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Publisher's Summary

On a spring morning in 1951, 11-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office - and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit - Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.
©2013 Alan Bradley (P)2013 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"If ever there were a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce." ( USA Today)
"Irresistibly appealing." ( The New York Times Book Review, on A Red Herring Without Mustard)
"Flavia de Luce, irresistibly rendered once again by narrator Jayne Entwistle, is an 11-year-old wannabe detective who has a fully functional chemistry lab and a somewhat less functional family. Entwistle's posh accent reflects the family's more fortunate past, and she manages to capture both the child that Flavia mostly is as well as her slowly emerging maturity. Secondary characters are not neglected; Flavia's various relatives and friends--especially her sisters, an aunt, and the household help--are fully realized. Newcomers to the de Luce/Entwistle world may want to start with an earlier book, but starting somewhere is highly recommended." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Margaret on 02-01-14

One of my favorite series: try it!

Was there ever a better match between character and narrator than Flavia de Luce and Jayne Entwistle? These books are funny, touching, and sometimes nail-bitingly suspenseful. I had trouble seeing with the logic of some parts of this installment, but all was wrapped up in the end in a way that made sense. I do hope there will be more in the series. Hint: don't listen to this one if you haven't listened to the previous installments. And, I do mean listen: truly a case where the narration is superior to anything one can conjure in one's head.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Chad E. on 03-22-14

Ahhh roooo!

I've seen some mixed reviews of this novel, but I feel that it is was the best one yet. Many questions were answered and the stage was set for a new chapter in Flavia's story. This story had so many things going on. Flavia starts a very macabre quest and is interrupted. The denouement where the murderer tried to flee was the finest bit of action in the whole series so far. Flavia's sister Daphne (and to some extent Ophelia) got so much more depth revealed.

I can see how some people might be put out by Flavia's personality at times, mostly in the other novels, but she was perfection in this one. There were so many character revelations or hints at revelations in this book, I was sad that there was not a new one to download immediately, a luxury I've had up until now. I intend to start over and see what I might have missed in the first listens.

I will end my review with nothing but praise for Jayne Entwhistle. She truly brings this series to life. There are many good narrators, but Jayne as Flavia is astounding and I will look forward to the next listen.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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