Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2011
Genre: Fiction, Mystery (Cozy Variety)
Where I Got It: Amazon Vine
Why I Read It: I wanted to visit with Flavia again
My Rating: 3.5 stars
It is almost Christmas at Buckshaw, and Colonel de Luce (in desperate need of money) has rented out his beloved estate to a film company. Naturally, his daughters (flirtatious Feeley, bookish Daphne and precocious Flavia) are thrilled … after all, film star Phyllis Wyvern will be there! Besides the excitement of the film, Flavia—an 11-year-old aspiring chemist and part-time detective—has another project in the works: creating a glue to capture Father Christmas and figure out if he really exists or not. As the film company arrives, so does a blizzard, which leaves most of the Bishop Lacey villagers and the film crew stranded at Buckshaw after an impromptu performance of Romeo and Juliet to benefit the church roofing fund. So when Flavia discovers Phyllis Wyvern dead, it is a classic “locked door” mystery … and Flavia is on the case once again.
When I first met Flavia in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I was smitten. Her wicked sense of humor, unique worldview, and appetite for mystery and chemistry captured my heart immediately. I threw myself into the first two books, reading them back to back. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake as I quickly got my fill of Flavia. So I took a break (skipping the third book) and was curious to see if I’d find Flavia as enchanting as when I first met her. I’m pleased to report that I found her just as delightful and fun, which is a good thing because I think Flavia (and not the mysteries) are the main attraction of these books.
As I did with the second book, I found the mystery a bit beside the point. In fact, I found that I didn’t really care all that much about who the murderer was (and it seemed as if Bradley felt the same way). The main star of these books is Flavia. Aside from the development that Flavia still believes in Father Christmas (which seems wildly out of character), I found this was another fun romp with the de Luce family and its most endearing member. If you’re reading these books for the mystery, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. However, if you find Flavia to be a charming and fun character, this will be a satisfying, fast and fun read. As with most things, Flavia is best in small doses, and I look forward to visiting with her again in the next book.
Note: If you haven’t read the first three Flavia books, you won’t have any trouble following this one, but it does reference events in the previous novels and might be a tad “spoilish.”
Fans of cozy mysteries, those who enjoyed the first three Flavia novels and readers looking for a light-hearted Christmas-themed cozy
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