Alan Bradley – I am Half-Sick of Shadows


publisher: Bantam Books
published: 2011
pages: 293

Book on Amazon


It’s Christmas time and Flavia de Luce – eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry – 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, the de Luce’s decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starting the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishops Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening shocking conclusion: a body found 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 lists of suspects grows, Flavia must ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

In (Very) Short:

+ 4th Flavia de Luce mystery
+ funny and entertaining
+ whodunit mystery
+ the relationships between Flavia, Dogger, and her sisters are the basis of the story constellation and the icing on the cake

My Opinion:

The 4th book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series I am Half-Sick of Shadows is again another wonderful read. I am a fan of Flavia, her investigative method, and her wonderful view on her sisters, the town, and the world.

Flavia is the youngest daughter of Colonel de Luce who lost his wife many years ago. He is too busy mourning his late wife and busy with his stamp collection to really pay much attention to his three daughters. While the older daughters love to torment Flavia, his youngest daughter is a passionate chemist, who loves to experiment and occasionally does that on her sisters.

This time the de Luce rent the mansion to a film crew shooting a movie starring the famous Phyllis Wyvern – an actress all three de Luce girls are fans off. After Ms Wyvern agrees to help the church of Bishops Lacey by acting a scene from Romeo and Juliet for their benefit, the entire town is stranded at Buckshaw during a blizzard, only to discover a dead body. Flavia and the police start to investigate.

The cover is a lovely continuation of the previous novels and captivates the eye this time in a lovely read. A little bolder than the previous books in purple, light green and yellow. The writing is fluent and Flavia is wonderfully sarcastic and sometimes as lost and overwhelmed with her sisters attitude as an 11-year-old should be. I particularly like her relationship with the family friend Dogger and the chief investigator Inspector Hewitt. Hewitt and Flavia do butt heads yet he is never disrespectful or condescending towards her.

The mystery itself starts a little late this time around and some readers, who read this solely as a crime story, might be disappointed. I, however, was not. After reading many Christie novels I know that it sometimes takes time before a crime is committed or the investigation begins. And I really enjoy spending time with Flavia, Dogger, and her sisters. The crime was a very nice whodunit (and I honestly wasn’t sure who did it) and the end was interesting, exiting, surprising and explosive to say the least. A very good read.

Bottom Line:

An entertaining and funny read with a wonderfully nosy and wicked Flavia and an explosive finale.


rating 5


2 thoughts on “Alan Bradley – I am Half-Sick of Shadows

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Favorite Series | Franzi's Book Chase

  2. Pingback: My Top 5 Crime Authors | Franzi's Book Chase

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