuollut Flavian ollessa pieni ja jostain syystä isosiskot syyttävät Flaviaa tämän kuolemasta ja kiusaavat häntä jatkuvasti (sympatiani ovat täysin Flavian puolella). "Mitä ihmettä olin tehnyt, että he inhosivat minua niin paljon?" (s. 208) On selvää, että äidin kuolemassa on jotain epäselvää. Lisäksi sarjan kolmatta osaa varjostavat isän taloudelliset ongelmat. Harriet ei jättänyt testamenttia ja tämä johtaakin moniin haastaviin tilanteisiin.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    4.5 rating! Another wonderful installment to this series written by one of the BEST storytellers I've come across!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aleshanee

    3,5 Sterne Also die Cover sind wirklich toll gemacht! Ich liebe ja Scherenschnitte und die Stimmung der Bücher wird da wunderbar transportiert - leicht morbide und mit einer guten Portion trockenem Humor. Der Autor ist sich auch im dritten Band seinem Schema gleichgeblieben. Der Schreibstil ist wirklich was besonderes und aus der Sicht von Flavia eine erfrischende Abwechslung. Nur wenige Monate nach dem Mord an dem Puppenspieler stolpert die 11jährige Flavia wieder über eine Leiche. Dieses Mal hä 3,5 Sterne Also die Cover sind wirklich toll gemacht! Ich liebe ja Scherenschnitte und die Stimmung der Bücher wird da wunderbar transportiert - leicht morbide und mit einer guten Portion trockenem Humor. Der Autor ist sich auch im dritten Band seinem Schema gleichgeblieben. Der Schreibstil ist wirklich was besonderes und aus der Sicht von Flavia eine erfrischende Abwechslung. Nur wenige Monate nach dem Mord an dem Puppenspieler stolpert die 11jährige Flavia wieder über eine Leiche. Dieses Mal hält sie auch bewusst Informationen zurück, die der Polizei weiterhelfen könnten, denn Inspektor Hewitt scheint in ihr nicht die hilfsbereite Ermittlerin zu sehen, die Flavia gerne sein würde. Der Start war hier anders als in Band 2 gleich mit einigem Rummel verbunden und es gibt einige Hinweise und Spuren, die die kleinen grauen Zellen zum Rattern bringen. In der ersten Hälfte fand ich das Gleichgewicht zwischen dem Tempo der Handlung und Flavias geistlichen Ergüssen gut ausgewogen, ab der zweiten Hälfte war es dann etwas langatmiger und hätte mit mehr Spannung aufwarten können. Schön finde ich in dieser Reihe, dass man das Dort Bishop´s Lacey und seine Bewohner immer besser kennenlernt, da fühlt man sich immer mehr zu Hause. Natürlich kommt einem auch Flavia immer näher - ein sehr einsames Mädchen, das nie wirklich tiefe Gefühle erfahren durfte. Der Vater hat sich nach dem Tod ihrer Mutter sehr zurückgezogen, trotzdem weiß sie auf eine verschrobene Art, dass er sie liebt. Ihre beiden älteren Schwestern sind einfach nur ätzend zu ihr und geben ihr das Gefühl, von niemandem gewollt zu sein. Dadurch hat Flavia eine sehr eigenwillige Methode gefunden, mit dieser Ablehnung fertig zu werden: sie flüchtet in die geistige Welt der Fantasie auf eine eher sarkastische Weise und widmet sich mit viel Eifer ihrem größten Hobby, der Chemie. Dadurch wirkt sie sehr erwachsen und natürlich auch äußerst merkwürdig - aber es kommt auch immer wieder das Kind in ihr durch und die Sehnsucht nach Gesellschaft und einer Freundin, der sie sich anvertrauen kann. Bei der Aufklärung gab es viele Verwicklungen, bei denen man lange nicht so richtig durchblickt, zumindest mir ist es hier etwas schwerer gefallen. Das Ende war aber stimmig und insgesamt gut durchdacht - allerdings hätte man es etwas dramatischer gestalten können, aber das ist halt nicht Flavias Art :D Fazit Ein unterhaltsamer dritter Band der Reihe, der stellenweise etwas träge war. Die Wortspielereien des Autors sind einfach köstlich, die Protagonistin herzerfrischend und die Atmosphäre gut gelungen. Bin gespannt auf die Fortsetzung! © Aleshanee Weltenwanderer Flavia de Luce Reihe 1 - Mord im Gurkenbeet 2 - Mord ist kein Kinderspiel 3 - Halunken, Tod und Teufel 4 - Vorhang auf für eine Leiche 5 - Schlussakkord für einen Mord 6 - Tote Vögel singen nicht

