I love me a good mystery novel and I love, love, love the heroine/main character in this book, Flavia DeLuce. Flavia is the 11 year old youngest daughter of Colonel DeLuce, the head of the county seat/manor. Flavia has two older sisters who torment her as much as possible (Ophelia is boy obsessed and Daphne is book obsessed). But Flavia, who is chemistry obsessed and spends her time in the old Victorian chemistry lab in her home learning about poisons, gives as good as she gets. Her mother, a wealthy American adventurer died when Flavia was just a baby, leaving Colonel DeLuce to look after three girls. It is the 1950s post-war England and he is mostly disengaged from the girls, preferring the company of his stamp collection. When a dead body is discovered outside of Flavia’s bedroom window, Flavia takes it upon herself to discover not only who the deceased is, but also the murderer and the motive. Flavia is the funny, witty, smart, fierce and wicked. She is absolutely perfect! She can go mano a mano with the police detective and win! The plot itself is intriguing enough to keep avid mystery readers engaged.
I read the book, but also listened to the audio book on a car trip with my 11 and 13 year olds and they too loved Flavia. While there is a little bit of bad language, it is pretty mild compared to other things kids are reading/watching. Fortunately, this book is not the last we get of Flavia, as Mr. Bradley has graced us with more of her.