This is my second Christmas-themed book in December. And again, it is a country house mystery, set in Britain. This one is a historical mystery; my first Christmas book this month was a vintage mystery by Agatha Christie (review here).
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is the fourth in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. I have read the first three books in the series and enjoyed them all. One of the most enjoyable elements of these books are the recurring characters. Some of my favorites are Dogger, and Aunt Felicity, and Flavia's oldest sister's many suitors, and Inspector Hewitt. I find Flavia's immediate family irritating, although we do get more information about each of them in this book.
The plot this time revolves around a film company coming to the de Luce home. Flavia's father has given them access to most of the house for filming a movie in exchange for enough money to be able to live there for a few more months. Eventually one of the visitors is murdered, and Flavia investigates, as always. The mystery in this book is slight, in my opinion, and I got confused at to the relationships of various members of the film company, but that did not mar my enjoyment of this novel.
I read these books less for the mystery and more for the picture of the times and to follow Flavia's story. When I read the first book in the series, I doubted whether Flavia as a heroine could sustain a series that I would be interested in, but so far she has.
In some ways I liked this one better than the others; I liked that it was restricted to the de Luce home, and that they were snowed in. I liked Flavia's experiments to prove or disprove the existence of Father Christmas. And I especially liked the further development of some of the relationships and characters. Dogger (mentioned above) is an old friend of her father’s, who handles just about everything around the house (except the cooking). Dogger and Aunt Felicity are fleshed out more in this book, a definite bonus.
The author of this book is Canadian, therefore this book counts for my Canadian Book Challenge.
My reviews for the first three books in the series:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
Other reviews of this book: at Mysteries in Paradise, at Ms. Wordopolis Reads, and at Stainless Steel Droppings. I give credit to Carl V. at Stainless Steel Droppings for introducing me to the Flavia de Luce series. Until I saw his very enthusiastic review for the first book, I had dismissed the series.