Sunday 1 December 2013

A Herring Without Mustard Review

In this third installment of Alan Bradley’s murder mystery series, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce must uncover several secrets.  Among them are who bashed in Fenella Faa’s skull with her own crystal ball, who killed Brookie Harewood with a de Luce lobster pick and hung him from their Poseidon water fountain and what does the religious sect of the Hobblers have to do with things? 
                As in Bradley’s second novel, I found the mystery aspect of the book confusing.  I suppose this is necessary in murder mysteries to keep the reader from guessing the solution too early, however I find the confusion off-putting.  It could be that I read the book too slowly and forgot clues and characters along the way.  I really shouldn’t read befuddling books during the school year.  My brain is otherwise occupied!
                My favourite aspect of the Flavia de Luce books are the de Luce family and the setting.  Flavia is an endearing and persistent character.  I enjoy learning more about her odd family and their history.  I especially delight in the interactions between her, her sisters and her father.  Porcelain was an exceptional character and I hope to see more of her in future books.  I was excited to learn about secret passageways in the Buckshaw home.  I also adore the descriptions of Feely’s piano-playing, which are what got me reading the book in the first place.  One of the announcers on CBC radio read an excerpt from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie to introduce a piano piece and I knew I needed to read more.
                In summary, Alan Bradley has created a unique murder mystery series with excellent characters and lovely setting.  I don’t find myself needing to read the next book right away, but once a year, a Flavia de Luce book is quite delicious.


  1. I just finished the fourth book, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows. In that one, I did find the mystery confusing and I also find the setting the most attractive part of the books. I am going to read the next two books in the next month, though.

    1. Happy reading! You gotta love old English castles in charming villages:)