Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Red Herring without Mustard

Finished March 1
A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle
This is the third novel in the Flavia de Luce series. It started with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and continued with The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag. I thought the first much better than the second, but the third is back to the quality of the first. The plot itself is strong, and Flavia shows some character development, as does her father the Colonel.
There is less about the two sisters here than in the previous books, but Flavia more than makes up for it. Her adventures start at the fete where she asks for her fortune to be read by a gypsy. From there it leads to a family of disturbed neighbours, a supposedly defunct religious sect, and a local antiques shop. Flavia ruins a few dresses, engages in many chemistry experiments, and learns more about her dead mother, Harriet. I really enjoyed the bits with her father this time as we saw more of his character and the struggles to overcome his grief. Flavia herself shows concern for several other people, from the gypsy and her granddaughter, to the local orphan boy. The plot has lots of nice twists and turns, but hold together very well. A great read, and the audio by Jayne Entwistle is perfect as always. She captures Flavia's voice wonderfully.

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