Alan Bradley: I Am Half Sick of Shadows



At this point I ve elected not to take these books seriously at all and ust 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 Blyton esue 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 etc 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 existence 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 extent 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 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 Wyvern extravaganza 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 entire film crew up the family s collective backside Flavia meets the famous Miss Wyvern as she enters the house charming as cheesecake on a plate of strawberries 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 Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old alchemist and super sleuth She actually has her own laboratory in the de Luce country estate 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 ust don t seem normal for an 11 year old girl But she s lost her mother 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 the east wing which is his part of the family estate He really does not spend much time It’s Christmastime and the precocious Flavia de Luce an eleven 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 ensnare Saint Nick But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw.

READ I Am Half Sick of Shadows AUTHOR Alan Bradley – ecogenlife.org

Of notice by the murdererThis is an engaging series with a very eccentric English family that I ve become uite fond of and plan to visit again soon Mr Bradley write faster Not much of a mystery but fun enough 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 ever Homemade fireworks are involved There is plenty to love in this installment of Flavia de Luce s adventures especially if you are her existing 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 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 deliver I Am Half Sick of Shadows ust in time for Christmas Bradley and his gang of editors 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 45 stars Really enjoyed this one We get some hints about Dogger and Aunt Felicity s past and Flavia attempts to prove the existence of Father Christmas by scientific means This one has a slightly Agatha Christie vibe to it Loved the ice rink at the beginning of the book 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 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 the entire 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 ust start at the beginning 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 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 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 every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight From the Hardcover editio.

Ith 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 the estate Flavia s father contracts with a movie producer to come out with the crew to film a movie at their estate Soon the place is overrun with strangers wires and cables cinema euipment stage sets cast and crew The village folk come down in a snowstorm for an impromptu pre performance and before you know it everyone 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 eleven 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 eye on this girl as she gets older so her thoughts do not turn into actions I enjoyed 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 I think this might be my favourite of Alan Bradley s Flavia de Luce series yet She still gets herself into scrapes and ust 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 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 any eleven year old has a right to and is now well known to the local police who try their best to thwart her efforts to investigate Of course they are not successful and Flavia manages to use her wits to sleuth unnoticed putting herself at risk. The de Luces’ decaying English estate to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern Amid a raging blizzard the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion a body found past midnight.

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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