I see these books recommended on Overdrive all the time, and I’m always drawn to their cute covers and fun titles. But then I see that they’re number whatever in the series, and I am loathe to start a series anywhere but from the beginning. So–I finally got a copy of the first book. It was just as much fun as expected.
“I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life”
Set in the 1950s in England, these books star 11 year old Flavia de Luce — an amateur sleuth with a slightly disturbing obsession with chemistry and poison. She lives on an estate with her widower father and her two older, mostly useless sisters (Ophelia aka Feely, and Daphne aka Daffy). One night, she overhears an argument between her father and some mystery guest. The next morning, she discovers a dead body in the cucumber patch. When the police suspect her father, Flavia sets out to solve the case herself.
The mystery was sort of eh (you’ll figure out the who pretty quickly, the why gets delivered in a monologue about halfway through), but it really takes a backseat to the wonderful Flavia de Luce. This girl cracked me up. She’s clever, witty, and really very obsessed with poisons. I will close out this review with a couple of my favorite lines from the book — and then go immediately start the next one!
“If you’re insinuating that my personal hygiene is not up to the same high standard as yours you can go suck my galoshes.”
“If there is a thing I truly despise, it is being addressed as “dearie.” When I write my magnum opus, A Treatise Upon All Poison, and come to “Cyanide,” I am going to put under “Uses” the phrase “Particularly efficacious in the cure of those who call one ‘Dearie.”
“Once, when I remarked that she looked like a disoriented bandicoot, she leapt up from the piano bench and beat me within an inch of my life with a rolled-up piano sonata by Schubert. Ophelia has no sense of humor.”
And my favorite…
“Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend.”