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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had 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? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse—that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce’s drawing room.
Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession—a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?
As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.
©2011 Alan Bradley (P)2011 Random House
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Critic Reviews

“Flavia is incisive, cutting and hilarious . . . one of the most remarkable creations in recent literature.” ( USA Today)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kelli on 02-28-11

An excellent addition to the series!

I loved the first two books in this series, and enjoyed this one even more. There are mysteries beyond each individual book that seem to be revealing themselves, and each contains a variety of interrelated stories surrounding colorful characters who become old friends. The story is sometimes very dark, sometimes very funny, as is Flavia herself. She can be a spoiled brat, a helpful neighbor, a sensitive soul, and a morbid sneak. All of these elements of her personality are captured perfectly by Jane Entwistle, the narrator. Although Flavia is a young girl from an aristocratic family of 1950s England, I find her easy to relate to and her world easy to imagine with the vivid descriptions by the author. Although the narration is from the perspective of a child, I don't see the series as children's books, though I think I would have loved them as a young teen. I'm looking forward to hearing about future developments in the fourth book.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Cheryl Waters on 05-16-11

Excellent Adult and Family Fare

Mr. Bradley, in his 70's, has caught the flair of a 12-year-old girl for local adventure, impish pranks, and self-analysis. If you can catch him on a book tour, do so. He is as entertaining in person as he is in his writing, and this series is matchless.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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