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I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
Flavia de Luce Series #4
Alan Bradley

Delacorte Press
December 6, 2011 / ISBN: 078602352X
Amateur Sleuth / England / Historical - 1950s

Reviewed by L J Roberts

First Sentence: Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies.

Young Flavia de Luce, in an effort to win the attention and affection of her family, works in her chemistry lab on a plan to capture Santa. Her family, struggling for means to maintain their family home, has rented portions of the house out as a set and housing for a film crew. But a death strangulation by celluloid film has Flavia looking for a killer.

Atmospheric descriptions immediately take us to a completely unexpected locale and introduce us to truly unique characters. Flavia is smart, clever and wonderfully imaginative. I love the relationship she has with Gladys, her bicycle, and Dogger, the houseman. Her two sisters are as emotionally cruel as only sisters can be.

The chemical information is fascinating. Bradley communicates the magic of science, as well as the majesty of those who believe science is separate from God. The facts about WWII, and those civilians who fought behind the scenes, exemplified British pride "She was more than brave." She said. "She was British."

Bradley's writing is visual, involving and at times, emotionally touching. His characters are ones for whom you come to care deeply. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is a wonderful book in a completely enchanting series.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie #1  [review]
The Weed That Swings the Hangman's Bag #2  [review]
A Red Herring Without Mustard #3  [review]
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows #4 [review]
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches #6 [review]

Reviewed 2012