Intrepid heroine Flavia returns in this third installment of Alan Bradley’s light mystery series (following “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag” – both reviewed here in 9/09 and 5/10). This time Flavia is trying to solve the mystery of an attempted murder on a gypsy woman who has been camping on the deLuce property. There were many plot elements in this story: the gypsy woman’s attack, a lost portrait of Flavia’s mother, the gypsy’s grand-daughter who befriends yet isn’t quite honest with Flavia, a strange religious cult, a lost child, Flavia’s ongoing sibling issues, the family’s impending financial crisis, and the list goes on! I had a bit of a time keeping things straight – and I did figure out the mystery and how all the pieces came together rather early on – but I found precocious chemistry wiz Flavia as endearing and refreshing as ever!
You might want to read these books in order, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
I purchase mine through my kindle — pre-ordered and it magically downloaded when it was released!
See Alan Bradley discussing his characters through this You Tube link: