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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley (2011)

  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. 13
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Yells)
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» See also 207 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Flavia is always fun, even if she'd have to drive her family mad. ( )
  majkia | Oct 14, 2016 |
Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, living in her family's somewhat decaying, but sprawling country house in post WWII England. Her most pressing interest is to ascertain whether Father Christmas actually exists. She has a plan for trapping him. But since the family finances aren't what they used to be, the house has been rented to a film company over Christmas. Flavia's interest soon shifts to uncovering a murderer when one of the film stars is found dead in her room.

I absolutely loved this book. Flavia is one of a kind, a little busy body with a keen interest in chemistry and an outlook on life that is humorous and charming. This book abounds in memorable dialogue and has a terrific country life atmosphere. After finally finding the time to read my first Flavia de Luce mystery, I can't wait to read more. It's a great little cozy mystery.

More reviews at: www.susannesbooklist.blogspot.com ( )
  SUS456 | Sep 20, 2016 |
Entirely agreeable, with the ghastly camp of an Ealing comedy. The murder seems to be chucked in to give everyone something to do. ( )
  SomeGuyInVirginia | Sep 6, 2016 |
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley
4 stars
…………….spoilers……………

"Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies."
Alan Bradley gets me every time. Flavia is asleep; she is having a dream. But, I completely buy into it; right up to the “GOTHCHA !” when she wakes up. The thing is, Flavia’s behavior in dreams is only slightly more outrageous than her waking behavior.

It is Christmastime at Buckshaw. The house has been rented to a film company in an attempt to fend off the debt collectors. The village comes to attend a charity performance. All and sundry are stranded by a blizzard. There is a murder. It’s a situation straight out of Agatha Christie. However, we must do without Miss Marple, and stand back with delight while Flavia goes to work.

The murder certainly adds to Flavia’s work load. Her Christmas preparations already include: setting a birdlime trap for Father Christmas to establish once and for all the question of his existence, and mixing gunpowder with various other dangerous chemicals to produce a Christmas Eve fireworks spectacular. ("It was important to keep in mind the fact that winter fireworks required a different formula than those designed for summer, The basic idea was this: less sulfur and lots more gunpowder.")

There are some rough spots in this story. A character from a previous book drops in for no particular reason other than to give birth. The villains and their motives are either poorly developed or become secondary to the delightful workings of Flavia’s devious, precocious brain.

It’s holiday time Flavia style. Merry Christmas!
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
The fourth installment in the Flavia de Luce series was just the ticket. Flavia's sisters have terrorized her in the previous books, and here we find them telling her that Father Christmas is nothing more than a myth. To prove them wrong, she has devised a plan to catch him in the act of coming down the chimney, when her father informs the family that they are about out of money and a film company has offered to pay them a huge sum for the use of the manor. The entire cast and crew arrive in a snowstorm and proceed to take over the house. The vicar asks the star Philis Wyven if she and her costar Duncan Desmond will perform a scene from Romeo and Juliet for the village folk in order to raise money for repairs to the church. The people of the village are all stranded at the manor, a murder is commited, and Flavia goes about "helping" the inspector solve the crime.

These books are not great literature, but they are a lot of fun. ( )
  NanaCC | May 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (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 (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bassett, JeffAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hobbing, DianeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perini, BenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
...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"
Dedication
For Shirley
First words
Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies.
Quotations
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?
...To Father we were, Daffy had once said, a three-headed Hydra, each one of our faces a misty mirror of his past.

Daffy's a romantic, but I knew what she meant: We were fleeting images of Harriet.

Perhaps that was why Father spent his days and nights among his postage stamps: surrounded by thousands of companionable, comforting, unquestioning countenances, not one of which, like those of his daughters, mocked him from morning to night. (chapter 3)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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”.
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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)

(summary from another edition)

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