Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, by Alan Bradley

This is the fourth book in the Flavia de Luce series. Flavia is an eleven-year-old chemist (and budding poisoner) living with her two sisters and widowed father in an immense pile of a house in 1950 England. Murders keep happening around Flavia, and she sets out to solve them.

In this book, the financial straits of the family have forced them to rent out their estate to a film crew, who arrive over Christmas, in a blizzard, and havoc ensues. Then the star is murdered, and Flavia begins her investigation, around her plans to capture Father Christmas.

I felt as if this book was both shorter in page length and much lighter than the first two. The third I also felt was getting less substantial. Perhaps this is inevitable in a series like this - it reminds me of what happened with Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. But with that it took about six or seven books before I started mentally accusing Smith of phoning it in. Bradley had such potential, and I enjoyed the first two Flavia books so much, that I would be very disappointed if he's already settling for fluff. Not that there's anything wrong with fluff in its place, but I wasn't looking for it here.

Next up: A Trick of the Light, by Louise Penny. I am having to gird my loins for this, since the last one in this series was so emotionally devastating that I spent days recovering.

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