A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley
In the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey, the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce had asked a Gypsy woman to tell her fortune—never expecting to later stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned almost to death in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.
Oh, Flavia. You’ll never cease to amuse me.
I know for sure I’ve read this book before, but apart from a vague memory of the Gypsy caravan, this mystery seemed completely new to me.
I felt like it started a little bit faster than the second book, only because the “case” kicked off earlier in this book. And, while most of Flavia’s mysteries have (so far) been multi-layered, I felt like this one was even more tangled up than the others, like there were two mysteries going on.
Maybe there were, in fact, two mysteries going on. But I’m not sure because this one isn’t sticking in my brain as well as the first two. It doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable and, like I’ve mentioned before, I would argue that this is a series that stays within the same four star (well, four interrobang heart) rating as it progresses.
Though, to be honest, I’ve only read three of seven so far, so I could be wrong!
I think it was the longest of the three I’ve read, so maybe that’s why it didn’t leave a huge impression on me? I was expecting it to be solved swiftly, since the “case” was introduced so early on, but it took so many twists and turns, it took a while to get to the (ultimately satisfying) conclusion.
Flavia is still witty and ingenious. Her sisters continue to be equal parts awful and amusing. Her father is bumbling but sympathetic (to the reader, anyway), Dogger is faithful, and Inspector Hewitt is finally starting to view Flavia as an equal – or at least, a very valuable resource.