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joanie

    Since I was still half expecting a dagger to be plunged between my shoulder blades, I'm afraid I did not return her hug, which I received in stiff silence, rather like one of the sentries at Buckingham Palace pretending he doesn't notice the liberties being taken by an excessively affectionate tourist. To say I'm a fan of this series would be an understatement. Flavia de Luce is one of my favourite protagonists around. An 11-year old girl with a flair for chemistry and sleuthing, she possesses the Since I was still half expecting a dagger to be plunged between my shoulder blades, I'm afraid I did not return her hug, which I received in stiff silence, rather like one of the sentries at Buckingham Palace pretending he doesn't notice the liberties being taken by an excessively affectionate tourist. To say I'm a fan of this series would be an understatement. Flavia de Luce is one of my favourite protagonists around. An 11-year old girl with a flair for chemistry and sleuthing, she possesses the perfect combination of skill and curiosity to solve whatever quirky cases happen to pop up in dear ol' Bishop's Lacey. With her trusty bike, Gladys, Flavia makes the most of her wits, sometimes for plotting against her two sisters, Feely (Ophelia) and Daffy (Daphne). Returning characters include: the stoic Colonel, gossipy Mrs. Mullet, silent Dogger, one-step-behind-Flavia-at-all-times Inspector Hewitt, and the most agreeable Sergeant Graves, amongst others. I expected to love this book and I did; Alan Bradley did not disappoint. It says a lot that I don't even need to read the backflap but instantly recognize new books from this series at the bookstore, and see myself enjoying them all. Flavia is as charming as ever, and has still got an opinion about everything. I've tried marking down moments where she made me chuckle out loud and I had to give up because I was losing count! The unraveling of the mystery is almost secondary to me because I'm getting such a kick from the process. Flavia's methods are unconventional and every hint is a new adventure. This book might be my favourite out of the series (so far!) because of the emotional depth it had. I was wondering if Flavia was going to mature, seeing as how she is still 11 years old with this mystery, but didn't expect much from the past to be a part of this book. The author did a lot of juggling with the various points but I still connected very much to the moments where Flavia would wonder and miss her mother. It could've bogged down the cases and the humour, but instead, added more depth to this wonderful detective. I'm also in love with the language of these books. They're breezy to read because the descriptions never bore me (see: a Gypsy caravan: butter yellow with crimson shutters, and its lathwork sides, which sloped gently outwards beneath a rounded roof, gave it the look of a loaf of bread that has puffed out beyond the rim of the baking pan). I find myself flipping to use the helpful map at the beginning of every book, and specks of British slang make it all a delight to read. I guess I'll just have to wait until the next one. Don't even tell me there won't be a fourth. I expect to be browsing the bookstore and being surprised as usual by another bright, quirky cover. Maybe blue for the colour?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Flavia continues to my favorite heroine, her extraordinary intelligence pitted against her eleven year old naivety often makes for laugh out loud situations. The chemistry abilities she uses to solve her cases and torture her older sisters also add to the fun. The rest of the cast of characters with her father, faithful servant and friend Dogger and even the cook is more rounded out in this third volume of the series. Highly recommended. Character List (view spoiler)[ A Red Herring Without Mustar Flavia continues to my favorite heroine, her extraordinary intelligence pitted against her eleven year old naivety often makes for laugh out loud situations. The chemistry abilities she uses to solve her cases and torture her older sisters also add to the fun. The rest of the cast of characters with her father, faithful servant and friend Dogger and even the cook is more rounded out in this third volume of the series. Highly recommended. Character List (view spoiler)[ A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce #3) Flavia de Luce braces and pigtails like a typical 11-year-old girl, chemist Gladys - her trusty bicycle, Ophelia de Luce (17) Daphne de Luce (13) Dogger, Arthur Wellesley loyal retainer Mrs. Mullet housekeeper and cook Alf, her husband Inspector Hewitt Aunt Felicity Colonel de Luce a philatelist and former amateur illusionist Harriet de Luce wife mother a free spirit who disappeared on a mountaineering adventure in Tibet 10 years earlier and is presumed dead. Miss Cool, the village postmistress, scurrying to the front of her confectionery shop. Dieter Schrantz, of Culverhouse Farm, a former German prisoner of war Miss Mountjoy retired Librarian-in-Chief of the Bishop’s Lacey Free Library where, it was said, even the books had lived in fear of her. Colin Prout, bullied by Brookie Harewood. Brookie Harewood. was Bishop’s Lacey’s riffraff. Vanetta Harewood His mother’s that lady as paints over in Malden Fenwick.” Ursula is a devotee of traditional crafts. she’s fiercely protective of Vanetta Gypsy Fenella Lee Johnny Faa died. her husband was Father(Colonel Haviland de Luce) who, after Harriet’s death, had run the Gypsies off Porcelain Lee — Fenella’s my gram Reginald Pettibone - antiques store Edward Sampson, of Rye Road, East Finching—whose name I had found on the papers in the glove compartment of Brookie's van. Mrs Bull, stole my baby Tom Bull had cleared off ages ago (hide spoiler)]

