Monday, April 16, 2012

A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley [Review]

4 out of 5 Robots!

A Red Herring Without Mustard
By Alan Bradley
Series: Flavia de Luce #3
Genre: Mystery
Release: October 18, 2011
Hardcover: 391 Pages
Publisher: Doubleday
My Copy: My own
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
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

Shannon's Thoughts:
I found this book to be a lot of fun. I found it to be a unique twist on the standard detective novel.   It is set in 1950s England in a small hamlet.  It has an "old-timey" feel to the writing style.  I think that helps the reader get a better sense of the setting and really works for this book.

 But I will say that the story rests entirely on the protagonist.  I personally loved her.  Flavia is a spunky, witty 11 year old amateur sleuth.  She is innocent in many ways, yet wise beyond her years in others.  But she is also lonely.  She has two older sisters who despise her, an absent father and a mother who died in a climbing accident when Flavia was young.  Flavia definitely gets caught up in her flights of fantasies and that sometimes gets her in trouble.  Her intelligence gets the best of her and she acts without thinking of the consequences.  Alan Bradley does a great job bringing Flavia to life.   You feel a part of her (mis)adventures. Flavia reminded me a bit of Anne of Green Gables, Harriet the Spy and Mary Lennox from the Secret Garden.

But as I mentioned, the story rests on Flavia's charm.  I honestly wasn't that interested in the mystery or even the solving of the mystery.  I was much more interested in Flavia's interactions with others.  Sometimes the plot moved along at a jaunty pace and other times it seemed to lag.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book.  This is the third in the series.  I haven't read the first two, but I didn't feel like I missed out on any key plot points.  I've also heard the books grow stronger as the series progresses, so I'm looking forward to continuing on!

Book in the order they should be read:
1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of Pie
2. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag
3. A Red Herring without Mustard
4. I Am Half Sick of Shadows

No comments :

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin