I Am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley
Colonel de Luce, in desperate need of funds, rents his beloved estate of Buckshaw to a film company. They will be shooting a movie over the Christmas holidays, filming scenes in the decaying manse with a reclusive star. She is widely despised, so it is to no one’s surprise when she turns up murdered, strangled by a length of film from her own movies! With a blizzard raging outside and Buckshaw locked in, the house is full of suspects. But Flavia de Luce is more than ready to put aside her investigations into the true identity of Father Christmas to solve this yuletide country-house murder.
I think this might be my favourite Flavia book so far.
Christmas at Buckshaw is just as delightful as you’d imagine it to be! I like picturing a grand old manor completely decked out…though of course, this time the de Luces can’t deck the halls thanks to the intrusion of a film crew.
I like how this book started to scratch below the surface of Flavia’s relationships with her sister. There’s a hint that Ophelia, at the very least, has some sort of affection towards her baby sister. And I felt like we got to know Daphne a bit better in this one, which is great – as the middle sister, she was sort of getting lost, but she’s starting to emerge a little bit more and I think it’s great.
And we’re getting a little more information about Dogger – who, apart from Flavia, is my favourite character – so of course I’m fascinated and hoping to learn even more.
I also love how Flavia’s relationship with Inspector Hewitt is growing – how he’s gone from considering her a pest to having a bit more respect for her.
I also like the multiple plot lines – the salacious secrets of the film crew and subsequent murder, of course, but also the bigger question of whether or not the de Luces can continue to live at Buckshaw.