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Fearing that the first word that comes to mind for this review is inadequate, I hesitate to use the word "delightful" in describing the character of Flavia de Luce and the books in which she stars, but delightful she is and they are. I am simply smitten with this enchanting series from Alan Bradley. He doesn't miss a beat with this latest addition to the tale of an eleven year old precocious girl who has her own chemistry lab and an uncanny knack for uncovering puzzling clues and solving mysteri Fearing that the first word that comes to mind for this review is inadequate, I hesitate to use the word "delightful" in describing the character of Flavia de Luce and the books in which she stars, but delightful she is and they are. I am simply smitten with this enchanting series from Alan Bradley. He doesn't miss a beat with this latest addition to the tale of an eleven year old precocious girl who has her own chemistry lab and an uncanny knack for uncovering puzzling clues and solving mysteries. Flavia, whose mother died when she was just a year old, lives with her father and two tormenting sisters in a large country estate in England, which has fallen on hard times. The time setting of the 1950's helps to establish an atmosphere in which a child, especially one as curious as Flavia, is free to explore her world with a freedom and abandon that might not be possible today, as the number of entertainment distractions and safety issues would more than likely stunt the growth of imagination and curiosity. It's hard to and probably ill advised to try and categorize Bradley's books as for children, young adult, or adult because any age will fall under the captivating spell of these tales, and girls from 7 to 70 will want to be Flavia de Luce.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Oh Flavia, you poor, silly child. I just love Flavia, with her "I'm so clever" attitude, and her youthful misinterpretation of all the adults around her. Bradley does a wonderful job, as usual, of portraying Flavia as an obnoxious, precocious and neglected little girl, who thinks she knows all-sees all, but is still just a child. There's still a mystery concerning her mother, I suppose Bradley isn't going to hand us that one anytime soon. In the meantime, he gives us another dead body, more chemi Oh Flavia, you poor, silly child. I just love Flavia, with her "I'm so clever" attitude, and her youthful misinterpretation of all the adults around her. Bradley does a wonderful job, as usual, of portraying Flavia as an obnoxious, precocious and neglected little girl, who thinks she knows all-sees all, but is still just a child. There's still a mystery concerning her mother, I suppose Bradley isn't going to hand us that one anytime soon. In the meantime, he gives us another dead body, more chemicals, more trouble for Flavia to get up to, and more adults who Flavia sees as far less intelligent than she is, but the reader knows they are seeing a lonely, motherless girl with very little direction or supervision. Flavia's narrative amuses me throughout the story, both with her observations, and with what she is clearly misinterpreting. Still, it's not all lightness and laughs, through these three books, the story has gotten deeper, and you begin to get a little bigger picture of a very sad little girl who uses these "adventures" as an escape. Very well done, and I can't wait for the next one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Barbara ★

    I only picked this book up as it was a winner in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards and I'm doing a challenge based on that list. I think I might have enjoyed this more when I was a teenager. At this stage of my life, I found it rather childish and unbelievable. The heroine is an 11 year-old girl after all. There was so much miscellaneous information (Flavia is a self-proclaimed know-it-all) that I totally lost track of the mystery and had difficultly keeping in mind who/what/why she was chasing c I only picked this book up as it was a winner in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards and I'm doing a challenge based on that list. I think I might have enjoyed this more when I was a teenager. At this stage of my life, I found it rather childish and unbelievable. The heroine is an 11 year-old girl after all. There was so much miscellaneous information (Flavia is a self-proclaimed know-it-all) that I totally lost track of the mystery and had difficultly keeping in mind who/what/why she was chasing clues anyway.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amritha

    I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of this series. This one is not as good as the first two ones where the mystery is concerned but then I don't read it for the mystery. Flavia, the precocious 11 year old chemistry enthusiast and her antics are what keeps drawing me to the series. We have a gypsy, an attempt to murder, a murder, a few creepy people and Flavia roaming around the country side on Gladys and pulling one over the policemen. In this book we get to know Flavia a bit more, her lon I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books of this series. This one is not as good as the first two ones where the mystery is concerned but then I don't read it for the mystery. Flavia, the precocious 11 year old chemistry enthusiast and her antics are what keeps drawing me to the series. We have a gypsy, an attempt to murder, a murder, a few creepy people and Flavia roaming around the country side on Gladys and pulling one over the policemen. In this book we get to know Flavia a bit more, her loneliness, her failure to understand why her sisters hate her and the sadness this brings her, etc.

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