Reason for Reading: next in the series.
Oh, the sweet pure pleasure of reading a Flavia de Luce mystery, the witty and wise 11yo chemist with a propensity for poisons. Book 4 in the series is as fresh and original as book 1 and, I think at this point, my favourite in the series. Making a great Christmas gift as our action takes place on Christmas Eve this is sure to please fans and newcomers alike. Fans will be pleased to see familiar faces but newcomers won't miss a thing just jumping in with this series. A great character study and return to the traditional British mystery, Bradley has the Christie flair down to a "T". The book entices us with two mysteries actually as the murder does not take place until 2/3s of the way into the book. While the reader is kept guessing as to who will be murdered for the larger part of the book they are then rewarded with a splendid crime that has members of Flavia's own family on her list of suspects and her own life in danger at the climax. Bradley has outdone himself! If you have mystery lovers on your Christmas list, consider them taken care of!
on December 2, 2011
This book is another in the amazing Flavia series and is a worthy successor. It was a little short, the readable pages logging in at around 195 pages or so. Nevertheless the art of building the environment and creating a liveable breathable world is strong in I am Half Sick of Shadows.
Bradley's characters are all rich, particularly if you've read the earlier books, but even if you haven't this book will be a very pleasant diversion. Flavia is presently one of my favourite characters from any medium. Give it a chance, give the book to to your 9 and up kids or adults in your life and help them find an intelligent but fun way to spend their time. I do think any Harry Potter fan should give this series a chance, there is no magic but there is Alchemy and you will love the characters as much as you loved those from that series; frankly, I prefer Flavia.
on September 2, 2014
THIS WHOLE SERIES IS FANTASTIC. MAN CAN BRADLEY WRITE! I WAS A BIT HESITANT AT FIRST AS I WAS THINKING THIS WAS MORE FOR KIDS AS FLAVIA IS ONLY 11 YEARS OLD. NO, THIS IS A INCREDIBLY WELL WRITTEN SERIES, THE ENTIRE SERIES, EVERY BOOK, IS GREAT. BRADLEY HAS MANAGED TO ADD THAT NEW EXTRA INTERESTING FLAVOR TO MURDER MYSTERY. I HAVE NOT READ ANYTHING LIKE IT AND I'M QUITE A MYSTERY SNOB, BUT THIS SERIES WAS INTERESTING, SUSPENSEFUL, FANTASTIC CHARACTERS YOU'LL FALL IN LOVE WITH OR HATE, AND ALL DONE WITHOUT ALL THE SEX AND VIOLENCE OF SOME OF THE OTHER SERIES I HAVE READ. BUT DON'T LET THAT PUT YOU OFF, IT IS STILL A MATURE AND INTELLIGENT READ. I PRAY THAT THERE IS MORE COMING, BUT THIS IS A SERIES IN MY HALL OF FAME THAT I WILL RE-READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
I'M BUYING THE HARD COPIES AND THEY ARE GOING IN MY LIBRARY ALONG SIDE MY OTHER FAVORITES AND ICONS SUCH AS MARTHA GRIMES, AGATHA CHRISTIE, CONON DOYLE, JACK WHYTE, AND HUBBARDS SCIENCE FICTION, WHICH IS SOME OF THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION I HAVE EVER READ.
THANKS MR. BRADLEY. YOUR AWESOME.
on August 18, 2013
Looking at the thickness of the book and amount of pages, this one is only two thirds the size of the last Flavia de Luce adventure. However, the full 'case load' and mystery is still there!
This story starts just before Christmas, with the usual dysfunctional family affairs, money problems and ghosts of the past - though, this time round, a film crew is about to take over Buckshaw (home of our teenage sleuth) in order to stimulate the cash flow. As the cast and crew arrive, the reader is treated to introductions of several of the main players in fair detail, while others remain murky borderline and thus suspect already.
It is not until almost half-way through the tale that the unavoidable crime occurs - nonetheless, the story itself and all the characters involved keep the reader gripped and virtually unable to put the book down. And, as usual, of course, there are plenty of sub-plots going on - is there a Father Christmas? Can I catch him? - to keep the mystery going and the tale to be told interesting and intriguing.
As always, the family members keep bickering at each other - stiff upper lip and all that - but, deep down, they would never let anything happen to one another ... just like in real life families.
Our heroine, Flavia de Luce, is definitely a 'different breed' to the others, an individual - even at her very young age - who will go her way, no matter what. And, quite frankly, I do hope, she'll never grow out of it! And - yes - author Alan Bradley is now working on Flavia's next adventure, I, for one, cannot wait to read it!
First Sentence: Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies.
Young Flavia de Luce, in an effort to win the attention and affection of her family, works in her chemistry lab on a plan to capture Santa. Her family, struggling for means to maintain their family home, has rented portions of the house out as a set and housing for a film crew. But a death strangulation by celluloid film has Flavia looking for a killer.
Atmospheric descriptions immediately take us to a completely unexpected locale and introduce us to truly unique characters. Flavia is smart, clever and wonderfully imaginative. I love the relationship she has with Gladys, her bicycle, and Dogger, the houseman. Her two sisters are as emotionally cruel as only sisters can be.
