Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Am Half-Sick Of Shadows by Alan Bradley Audio Edition

    Do believe it was just about two years ago that Alan Bradley brightened my reading/listening life with his introduction of Flavia de Luce, an irresistible mixture of intelligence and mystery brought to life in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.   She’s a master in chemistry with a keen interest in poison, and an intrepid amateur sleuth.  At that time I called Bradley’s book an imaginative debut and a sure winner also noting how glad I was that it would be a series.

    My enjoyment of Flavia’s shenanigans continued with A Red Herring Without Mustard in which Flavia visits a fortune teller who suddenly, unwillingly goes to her final reward.  Eleven-year-old Flavia does have a penchant for running across dead bodies, and this unfortunate (fortunate for the reader) knack continues with I Am Half- Sick of Shadows.

    As the story opens Flavia is busy in her laboratory trying to work out something to trap Santa Claus.  She’s diverted from trying to capture the cheery old fellow when a film crew comes to Buckshaw, the de Luce’s down at the bricks English estate.  Said movie is to star the famous Phyllis Wyvern.  And, since this is the most excitement the village of Bishop’s Lacey has seen in generations the villagers gather to watch the actress perform.  However, no one is prepared for the unscripted closing scene: a body is found strangled with a length of film.

    Once again Flavia’s skill is put to the test And once again Los Angeles-based actress Jayne Entwistle delivers a superb narration.

    - Gail Cooke

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