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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (2011)

by Alan Bradley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Flavia de Luce (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1711166,900 (3.99)178
  1. 40
    The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (ErisofDiscord)
    ErisofDiscord: A heroine with a very similar temperament to Flavia; Enola Holmes solves mysteries and finds missing persons, all while evading her very capable brother: Sherlock Holmes.
  2. 40
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (47degreesnorth)
  3. 00
    A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows and A Fatal Grace are cozy mysteries set in small towns. In each, the victim is disliked by many; thus, many have motives to kill. It is up to the ingenious protagonists to solve the crime.
  4. 00
    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (47degreesnorth)
  5. 12
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (bucketyell)

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» See also 178 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
I was wondering how Flavia will keep indoors all winter and solve a murder instead of going around Bishop's Lacey on Gladys the bike. Will only the laboratory be satisfactory for such a busy-body snoop's restless soul? Well, Bradley solved that mystery and brought the whole village down to Buckshaw. It was nice to have a indoors-mostly murder mystery for a change, easier to keep track of Flavia's running around! I liked the personal touch of Flavia's fire-works, I wish I could make some for myself. The whodunnit wasn't so impressive, wish it took to the turn according to the piece of information aunt Felicity had. But over all a very enjoyable read. Finished it in a day. :) ( )
  PsYcHe_Sufi | Jul 12, 2015 |
This sat on my bookshelf for several months languishing before I decided to pick it up: my first Flavia de Luce mystery. I had no expectations, other than knowing it was about a young girl detective, and that the books in the series were selling well. It was astounding.
Having tried to switch narrative voices myself, I realize how skillful the author has to be to pull it off, and an 11-year-old in England, post-WWII?! Sheer amazingness. She's reeling off chemistry formulae like nothing and reciting random facts of history she's heard while still struggling to understand the strange atmosphere in her home, and her family's hollow center...
A few tips were laid for other books, and I will certainly snap another one up at the next opportunity! The story was entertaining, mainly because of the narrator and the personalities and the colorful language of the times. The plot and villains themselves seemed rather sketchy, but I didn't care. Woo-hoo! ( )
  MargaretPinardAuthor | May 23, 2015 |
I just love Falvia and all the people she encounters. I picked this one up at the perfect time - it has a Christmas theme. ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
I know these books aren't really for my age group, but I don't care. They are cute, fun, and, in this case, cheerfully seasonal. In the fine tradition of Christmas mystery novels, this story takes place while the whole village is snowed in at a remote country estate.

Flavia and her two sisters are all agog when they learn that their father has agreed to let a film be made in their sprawling estate of Buckshaw. This strange turn of events is the result of the de Luce family's worsening financial situation. Starstruck and curious, Flavia quickly befriends the leading lady. But when the beautiful Phyllis Wyvern is found dead in her room, Flavia is certain she will once again be able to aid the police in uncovering the murderer. ( )
  Juva | Mar 31, 2015 |
Synopsis: The de Luce family has run out of money so the Colonel has rented the house to a producer for use in shooting a movie. This disrupts the normal Christmas plans for the family but provides Flavia with exceptional opportunities for snooping. Despite the blizzard that strands half of the town in the mansion, operations are progressing well until the star actress is strangled. Flavia wonders if her planned Christmas fireworks display is in bad taste since the murdered woman's body has yet to be carted away.
Review: This story provides more background on the Colonel, the aunt, and Dogger. There is no murder until 138 pages in, which leaves plenty of time to set the stage, so to speak, for the revelation of the murder. ( )
  DrLed | Mar 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 118 (next | show all)
The novel opens with Flavia skating past paintings of her long-dead relatives in Buckshaw’s portrait gallery. The east wing of her sprawling, ancestral home is unheated, she reminds us, so it was no trouble to flood the room and create her own private arena. As she skates she daydreams about a photographer stumbling upon her and snapping her photo, landing her in a famous magazine and simultaneously making her older sisters jealous and her widower father proud. The dream is burst, however, by the very real cold of her bedroom. Flavia, of course, is dreaming, and with that Bradley launches us into life at Buckshaw a few days before Christmas.

