Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I so enjoy these books. Flavia de Luce is such a delightful narrator, and Jane Entwhistle does an excellent job of bringing her to life.

In this installment of the Flavia de Luce mysteries (this is the third), Flavia meets a Gypsy woman the the church fete, and accidentally burns her tent down. Remorseful, she invites her to stay on a remote piece of property owned by her family. But when she gets up in the middle of the night, she finds the woman's lodging filled with blood.

I can't stop myself from trying to guess the ending of a mystery novel, though, if done well, the ending will surprise me. This was no exception. The solution was nicely foreshadowed without giving it away, which is a tough balance to strike.

The book shies away from the usual Gypsy superstitions, and actually debunks a few. I suppose the plot was rather dependent on the fortune-telling stuff being real, instead of stemming from being observant of human nature, but I don't see that superstition going away anytime soon.

There was a surprising amount of character development, and the relationship between the three de Luce sisters shows itself to be more complicated than at first glance. I've hated Daphne and Ophelia as much as Flavia did these last couple of books, but, in this book, I'm left wondering how much Flavia's perspective is coloring mine.

While the mystery is wrapped up nicely this book, there are hints that Flavia's story isn't yet fully told, and that, therefore, I can look forward to more of these mysteries. I certainly hope so.

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