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A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel

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A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780385342322
ISBN10: 0385342322
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.

Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse—that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce’s drawing room.

Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession—a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?

As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.

Review:

"In Bradley's outstanding third Flavia de Luce mystery set in post-WWII rural England (after 2010's The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag), precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce and her family pursue their different interests. Flavia's widowed father, Col. Haviland de Luce, has his philately; 17-year-old sister Ophelia ('Feely'), her music; and 13-year-old sister Daphne ('Daffy'), her books. Flavia's escape is the old, elaborately equipped chemistry lab installed by her late great-uncle, Tarquin de Luce, in their Buckshaw estate. Flavia's discovery of an old Gypsy woman who's been attacked in her wagon sends the girl off on an investigation that will reveal more of Buckshaw's secrets as well as new information about Harriet, the mother Flavia never knew. In this marvelous blend of whimsy and mystery, Flavia manages to operate successfully in the adult world of crimes and passions while dodging the childhood pitfalls set by her sisters. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

About the Author

Alan Bradley is the internationally bestselling author of many short stories, children’s stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. His first Flavia de Luce mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, and the Agatha Award, and was nominated for the Macavity, the Anthony, and the Barry awards. His second Flavia de Luce mystery is The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. Bradley lives in Malta with his wife and two calculating cats, and is currently at work on the next Flavia de Luce mystery, I Am Half Sick of Shadows.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Meredith, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by Meredith)
With each new book, I love Flavia more and more! Flavia is a living, breathing girl, hilarious and smart as a whip. As a first-rate detective and, as she notes, 11-year-olds seem to be invisible to most adults, she has a remarkable perspective on life in her family and in her village. I can't wait for the next book to arrive in November!
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Joani, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Joani)
This, the third book in the Flavia De Luce Mysteries series, is wonderfully intriguing and mysterious. I had a roaring good time following Flavia through her murder investigations and uncovering clues with her. In 'A Red Herring Without Mustard' Flavia must solve an attempted murder and a murder that both happen within a short time and very near to one another, yet with no obvious connection. And then there is the long buried mystery of the missing child, which seems to play a part in all the madness, but how? As always, the people in the town of Bishop's Lacey have secrets to hide, and, as always, Flavia will not rest until she exposes said secrets.
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Gypsi, March 21, 2011 (view all comments by Gypsi)

A Red Herring Without Mustard is the third in Bradley's series about the precocious Flavia de Luce, a pre-teen chemistry savant growing up in a small English village in the 1950's. Flavia is an engaging character, and she charmed me immediately when I read her first adventure, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The novels are told from Flavia's point of view, and her voice is at once amusing and real. Her appeal has not diminished in this third novel, and it is pure reading pleasure to see what mischief she will create.

In A Red Herring Without Mustard, Flavia finds yet another dead body and sets off to solve the mystery before her frenemies from the police can. As is usual with Flavia, she withholds evidence, generally gets in the way and succeeds in a spectacular manner.

The tension between Flavia and her sisters heats up considerably in this novel. Not having siblings myself, I don't know if it's typical to be quite as brutal in pranks and revenge as the de Luce sisters are. It is funny at times, but also very sad as these girls react in various ways to growing older without their mother. Flavia's relationship with her father begins to subtly change, a very welcome development, and makes for some beautiful moments.

I did have two qualms about A Red Herring Without Mustard. First, was the location of a certain bit of the theft. (I think I can safely say that without spoiling any of the plot.) It was difficult for me to believe that anyone would choose a location with such a high chance of being seen, where one so obviously did not belong. For me, this weakened the plot a bit, but there was enough strengths that I could overlook it relatively easily.

My second concern is the number of dead bodies that Flavia keeps finding. If she finds one a book, it won't be long before the entire village is dead. And if, as has been the case, Bradley keeps bringing in characters from out of town to kill, the series will quickly loose both it's appeal and it's validity. The similarity between A Red Herring Without Mustard and The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, for instance, is rather great (Flavia befriends a stranger from out of town and solves a new character's murder) on the surface. One wonders if perhaps Flavia might not need to take a vacation from corpses and turn to general crime instead?

Overall, A Red Herring Without Mustard is a charming, "cozy" mystery that invokes the feeling of different time and place in such a way as to make me want to visit. Flavia is an endearing heroine and, despite my mild complaints, I look forward to reading her adventures and following her as she grows up and matures.

Note: This is the third in the series and to get full enjoyment from it, the series should be read in order.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385342322
Author:
Bradley, Alan
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Author:
Bradley, Alan
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
MAP IN FRONT MATTER
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
7.7 x 5.1 x 1.3 in .9 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Sale Books

A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel Used Hardcover
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$11.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Delacorte Press - English 9780385342322 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Bradley's outstanding third Flavia de Luce mystery set in post-WWII rural England (after 2010's The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag), precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce and her family pursue their different interests. Flavia's widowed father, Col. Haviland de Luce, has his philately; 17-year-old sister Ophelia ('Feely'), her music; and 13-year-old sister Daphne ('Daffy'), her books. Flavia's escape is the old, elaborately equipped chemistry lab installed by her late great-uncle, Tarquin de Luce, in their Buckshaw estate. Flavia's discovery of an old Gypsy woman who's been attacked in her wagon sends the girl off on an investigation that will reveal more of Buckshaw's secrets as well as new information about Harriet, the mother Flavia never knew. In this marvelous blend of whimsy and mystery, Flavia manages to operate successfully in the adult world of crimes and passions while dodging the childhood pitfalls set by her sisters. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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