Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-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.
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As it turns out, she can get herself into all kinds of trouble - certainly more than her absent-minded father can even imagine. This series is a delight and we are treated to the most unique sleuth you'll find in the mystery genre. For those that don't know Flavia, she's an 11 year old precocious girl who loves chemistry, poisons and loves solving puzzles. The book is set in England in the 50's and mostly around Flavia's remote English village and her crumbling pile of a home called Buckshaw. We have her two evil sisters Feely and Daffy who enjoy nothing more than making Flavia's life a torment. In this book Flavia visits an old gypsy woman to get her fortune told at the parish fair, and due to an accident that Flavia caused, she becomes involved in the gypsy woman's life. When the gypsy is found beaten in her trailer, Flavia is on the trail of the person who did it. Then another body turns up and she's in full sleuth mode. She and her trusty Gladys (Flavia's bicycle) are seen peddling all over the county. These books are a true delight and Flavia is a wonderful protagonist. The mysteries are tricky and the characters wonderful. This a great series for mystery lovers who enjoy their mysteries a little offbeat.