2 Words that describe the book: Girl detective
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met:
- Setting: 1950s England in and about the village of Bishop’s Lacey
- Flavia de Luce—The precocious, fearless, trouble-making, sneaky, aspiring chemist/amateur detective is back for another installment of this delightful series. Flavia is 11-years-old going on 30, and her quick thinking, penchant for trouble and inquisitiveness bring her once again into the thick of a murder mystery.
- Rupert Porson—Talented puppeteer and BBC star with a bit of a shady personal life (womanizing and smoking a peculiar weed in the woods), Rupert brings his traveling show to Bishop’s Lacey after his van breaks down. But when Rupert ends up dead, Flavia begins to discover that this might not be Rupert’s first visit to Bishop’s Lacey.
- I liked Flavia. For me, the appeal of these books is Ms. de Luce, who flies through the village on her trusty bicycle Gladys and pokes her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong. Whether she is poisoning (only slightly) chocolates, sneaking peeks into coffins or attempting to help a damsel in distress (this time it is Nialla, Rupert’s current assistant), Flavia is filled with charm, derring do and smarts.
- I liked how we get to revisit some of the villagers we met in the first book: Mrs. Mullet (the de Luce housekeeper, gossip extraordinaire, and maker of inedible food); Dogger (a former prisoner of war who works for the de Luce’s in whatever capacity his mental state permits and one of Flavia’s few confidants); and Inspector Hewitt (who turns out to have an exotic wife and infinite patience for Flavia’s meddling into his investigations).
- I disliked that the story didn’t seems as fully developed as the first one. (Of course, this is usually the case with series. You fall in love with the first book and then get comfortable with the second, usually noticing a few more flaws on the second time around.) And I’m officially giving Mr. Bradley an award for “Longest and Oddest Book Titles.”
- I liked that Bradley is already working on the third Flavia book. She is a character that deserves a nice long series. I’d love to see her in school though … think of the troubles she could cause in a classroom!
I’m giving the book 3.5 stars (which is reserved for books I really enjoyed but thought had some flaws that prevented me from really really falling in love with them. Think of it as a B-). This was a charming and fun book, but I felt like the story was rushed along a bit and could have been more developed. As with the first book, the mystery is almost beside the point; this is a character-driven series and what a wonderful character Flavia is. I highly recommend this book for Flavia fans, but if you are new to the series, I think it is best to start with the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (you can read my review here). Did anyone else who read both books get a similar feeling as I did from this one or am I being a grump?