Monday, April 14, 2014

A Red Herring Without Mustard

I just finished the 3rd Flavia de Luce this morning.  I spent all of Sunday afternoon reading it, moving from the porch swing to the front yard with a kitty to the first raft ride on the pond with my family, to the hammock under the shade of an old spruce.  It was the perfect afternoon to share with a wonderful book.

Flavia is back, with a curious mystery.  The book opens with Flavia having her fortune told by an old gypsy that has just turned up in the area, after being gone for 20 years.  This may seem like a fairly harmless beginning, but things quickly turn sour when the fortune-teller is found in her caravan, bludgeoned.  And this seems to be connected to an earlier mystery, the kidnapping and death of a small child.  And the gypsy is being accused of the deed by the mother.  Just when Flavia thinks the drama is over, a well-known poacher is found, dead, hanging from a statue on her estate gardens.

It was an exciting, well written yarn and, though I really tried my best, I was still amazed by whodunnit.  Mixed with this exciting mystery are many introspective moments for Flavia.  She solves just a tiny piece of the mystery of her mother, Harriet, who died on a mountaintop when Flavia was a year old.  And there's a new friend for Flavia in the granddaughter of the gypsy.  Of course, the odious sisters are still hanging around and Flavia spends quite a bit of time wondering why on earth they despise her so.  The reason is not found by the end of the book, but I'm still hoping that I'll find out...
I am so curious why Alan Bradley has created such awful siblings.  I have never met siblings that treated each other as badly as the de Luce sisters do.  Sibling rivalry?  Of course, I've seen plenty of that.  But this goes beyond the normal arguments and twitting into truly hateful behavior.  But, I've heard that all is explained, so I keep reading.

I am thoroughly enjoying this series.  It's perfect spring reading because it's exciting and fascinating enough that it can hold your attention away from all the new sights and smells and sounds outside.  However, you can put the book down mid-chapter to snap pictures of the blowing wash or take a nap on a patch of green grass and then pick the book up and remember exactly where you were.


  1. I've lost track of where I was in this series...I have to get back to it! Cornflower Books has just posted an interesting interview with Alan Bradley:

    1. Interesting interview! I love reading about how authors write/think in their daily lives. It inspires me in the little writing I do.