Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

Flavia de Luce is back. This time it is near Christmas and her father, who is strapped for cash, has rented out the house as a setting for a movie. With all the costs of running the manse, it's either rent it out or possibly loose the house.

The actors and crew arrive along with a blizzard. As the weather worsens, the townspeople also arrive at Buckshaw for a benefit featuring the renowned actress Phyllis Wyvern. Phyllis will be doing readings from Romeo and Juliet. The show is a sellout, mostly because the locals want a glimpse of the famous actress. As fascinated with the actors as Flavia is, she is even more interested in whether Santa Claus is real. According to her sisters he is not, but how can Flavia be sure? She devises a plan using her copious chemistry skills.

Two days before Christmas, Flavia decides she needs to speak to Phyllis, but as she is creeping through the house and around the sleeping townspeople who are trapped because of the blizzard, Flavia realizes someone else is awake and it is not Phyllis. Phyllis is dead - murdered in her room, dressed up in a costume from another movie. Flavia is on the case.

The appeal of these books by Alan Bradley is Flavia. Precocious, 11 years old, Flavia is the youngest of the 3 de Luce sisters. Her mother died when she was very small, leaving her father in charge of the girls. Flavia, ever at the mercy of her 2 older sisters uses her interest in chemistry to her full advantage. In this story it's a device to trap Santa Claus so she can prove he is real. That same expertise also allows her to solve the murder. Flavia once again comes to the rescue, just in time.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love Flavia. She's deliciously, richly, riotously drawn. While Flavia is mature and mischievious beyond her years, she's also a preteen who lost her mother way too young. My favorite quirk (well, beside her penchant for poison) is her connection to her bicycle, Gladys, who manages to make an appearance despite the snowstorm. For a real treat, listen to the audiobooks. Wonderful fun.


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