Thursday, 11 July 2013

I am Half Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce) by Alan Bradley

I am Half Sick of Shadows

(Flavia de Luce #4)

by Alan Bradley

Published by Random House

Mystery/Crime Fiction

I do like a bit of light-hearted stuff among all the serious books I read! This is the first novel that I've read of the Flavia de Luce series, and I'm absolutely hooked. It's set in rural England in the 1950s. Flavia, aged 11, amateur sleuth, precocious amateur chemist and expert on poisons, is a wonderful character. She lives with her father, two unsympathetic sisters, a house-keeper and her father's batman 'Dogger', in a large house, which is falling apart due to the fact that its owner, Flavia's mother Harriet, has disappeared in Tibet without leaving a will.

It's a totally dysfunctional family, and a totally off-the-wall plot. Desperate for money to keep the old pile, and the family, from complete ruin, Colonel de Luce has rented the house out to a film crew just before Christmas. Mayhem, madness and a huge quantity of snow descend overnight, locking everyone indoors just in time for a grisly murder. And Flavia, being Flavia, is first on the scene.

This is a YA book for adults and I'm definitely going to seek out the others - including the new one just out, called Speaking from Among the Bones. It reminds me of the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency - the same sense of humour and gentle escapism. 

Alan Bradley, like Alexander McCall Smith, is not a young author - born in 1938 - and didn't begin the Flavia de Luce stories until 2006, when he wrote the beginning of a story for the Crime Dagger Debut prize and found that he'd won!  It only goes to show.......
PS I found this book on Pinterest, browsing book covers and authors - proof that it is a good place for authors to be!

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