I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce Mystery #4) by Alan Bradley (Amazon Link)
Rating: Very Good
Source: Library (Audio)
Description: It's Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce - an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving - is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces' decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop's Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening's shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.
Why I Picked This Book: I thought I'd start off my holiday reading with something a little unusual and it's hard to get more unusual than Flavia de Luce!
My Impression: Flavia de Luce celebrates Christmas in the way only Flavia can - by creating a glue that she can slather on the chimneys in hopes of catching Santa Claus. While all that's going on Colonel de Luce is trying to solve the family's financial problems (or at least keep the wolf at bay a little longer by renting out Buckshaw to a film company. When the film company arrives the story really gets rolling and Flavia is kept busy sticking her nose into places it doesn't belong and trying to figure out secrets. The murder doesn't actually happen until halfway through the book but I didn't really miss it as I was enjoying all the convoluted relationships. Flavia pounces onto the investigation as I would expect her to do paying very little attention to boundaries and Inspector Hewitt's requests. I really enjoyed her interactions with her sisters and they seemed a little more complicated than the usual just plain mean. I'm not sure if it's Christmas spirit or something a little deeper. This mystery was really a fun read/listen. I do wish the investigation had been a little more fleshed out but I enjoyed all the character interactions. I love seeing Flavia's vulnerable moments when I remembered that she was really just a child and a scared insecure one at that.
This is a mystery series that I've really come to enjoy. Flavia is an unusual choice for an amateur detective but so delights in her meddling that it's hard not to love her and get just as involved in the investigation as she does.
Audio Note: Jayne Entwistle is her usual magical self giving just the right amount of smothered laughter to Flavia's voice and perfect haughty disdain to Ophelia's. Her narration adds an extra bit of enjoyment to listening to this series.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes! This is a solid mystery series and I'm really curious to see what happens with the de Luce family next.
Would I Recommend this Book? If you enjoy mysteries this is a good choice. It's unique and well done. You could start with this book without too much confusion though the previous 3 books are really enjoyable as well.