Like most 11-year-old girls, Flavia is teetering on the question of Father Christmas. Her older sisters, Daphne and Ophelia, have horridly told her there’s no such person, but Flavia can’t quite believe it. So, to prove her sisters wrong she has devised a plan to catch the jolly old elf. Being the chemical whiz that she is, Flavia eschews amateur tricks such as nets and instead decides to brew a batch of birdlime, an extra-sticky glue used to hunt songbirds. Her preparations are interrupted, however, by the arrival of a film crew.

Bradley’s novels are, ostensibly, mysteries. Certainly, each one builds up to a murder, allowing Flavia to insert herself into the investigation so she can, with Miss Marple-esque skills, solve the case either before or at just the same moment as the police. Usually, her investigations involve sly interviews with villagers and many trips on Gladys, her bicycle. This time around, though, the murder is at Buckshaw and much of her sleuthing can be done by snooping through guest bedrooms and strategically overhearing conversations.

Despite the murder and subsequent investigation, Shadows is more about the de Luce family than anything else. It’s Christmas, after all, and along with the holiday’s religious implications are its familial ones. The de Luce family is an uncomfortable one, though, and filled with more than its share of secrets and things left unsaid. As Bradley’s series progresses, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the real plot revolves around Flavia’s simultaneous desire to understand more about the de Luces and nervousness about what she might learn.

Certainly Flavia can solve a murder, but matters of love and relationships continue to puzzle her and engage us, giving Bradley’s novels a much more emotional edge than your average drawing room mystery.
added by VivienneR | editThe National Post, Angela Hickman (Dec 23, 2011)
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is a delicious, lighthearted holiday read best served by a crackling fireplace with warm eggnog – but please, hold the noxious compounds.
This is a delightful read through and through. We find in Flavia an incorrigible and wholly lovable detective; from her chemical experiments in her sanctum sanctorum to her outrage at the idiocy of the adult world, she is unequaled. Charming as a stand-alone novel and a guaranteed smash with series followers.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Amy Nolan (Oct 15, 2011)
The book is beautifully written, with fully fleshed characters, even the minor ones such as odd-job man Dogger and Mrs. Mullet, who rules in the kitchen.
Flavia de Luce may belong to a different time period, but mostly she belongs to the world of imagination, both restricting and expansive enough to allow many more visits to Buckshaw — as well as the laboratory of criminal concoctions still stewing in their juices, waiting to be unbottled in future books.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perini, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
...She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirrored magic sights
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot;
Or, when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half-sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.
- Alfred Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott"
For Shirley
First words
Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies.
Feely and Daffy didn't believe in Father Christmas, which, I suppose, is precisely the reason he always brought them such dud gifts: scented soap, generally, and dressing gowns and slipper sets that looked and felt as if they had been cut from Turkey carpet.
Father Christmas, they had told me, again and again, was for children.

"He's no more than a cruel hoax perpetrated by parents who wish to shower gifts upon their icky offspring without having to actually touch them," Daffy had insisted last year. "He's a myth. Take my word for it. I am, after all, older than you, and I know about these things."

Did I believe her? I wasn't sure. When I was able to get away on my own and think about it without tears springing to my eyes, I had applied my rather considerable deductive skills to the problem, and come to the conclusion that my sisters were lying. Someone, after all, had brought the glassware, hadn't they?
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
"The title of the fourth Flavia de Luce Mystery has been announced by Random House. It is … “I Am Half-Sick of Shadows”... This title supercedes the previously-announced “Death In Camera”.
Publisher's editors
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Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
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Book description
Eleven-year-old detective Flavia de Luce's family allows a film crew to shoot a movie on their estate. When the lead actress turns up dead, Flavia sorts through clues, trying to solve the murder.
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"Colonel de Luce, in desperate need of funds, rents his beloved estate of Buckshaw over to a film company. They will be shooting a movie over the Christmas holidays, filming scenes in the stately manse with a famous and reclusive star. She is widely despised, so it is to no one's surprise when she turns up murdered, strangled by a length of film from her own movies! With the snow raging outside and Buckshaw locked in, the house is full of suspects. But Flavia de Luce is more than ready to solve the wintry country-house murder. She'll have to be quick-witted, though, to negotiate the volatile chemicals of a cast and crew starting to crack--and locked in a house with a murderer!"--… (more)

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