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Friday, February 20, 2015

21) A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The Blurb :

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.

My Thoughts :

I haven't taken a visit to Bishop's Lacey for a while and it was high time that I caught up with Flavia de Luce.  I am only on book #3 in the series but I am determined to get up to date with this one this year.  Listening to the books are a joy and I don't think I would actually of even got past book one if I had read them.  The narrator brings Flavia to life and really puts a lot of effort into the voices, accents and mannerisms.  I couldn't visit this series any other way!

This is a series of complicated plots, lots of characters and the workings of an eleven year old who sometimes acts more like a thirty year old.  It is a wonderful combination and sometimes a frustrating one but always enjoyable.  A Red Herring without Mustard keeps to the form and manages to send Flavia gallivanting all over the place on her bike called Gladys,  All the sleuthing only takes place over a period of a few days but it feels like weeks have passed as she attempts to solve everything!

Flavia is a very special girl who knows so much and yet knows so little.  She is lovely and also somewhat frustrating while being extremely clever and also blind to whats really going on.  She manages to piece everything together in the end but the easy solutions pass her by.  However she is only a child and obviously striving to educate herself to a high degree without learning the lower levels.

I really like the series.  It is a Cozy Mystery but also a Historical while also being a Young Adult.  A strange mix that works very well.  The mystery is also well written and well thought out while the Historical aspect is obviously well researched and very interesting at times.  The Young Adult part is mainly due to Flavia's age but the books are more aimed for adult readers.

Well worth reading but definitely one for the audio listeners!  This may not be everyone's cup of tea but it is very English, quite exciting and altogether delicious.

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