Alan Bradley: I Am Half Sick of Shadows



Iver I Am Half Sick of Shadows just in time for Christmas Bradley and his gang of ditors and agents forgot to pay attention to the uality of this novel To put it bluntly it is half baked Besides the wonky motives of the killer far fetching backstories of some characters multiple pointless cameo appearances of characters from previous books and half hearted at best red herrings this book lacks simple continuity The part that O Colégio de Todos os Segredos especially stood out for me unless of course I misunderstood it was when a certain character in one chapter is sent out in a snowstorm to fetch a couple of people in the next chapter is sitting in the Buckshaw s living room chatting and in the next is just coming from outside with the couple if you are curious I am talking about Sergeant Graves in chapters 13 15 How is it possible that anditor of this book didn t notice this discrepancy if March Violets (Bernie Gunther, even I a person absolutely unobservant did As usual in such cases I am pretty sure nobody had read this manuscript before rushing it into printIn spite of its many obvious flaws the book was stillntertaining and funny I just hope the next one is Zoete tranen edited and constructed better Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old alchemist and super sleuth She actually has her own laboratory in the de Luce countrystate thanks to her deceased Uncle Tar She is uite precocious She is brilliant and not afraid of anything and is very observant and nosy which gets her in a lot of trouble She does get herself back out of trouble because she is able to figure out and manipulate how I know I m describing an 11 year old girl and those characteristics just don t seem normal for an 11 year old girl But she s lost her mother Water Music early on lives with two sisters who are mean to her a father who still mourns for his deceased wife and is always trying to chase away the financial troubles affecting his family and theast wing which is his part of the family Revived estate He really does not spend much time with her and they really don t talk much And that s why Flavia is on the loose She s had to fend for herself most of her life with hardly any bit of supervision other than the female cook and house attendant and her fathers friend from the war He oversees the home and its maintenance His name is Dogger and he appears to be kindredspirits with Flavia shows upknows when he s needed as if by magic or a second sense He supports her protects her never scolds her In order to raise money to save thestate Flavia s father contracts with a movie producer to come out with the crew to film a movie at their Student Research Projects in Calculus estate Soon the place is overrun with strangers wires and cables cinemauipment stage sets cast and crew The village folk come down in a snowstorm for an impromptu pre performance and before you know it veryone is snowed in and there s a dead body post show in the Blue Room Before the police are called Miss Flavia does a little detective work of her own Flavia has helped the police solve previous crimes in the other Flavia books and thus has a reputation about herself At first the inspector doubts her and tries to brush her off after all she s only leven years old However when she notices clues that the police have missed they treat her as a colleague with admiration She s a kid who is confident really has her wits about herself and can read people their body language and has the ability to think ahead If someone annoys her she starts thinking of different sorts of poisonspotions she might use on them She never does but I think we may need to keep an Love for Imperfect Things eye on this girl as she gets older so her thoughts do not turn into actions Injoyed this uick little book I liked the cavorting skeleton on the front cover wearing a Santa hat Flavia was trying to concoct some sort of sticky resinchemical formula to trap Santa at the chimney when he came to visit on Christmas Eve and I believe that was the intention of the book cover Good grief Flavia There were some unusual words I ve never heard of before This is highly irregular for me The words are pantechnician Malay yellow antimony caravanserai dekko and mustard police Excuse me while I consult a dictionary 45 stars Really A Heart of Stone enjoyed this one We get some hints about Dogger and Aunt Felicity s past and Flavia attempts to prove thexistence of Father Christmas by scientific means This I think this might be my favourite of Alan Bradley s Flavia de Luce series yet She still gets herself into scrapes and just wait until you see what she is cooking up for Santa Claus in her chemistry lab but she seems to be growing up and is less an annoying child and an insightful but nosy and still precocious pre adolescent In the week before Christmas Flavia s impoverished father Colonel Haviland de Luce has rented out the use of their stately home Buckshaw House to a film company Flavia always welcomes interesting company while her annoying older teenage sisters Daphne and Ophelia are Taking Instruction (Taboo, excited that a pair of well known leading actors will be staying and acting under their roof After a charity performance by the lead actors organised by the vicar to raise money for the church roof the guests from the village become trapped at Buckshaw for the night when they discover they are snowed in and it is later that night that Flavia discovers the murder Flavia has certainly seen dead bodies that anyleven year old has a righ. The de Luces’ decaying English Language and Linguistics estate to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern Amid a raging blizzard thentire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform yet nobody is prepared for the vening’s shocking conclusion a body found past midnight.

