If you like snarky protagonists in Gothic mansions with a passion for crime solving, you will love Flavia de Luce. This is the 8th book she features in, complete with beautiful phrases and lovely title. You don’t need to read the earlier books, but you’ll miss out on a depth of character if you don’t.
Flavia is a precocious 12 year old girl living with her cold British father, resentful elder sisters and brooding loyal manservant. She’s a passionate chemist and believer in science. She loves her bicycle Gladys and her chicken Esmerelda more than she loves her family, but occasional hints of sentiment poke through.
“The de Luce blood is stronger, after all, than sentiment.”
The mystery in this installment is the death of an old woodworker, which Flavia solves while trying to cope with her father’s desperate illness, the death of Esmerelda and overly enthusiastic newcomer Carla. A light mystery compared to some of her others, but the book has plenty of action and a sad ending.