The chemical information is fascinating. Bradley communicates the magic of science, as well as the majesty of those who believe science is separate from God. The facts about WWII, and those civilians who fought behind the scenes, exemplified British pride 'She was more than brave.' She said. 'She was British.'
Bradley's writing is visual, involving and at times, emotionally touching. His characters are ones for whom you come to care deeply. 'I Am Half-Sick of Shadows' is a wonderful book in a completely enchanting series.
I AM HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS (Ama Sleuth-Flavia de Luce-England-Contemp) ' VG+
Bradley, Alan ' 4th in series
Delacorte Press, 2011
Do believe it was just about two years ago that Alan Bradley brightened my reading/listening life with his introduction of Flavia de Luce, an irresistible mixture of intelligence and mystery brought to life in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. She's a master in chemistry with a keen interest in poison, and an intrepid amateur sleuth. At that time I called Bradley's book an imaginative debut and a sure winner also noting how glad I was that it would be a series.
My enjoyment of Flavia's shenanigans continued with A Red Herring Without Mustard in which Flavia visits a fortune teller who suddenly, unwillingly goes to her final reward. Eleven-year-old Flavia does have a penchant for running across dead bodies, and this unfortunate (fortunate for the reader) knack continues with I Am Half- Sick of Shadows.
As the story opens Flavia is busy in her laboratory trying to work out something to trap Santa Claus. She's diverted from trying to capture the cheery old fellow when a film crew comes to Buckshaw, the de Luce's down at the bricks English estate. Said movie is to star the famous Phyllis Wyvern. And, since this is the most excitement the village of Bishop's Lacey has seen in generations the villagers gather to watch the actress perform. However, no one is prepared for the unscripted closing scene: a body is found strangled with a length of film.
Once again Flavia's skill is put to the test And once again Los Angeles-based actress Jayne Entwistle delivers a superb narration.
- Gail Cooke
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley arrived in my mailbox early last week. I looked at it and put it down, determined to save it for reading closer to Christmas. Looked at it again the next day and hid it under a couch cushion. But to no avail as I knew it was there and I just couldn't wait until December to devour the latest in the Flavia De Luce series.
For those of you unfamiliar with this utterly delightful series, I'll give you some background. It is 1950. Flavia is eleven years old and lives with her father and two older sisters in the crumbling old family home in Bishop's Lacey, England. Flavia has a penchant for cooking up chemical concoctions in the chemistry lab in the far off east wing. She considers herself on par with the local constabulary and often offers her assistance.
"While I could still become quite excited by recalling how I had dyed my sister Feely's knickers a distinctive Malay yellow by boiling them in a solution of lead acetate, followed by a jolly good stewing in a solution of potassium chromate, what really made my heart leap up with joy was my ability to produce a makeshift but handy poison by scraping the vivid green verdigris form the copper floatball of one of Buckshaw's Victorian toilet tanks."
Flavia's father has struggled with the upkeep of Buckshaw. He has reluctantly agreed to host a film crew over the holidays. Film star Phyllis Wyvern is in attendance and offers to be the star in a fundraiser to be held at Buckshaw. The entire village troops to the mansion, but are snowed in. And when a dead body is found, any one of the attendees could be the murderer...
And of course, since it's happening right under her nose, Flavia must jump in. "In my eleven years of life I've seen a number of corpses. Each of them was interesting in a different way, and this one was no exception."
I absolutely adore the character of Flavia! I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book." I love her thought processes and inner dialogue. She is so old and yet still so young. Her attempts to puzzle out the identity of the murderer are at odds with the little girl concocting a super sticky glue to capture Saint Nick on the chimney and prove to her sisters that he is indeed real.
Although the murder plot line is good, for this reader, it is the characters that Bradley has created that capture and hold my interest the most. I love the quirky inhabitants of the village, the sparring sisters and how we learn a little bit more with each book about some of them. This time around we get to learn more about the enigmatic and mysterious Dogger - Buckshaw's man of many hats.
What is the appeal of an eleven year old protagonist for adult readers? Well, for this reader, it's the chance to vicariously relive my missed opportunities to become Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy. And honestly, you can't read any of the books, without smiling and chuckling.
I can't wait for the next book in this planned six book series - Seeds of Antiquity. Highly recommended! Maybe Saint Nick will leave one at your house!
on November 27, 2011
Flavia de Lucy has grown on me from her first adventure to her Christmas antics, and I look forward to reading Alan Bradley's next story. From the beginning, we find out just a little more about the book's characters: Dogger's personality opens up to us bit by bit as the series goes on, we find out that Daffy and Feely do love Flavia despite their harsh words,and we find the inspector warming to her inspite of her insatiable, infuriating curiosity and head strong behaviour. Christmas at the de Lucy house is as chaotic as at any time of the year and especially when a movie crew, accompanying actors, a domineering aunt,half the town of Bishop's Lacy and a severe snow storm descend on the household. It makes for a damn good read.
on December 30, 2013
I read the first book in this series and was captivated. I have now read all the books in the series and am waiting on more to come.The plots are well thought out, the heroine is young and decidedly different. I enjoyed the humor and the character insights
on January 20, 2016
A film company descends on Buckshaw, having leased the hall for filming a movie. Meanwhile, Flavia is intent on creating a trap for Father Christmas in order to prove to her sisters that he indeed exists. Murder and mayhem ensue in the most lovely of ways.