At this point I ve lected not to take these books seriously at all and just Love Is a Fairy Tale enjoy them for what they are without picking nits After all at least it features a curious resourceful young girl who is interested in chemistry and forensics who solves murders in a delightfully Blytonsue way by getting herself all tangled up in them Of course there re problems with this fetishisation of an old British country house and British spirit tc Flavia tampering with crime scenes the nigh on abusive behaviour of Flavia s sisters although that does seem to be developing slowly book by book and might perhaps become understandable later on No nitpicking aside I Am Half Sick of Shadows is fun How very like Flavia to try and prove the xistence of Father Christmas by attempting to or less glue him to the chimney pots And there s a touch about her Aunt Felicity and Dogger which makes both of them interesting characters Well I already found Dogger interesting but I wasn t sure what the point of Aunt Felicity was Now I think she and Flavia have in common than we ve yet seenThe mystery itself is fairly perfunctory the murder isn t discovered until pretty much half way through I barely had time to get my head around the suspects before Flavia was getting attacked It s really less of a mystery series and of a uirky detective series mysteries to some xtent optionalStill as I say it s fun when I don t take it seriouslyBritish my foot The De Luces of this series are very very English and that s what Alan Bradley meant them to be British is unnecessarily inclusive of the Welsh Scots and Irish There s not a trace of any of those nationalities here Not much of a mystery but fun nough if you like the cast of characters and are interested in the larger story arc about Bishop s Lacy its inhabitants and their pasts Flavia is as long nosed and incorrigible as Bangkok Wakes to Rain ever Homemade fireworks are involved Rating 4 of fiveThe Book Report Flavia de Luce does Christmas Buckshaw Bishop s Lacey is now the scene of Ilium Films s new Phyllis Wyvernxtravaganza The Cry of the Raven The film company has paid the desperately strapped for cash Colonel Haviland de Luce a sizable sum to use Buckshaw as the backdrop for this bound to be mega hit which means Christmas will be spent with an The Right Sort of Man (Sparks Bainbridge Mystery entire film crew up the family s collective backside Flavia meets the famous Miss Wyvern as shenters the house charming as cheesecake on a plate of strawberries Darkmere even winning the adulation of the normally suspicious Flavia by demonstrating her apparently genuine interest in matters of murder She uotes from the dreadful gossip sheet Illustrated London News about a recent scandalous killing Well thenNot long after the lady s arrival the cast and crew and director make their various appearances as doe the Vicar with a modest proposal He d like famous movie star Wyvern to appear as Juliet her star making role in a village fete in aid of the church roof s repair To absolutely universal astonishment Miss Wyvern agrees and the plot begins to spin faster and faster Since the hairpins have begun to fall and Miss Wyvern s true meanness is revealed the fact that she s murdered by someone present at Buckshaw after the fetewhich includes just about the whole village since a blizzard s blown in sealing all the audience in Buckshaw s foyercomes as no surprise whateverEven though the bloom has gone off the rose of Flavia s admiration for the lady a murder under her own roof is simply too much to resist meddling in And meddle she does searching the victim s room andven standing in at the post mortem Et si la maladie n'tait pas un hasard ? examination of the body Flavia though is callously shut out by Inspector Hewitt of the Hinley PD as is his wont He has thinks Flavia personal animus against her now as Flavia made a terrible break at tea taken in the Hewitt homeBut in thend Flavia solves the horrible tawdry crime and fails to become the next murder victim herself by dint of one of her chemistry Den of Shadows (Gamblers Den experiments designed to trap Santa Claus on his way to the chimney thereby disproving her horrible heartless sisters s claims that there is no Santa And at the very tippynd of the book Buckshaw s future at the hands of the tax receivers is probably averted thanks to the very play that caused the Christmas crisis to begin witha lovely deft scene that wrapped up an Scraps Of The Untainted Sky end I was really ticked about having looseMerry Christmas indeed FlaviaMy Review Every series needs a Christmas book This is it If you liked the others this one will please you but it has the standard plot hole and plausibility flaws If they didn t tick you off before they won t nowither Happy Holidays There is plenty to love in this installment of Flavia de Luce s adventures The Eric Carle Gift Set especially if you are herxisting fan I Am Half Sick of Shadows is a Christmas story with a great infusion of some new blood which is a must for any series focusing on such a tiny place as Bishop s Lacey Flavia s father is forced to rent out Buckshaw to a movie company to film its new feature When the star of the movie is found murdered Flavia is on full alert Now she has two Christmas cases on her hands the murder and her project to confirm the Huguenot Prophecy and Clandestine Worship in the Eighteenth Century existence of Santa Whatever you liked about the previous books in the series is all there the humor the charm the interesting characters the mischief However I feel that in their zeal to del. It’s Christmastime and the precocious Flavia de Luce anleven year old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime solving is tucked away in her laboratory whipping up a concoction to nsnare Saint Nick But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw.

