I had no less than 4 people recommend this book to me in the past few years- and that always makes me nervous. What if I don’t enjoy the book? What if I find it trite or boring or entirely too focused on something esoteric? Then, in this particular case, I would have to literarily avoid 4 people I like and love. Precocious 11 year old protagonist? Ugh!
Luckily for all parties involved, this was an enjoyable little jaunt into the world of Miss Flavia de Luce and the surroundings of Buckshaw mansion. Flavia, a prepubescent chemistry nut, was thrust into a whodunit when she stumbles upon a dying man in her family’s cucumber patch. She witnesses his last word and dying breath, and shortly thereafter her father is arrested for his murder.
The 1951 setting in a sleepy British town made this story that much more interesting. Several characters are veterans of the WWII, and the impacts of that ghastly time reflect in their actions and speech. The era also allows quite a bit of unsupervised gallivanting across the English countryside on the seat of a bicycle in search of answers. Flavia is intellectually insatiable, driven and very clever, which made this delightful. I also really enjoyed her banter between nearly everyone else in the story, but with particular impishness toward her two older sisters.
I did jump a bit ahead of her in the solving of the actual crime, but she is 11 after all. I am incredibly excited for the next book in the series; Flavia de Luce delights in every way. I cannot wait to jump into another Buckshaw adventure.