Monday, March 07, 2011

Mystery Monday - Flavia deLuce

I was unable to resist the third Flavia deLuce novel, A Red Herring Without Mustard, even though it's still in hardcover, and I was not disappointed. These, along with Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter mysteries, would also be great for middle-graders, though the mysteries are complex enough for adult fans of cozy mysteries. Flavia is a precocious eleven-year-old sleuth and eager student of chemistry (partly so that she can effect revenge on her mean older sisters), fascinated by crime-solving (life in 1950s rural England is, after all, pretty boring). I really enjoy the chemistry aspect of the books. In one of her experiments, Flavia uses some of what she's read to test for fingerprints on an object that's been submerged underwater. When a Gypsy caravan comes to Bishops Lacey, Flavia has her fortune read. The Gypsy woman who had given Flavia a puzzling fortune then turns up dead. Was it the Gypsy's odd granddaughter? The strange woman who had accused the Gypsy woman of stealing her baby years before? Is Flavia herself a suspect? And what does a bizarre religious cult have to do with any of this? Red herrings are abundant in this mystery, which also includes some further development of Flavia's character and family. This could be read alone, but I've certainly enjoyed reading this series in order.

My review of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
My review of The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Source disclosure: I purchased this book.

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