T to and is now well known to the local police who try their best to thwart her fforts to investigate Of course they are not successful and Flavia manages to use her wits to sleuth unnoticed putting herself at risk of notice by the murdererThis is an Aeralis (The Frost Chronicles, engaging series with a veryccentric English family that I ve become uite fond of and plan to visit again soon Probability and reality are not reasons to read a Flavia de Luce book and that is as true for I Am Half Sick of Shadows as any of them I am not looking for a well crafted mystery when I read these books I am looking to romp around with the characters Alternatives Chapter 2 (The Chronos Files; The Shattered Saga especially Flavia that populate the strange little world of Bishops Lacey A romp with a good dash of firework chemistry is what this book delivers This book takes place solely in Buckshaw where pretty much thentire town of BL happens to be as well so you get a lot of Buckshaw and less of Flavia and Gladys touring the countryside In particular you get to know Dogger better Dogger and he is a treat of a character and a mystery in and of himself A great addition to the series will she catch Father Christmas And if so will the German Father Christmas have to deliver all of England s presents but if you re new to Flavia just start at the beginning Mr Bradley write faster 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 Cincinnati and Other Plays exception Flavia de Luce always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong right time She doesn t have to leave her small town of Bishop s Lacey to find a steady supply of bodies recently discarded by their souls Due to precarious pecuniary circumstances Flavia s father has recently rented out the ancestral home of Buckshaw to a film crew Flavia has been busy in her long departed Uncle Tar s laboratory on the upper floors of the home She is whipping up a batch of chemical substances that will help her catch St Nicholas once and for all St Nick has no idea what is waiting for him on the roof of the de Luce house Scribbled in the margin of one of Uncle Tar s notebooks I had found a uotation from Sir Francis Bacon We must not then add wings but rather lead and ballast to the understanding to prevent its jumping or flying Precisely what I had in mind for Saint Nicholas A dose of the old tanglefoot Later in bed my head filled with visions of reindeer stuck fast to the chimney pots like giant bluebottles to flypaper I realized I was grinning madly in the dark With the film crew is the famous actress Phyllis Wyvern who is a mixture of niceties and temperamental outbursts She does make an astute comment about Flavia s interactions with her older sisters Ophelia Feely and Daphne Daffy Older sisters are much alike the world over half a cup of love and half one of contempt As Flavia observes Wyvern in action she also discovers most of her secrets and is soon on the trail of others Flavia is naturally nosy once she gets a whiff of something she doesn t understand I realized at once that a great actress can never be greater than when she s starring in her own life Besides an interest in dead bodies I noticed at once the way the illuminated cine screen was reflected in heryeballs giving the illusion for a moment that she was alive her Speak Out! eyes sparkling Butven though the I Like You the Best eyes had not yet begun to cloud over she s not been dead for long I thought something had already begun to soften her features as if her face were being sanded down for repainting She is also overly fascinated by poisons and fantasizes regularly about implementing them on those that annoy her In my mind Larshaw was already writhing on the floor his facengorged his The collectors encyclopedia of antique marbles eyes bulging from their sockets hanging on with both hands to his gut begging for the antidote to cyanide poisoning Wahaha it does keep one sane just indulging in a bit of imaginary homicidal revenge and you canven wish them a Merry Christmas through gritted teeth at the same time Her oldest sister Feely is popular with the local boys a source of constant irritation to Flavia Feely had swains than Ulysses s wife Penelope had suitors I like swains better than suitors because it sounds like swine all of whom through some strange uirk of fate had now turned up at Buckshaw at the same time Her other sister Daffy can rarely be found without a book in her hand She s the sister I would be chasing after for a chat about books but would probably find that she has little time for me because conversation is just another thing that keeps her from reading another dozen pages in Bleak House or The Way We Live Now Books are like oxygen to a deep sea diver she had once said Take them away and you might as well begin counting the bubbles Flavia is busier than any three The Philosophy of Giambattista Vico eleven year old girls put together She is investigating a murder trying to avoid the police who are never too happy with her meddling concocting her chemical trap for Saint Nicholas and trying to learn as much as she can about the magic of movies As she puts the pieces together and begins to understand the why and the who she becomes the next target for a very Christmas Murder This is the fourth in a surprisingly charming andntertaining seriesIf you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at or you can catch some of my reviews on. Strangled to death with a length of film But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows Flavia must use Lone Star Standoff every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight From the Hardcoverditio.

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Librarian Note There is than one author in the Goodreads database with this name With an education in electronic engineering Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute now Ryerson University in Toronto before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon where