A Red Herring without Mustard (Flavia de Luce Series #3)

A Red Herring without Mustard (Flavia de Luce Series #3)

by Alan Bradley

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Alan Bradley, author of the most award-winning series debut of any year, returns with another irresistible Flavia de Luce novel.
 
In the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey, the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce had asked a Gypsy woman to tell her fortune—never expecting to later stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned almost to death in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer 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? As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385343466
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/18/2011
Series: Flavia de Luce Series , #3
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 88,931
Product dimensions: 5.26(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.94(d)
Lexile: 920L (what's this?)

About the Author

Alan Bradley is the New York Times bestselling author of many short stories, children’s stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. His first Flavia de Luce novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, and the Barry Award, and was nominated for the Anthony Award. His other Flavia de Luce novels are The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, A Red Herring Without MustardI Am Half-Sick of ShadowsSpeaking from Among the Bones, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, and The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, as well as the ebook short story “The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse.”

Read an Excerpt

ONE

"You frighten me," the Gypsy said. "Never have I seen my crystal ball so filled with darkness."

She cupped her hands around the thing, as if to shield my eyes from the horrors that were swimming in its murky depths. As her fingers gripped the glass, I thought I could feel ice water trickling down inside my gullet.

At the edge of the table, a thin candle flickered, its sickly light glancing off the dangling brass hoops of the Gypsy's earrings, then flying off to die somewhere in the darkened corners of the tent.

Black hair, black eyes, black dress, red-painted cheeks, red mouth, and a voice that could only have come from smoking half a million cigarettes.

As if to confirm my suspicions, the old woman was suddenly gripped by a fit of violent coughing that rattled her crooked frame and left her gasping horribly for air. It sounded as though a large bird had somehow become entangled in her lungs and was flapping to escape.

"Are you all right?" I asked. "I'll go for help."

I thought I had seen Dr. Darby in the churchyard not ten minutes earlier, pausing to have a word or two at each stall of the church fête. But before I could make a move, the Gypsy's dusky hand had covered mine on the black velvet of the tabletop.

"No," she said. "No . . . don't do that. It happens all the time."

And she began to cough again.

I waited it out patiently, almost afraid to move.

"How old are you?" she said at last. "Ten? Twelve?"

"Eleven," I said, and she nodded her head wearily as though she'd known it all along.

"I see—a mountain," she went on, almost strangling on the words, "and the face—of the woman you will become."

In spite of the stifling heat of the darkened tent, my blood ran cold. She was seeing Harriet, of course!

Harriet was my mother, who had died in a climbing accident when I was a baby.

The Gypsy turned my hand over and dug her thumb painfully into the very center of my palm. My fingers spread—and then curled in upon themselves like the toes of a chicken's severed foot.

She took up my left hand. "This is the hand you were born with," she said, barely glancing at the palm, then letting it fall and picking up the other. ". . . and this is the hand you've grown."

She stared at it distastefully as the candle flickered. "This broken star on your Mount of Luna shows a brilliant mind turned in upon itself—a mind that wanders the roads of darkness."

This was not what I wanted to hear.

"Tell me about the woman you saw on the mountain," I said. "The one I shall become."

She coughed again, clutching her colored shawl tightly about her shoulders, as though wrapping herself against some ancient and invisible winter wind.

"Cross my palm with silver," she demanded, sticking out a grubby hand.

"But I gave you a shilling," I said. "That's what it says on the board outside."

"Messages from the Third Circle cost extra," she wheezed. "They drain the batteries of my soul."

I almost laughed out loud. Who did this old hag think she was? But still, she seemed to have spotted Harriet beyond the veil, and I couldn't let skepticism spoil even half a chance of having a few words with my dead mother.

I dug for my last shilling, and as I pressed the coin into her hand, the Gypsy's dark eyes, suddenly as bright as a jackdaw's, met mine.

"She is trying to come home," she said. "This . . . woman . . . is trying to come home from the cold. She wants you to help her."

I leapt to my feet, bashing the bottom of the table with my bare knees. It teetered, then toppled to one side as the candle slid off and fell among a tangle of dusty black hangings.

At first there was a little wisp of black smoke as the flame turned blue, then red, then quickly orange. I looked on in horror as it spread along the drapery.

In less time than it takes to tell, the entire tent was in flames.

I wish I'd had the presence of mind to throw a wet cloth over the Gypsy's eyes and lead her to safety, but instead I bolted—straight through the circle of fire that was the entranceway—and I didn't stop until I reached the coconut pitch, where I stood panting behind a canvas drape, trying to catch my breath.

Someone had brought a wind-up gramophone to the churchyard, from which the voice of Danny Kaye was issuing, made nauseously tinny by the throat of the machine's painted horn:

"Oh I've got a lov-ely bunch of coconuts.

There they are a-standin' in a row . . ."



I looked back at the Gypsy's tent just in time to see Mr. Haskins, St. Tancred's sexton, and another man whom I didn't recognize heave a tub of water, apples and all, onto the flames.

Half the villagers of Bishop's Lacey, or so it seemed, stood gaping at the rising column of black smoke, hands over mouths or fingertips to cheeks, and not a single one of them knowing what to do.

Dr. Darby was already leading the Gypsy slowly away towards the St. John's Ambulance tent, her ancient frame wracked with coughing. How small she seemed in the sunlight, I thought, and how pale.

"Oh, there you are, you odious little prawn. We've been looking for you everywhere."

It was Ophelia, the older of my two sisters. Feely was seventeen, and ranked herself right up there with the Blessed Virgin Mary, although the chief difference between them, I'm willing to bet, is that the BVM doesn't spend twenty-three hours a day peering at herself in a looking glass while picking away at her face with a pair of tweezers.

With Feely, it was always best to employ the rapid retort: "How dare you call me a prawn, you stupid sausage? Father's told you more than once it's disrespectful."

Feely made a snatch at my ear, but I sidestepped her easily. By sheer necessity, the lightning dodge had become one of my specialties.

"Where's Daffy?" I asked, hoping to divert her venomous attention.

Daffy was my other sister, two years older than me, and at thirteen already an accomplished co-torturer.

"Drooling over the books. Where else?" She pointed with her chin to a horseshoe of trestle tables on the churchyard grass, upon which the St. Tancred's Altar Guild and the Women's Institute had joined forces to set up a jumble sale of secondhand books and assorted household rubbish.

Feely had seemed not to notice the smoking remnants of the Gypsy's tent. As always, she had left her spectacles at home out of vanity, but her inattentiveness might simply have been lack of interest. For all practical purposes, Feely's enthusiasms stopped where her skin ended.

"Look at these," she said, holding a set of black earrings up to her ears. She couldn't resist showing off. "French jet. They came from Lady Trotter's estate. Glenda says they were quite fortunate to get a tanner for them."

"Glenda's right," I said. "French jet is nothing but glass."

It was true: I had recently melted down a ghastly Victorian brooch in my chemical laboratory, and found it to be completely silicaceous. It was unlikely that Feely would ever miss the thing.

"English jet is so much more interesting," I said. "It's formed from the fossilized remains of monkey-puzzle trees, you see, and—"

But Feely was already walking away, lured by the sight of Ned Cropper, the ginger-haired potboy at the Thirteen Drakes who, with a certain muscular grace, was energetically tossing wooden batons at the Aunt Sally. His third stick broke the wooden figure's clay pipe clean in two, and Feely pulled up at his side just in time to be handed the teddy bear prize by the madly blushing Ned.

"Anything worth saving from the bonfire?" I asked Daffy, who had her nose firmly stuck in what, judging by its spotty oxidized pages, might have been a first edition of Pride and Prejudice.

It seemed unlikely, though. Whole libraries had been turned in for salvage during the war, and nowadays there wasn't much left for the jumble sales. Whatever books remained unsold at the end of the summer season would, on Guy Fawkes Night, be carted from the basement of the parish hall, heaped up on the village green, and put to the torch.

I tipped my head sideways and took a quick squint at the stack of books Daffy had already set aside: On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers, Pliny's Natural History, The Martyrdom of Man, and the first two volumes of the Memoirs of Jacques Casanova—the most awful piffle. Except perhaps for Pliny, who had written some ripping stuff about poisons.

I walked slowly along the table, running a finger across the books, all of them arranged with their spines upwards: Ethel M. Dell, E. M. Delafield, Warwick Deeping . . .

I had noticed on another occasion that most of the great poisoners in history had names beginning with the letter C, and now here were all of these authors beginning with a D. Was I on to something? Some secret of the universe?

I squeezed my eyes shut and concentrated: Dickens . . . Doyle . . . Dumas . . . Dostoyevsky—I had seen all of them, at one time or another, clutched in Daffy's hands.

Daffy herself was planning to become a novelist when she was older. With a name like Daphne de Luce, she couldn't fail if she tried!

"Daff!" I said. "You'll never guess—"

"Quiet!" she snapped. "I've told you not to speak to me when I'm reading."

My sister could be a most unpleasant porpoise when she felt like it.

It had not always been this way. When I was younger, for instance, and Father had recruited Daffy to hear my bedtime prayers, she had taught me to recite them in Pig Latin, and we had rolled among the down-filled pillows, laughing until we nearly split.

"Od-gay ess-blay Ather-fay, Eely-fay, and Issis-may Ullet-may. And Ogger-day, oo-tay!"

But over the years, something had changed between my sisters and me.

A little hurt, I reached for a volume that lay on top of the others: A Looking Glasse, for London and Englande. It was a book, I thought, that would appeal to Feely, since she was mad about mirrors. Perhaps I would purchase it myself, and store it away against the unlikely day when I might feel like giving her a gift, or a peace offering. Stranger things had happened.

Riffling through its pages, I saw at once that it was not a novel, but a play—full of characters' names and what each of them said. Someone named Adam was talking to a clown:

". . . a cup of ale without a wench, why, alas, 'tis like an egg without salt or a red herring without mustard."

What a perfect motto for a certain someone, I thought, glancing across to where Ned was now grazing away at my sister's neck as she pretended not to notice. On more than one occasion I'd seen Ned sitting at his chores in the courtyard of the Thirteen Drakes with a tankard of ale—and sometimes Mary Stoker, the landlord's daughter—at his elbow. I realized with an unexpected shock that without either ale or a female within easy reach, Ned was somehow incomplete. Why hadn't I noticed that before? Perhaps, like Dr. Watson on the wireless in A Scandal in Bohemia, there are times that I see, but do not observe. This was something I needed to think about.

"Your handiwork, I suppose?" Daffy said suddenly, putting down a book and picking up another. She gestured towards the small knot of villagers who stood gawking at the smoking ruins of the Gypsy's tent. "It has Flavia de Luce written all over it."

"Sucks to you," I said. "I was going to help carry your stupid books home, but now you can jolly well lug them yourself."

"Oh, do stop it!" she said, clutching at my sleeve. "Please desist. My heartstrings are playing Mozart's Requiem, and a fugitive tear is making its way to my right eye, even as we speak."

I wandered away with a careless whistle. I'd deal with her insolence later.

"Ow! Leave off, Brookie! You're 'urtin' me."

The whining voice was coming from somewhere behind the shove ha'penny booth and, when I recognized it as belonging to Colin Prout, I stopped to listen.

By flattening myself against the stone wall of the church and keeping well back behind the canvas that draped the raffle booth, I could eavesdrop in safety. Even better, I was pleased to find that I had an unexpectedly clear view of Colin through the gaps in the booth's raw lumber.

He was dancing at the end of Brookie Harewood's arm like a great spectacled fish, his thick eyeglasses knocked askew, his dirty blond hair a hayrick, his large, damp mouth hanging open, gasping for air.

"Leave off. I didn't do nothin'."

With his other hand, Brookie took hold of the seat of Colin's baggy trousers and swiveled him round to face the smoking remains of the Gypsy's tent.

"Who did that, then, eh?" he demanded, shaking the boy to accentuate his words. "Where there's smoke, there's fire. Where there's fire, there's matches. And where there's matches, there's Colin Prout."

" 'Ere," Colin said, trying to ram a hand into his pocket. "Count 'em! You just count 'em, Brookie. Same number as I had yesterday. Three. I ain't used a one."

As Brookie released his grip, Colin fell to the ground, rolled over on his elbows, dug into his trouser pocket, and produced a box of wooden matches, which he waved at his tormentor.

Brookie raised his head and sniffed the air, as if for guidance. His greasy cap and India rubber boots, his long moleskin coat and, in spite of the hot summer weather, a woolen scarf that clung like a scarlet serpent to his bulldog neck made him look like a rat catcher out of Dickens.

Before I could even wonder what to do, Colin had scrambled to his feet, and the two of them had ambled away across the churchyard, Colin dusting himself off and shrugging elaborately, as though he didn't care.

I suppose I should have stepped out from behind the booth, admitted I was responsible for the fire, and demanded that Brookie release the boy. If he refused, I could easily have run for the vicar, or called for any one of the other able-bodied men who were within earshot. But I didn't. And the simple reason, I realized with a little chill, was this: I was afraid of Brookie Harewood.

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A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 162 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's unfair to go on here and give a bad rating because you don't agree with BN pricing. (and it is 9.99)On that note... Please read this book! If you loved the other books in this series...you won't be disappointed! They say don't judge a book by it's cover...in this case, DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ONE PERSONS UNFAIR RATING!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all other books in this series, but have not yeat read this one - based on the previoius two I'll go out on a limb and give it four stars. I also own a Kindle. The reviews should be limited to the book, don't slam the book due to B&N business practises. I agree it's ridiculous to pay more than paperback (and 25% more than a competitor's price) - but that is not under the author's control!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Bishop's Lacey, England the Gypsy looks into her crystal ball to inform eleven year old chemist and amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce her future. However, the hag tells her she has never in her life seen a darker future. Flavia is not one to be concerned as the child deals with an odd household on their Buckshaw Estate. Her widowed father the Colonel lives for his philately collection; her oldest sister Ophelia "Feely" loves her music; and the middle sister thirteen years old "Daffy" Daphne hides in her books. Flavia, who never met her mother Harriet (outside the womb that is), uses her late great-Uncle Tarquin's fully loaded chem lab as her escapism into the savory world of poison. Soon after the dark reading, Flavia finds the corpse of the ancient Gypsy. Someone stabbed the woman to death in her wagon. Flavia on her bike Gladys investigates the homicide while she contemplates that the murder appears to be one of passion perhaps vengeance; similar to what she thrives for against her older siblings though not with murderous malice. Instead of solving this killing, Flavia finds a second body. Her inquiry leads to an intriguing clue to what she considers the key mystery. This is a terrific post WWII whimsical amateur sleuth as Flavia follows the murder clues while eluding the demands of her older sisters and her father is to busy with his stamps. As with her previous cases (see The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag), the tweener keeps the story line focused as she investigates two homicides in which the clues twist into something personal. Harriet Klausner
hanro More than 1 year ago
Flavia: "I have no fear of the dead. Indeed in my own limited experience I have found them to produce in me a feeling that is quite the opposite of fear. A dead body is much more fascinating than a live one and I have learned that most corpses tell better stories. I’d had the good fortune of seeing several of them in my time.”
AvalonBound More than 1 year ago
It's the third book I've read in the Flavia de Luce series, so obviously I do love something about these books. However, I think emotion bled into some of my star rating. It's just so hard to dislike 11 year old Flavia and this series is the perfect escape when that's exactly what you're looking for. I do a lot of willing suspension of disbelief in these books, but possibly a little more in this one. Flavia's intellect is clearly superior and her knowledge of chemistry is remarkable...a little too remarkable at times. At eleven she can't possibly know every single reaction and chemical makeup of all things in the Universe, and yet she apparently does. I really could have done without knowing the elements of the skin on top of a cold mug of formerly hot chocolate and I think everyone else could have done too. It added nothing to the story. What does add to the story for me is the believable torment from her sisters, both of whom must miss their mother so much that they have misdirected their grief by taking it out on Flavia, who was only one year old when their mother died in a mountain climbing accident and does not remember her. And additional tension is created from the financial difficulties of their father, who appears poised at the precipice of bankruptcy at all times. What I don't understand is how they have not yet resolved his wife's estate after ten years. There is also a fair bit of contrived plot in this, but when did that ever stop Bradley before? I still enjoy watching Flavia dart about the countryside on faithful old Gladys (her bike) and she does move the story forward with her sleuthing in a convincing way. Never mind that bodies seem to litter Buckshaw's grounds like confetti throughout Flavia's short career as a detective. It is still fun and eminently readable. Bradley is an engaging author and Flavia is an adorable protagonist.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The child who took down license plate number to the master chemist she is becoming is absolutely delightful, thrilling, informative, well set with characters that unfold and is a good read. I read these books because I like Agatha Christie and good mysteries. This one is a cliffhanger. So many questions unanswered but some are answered. I do question the recent inclusion in many of these continuing stories, the Harry Potter series for one, that the past books summaries appear on pages of the books throughout as part of the story. I just wonder why the third story with all it's content could not be written like the first.
Anonymous 5 days ago
I love all the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley. JB
Anonymous 3 months ago
Flava de Luce is quite a character. Her youth and intellegence is refreshing. Really like this series. Many twists and turns and lots of energy. Looking forward to reading the next book.
readingwithtea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"When I come to write my autobiography, I must remember to record the fact that a chicken-wire fence can be scaled by a girl in bare feet, but only by one who is willing to suffer the tortures of the damned to satisfy her curiosity"In this third instalment of Flavia de Luce¿s adventures, Flavia finds a gypsy of her acquaintance brutally attacked. No sooner has she helped the victim to hospital, than a second body of her acquaintance turns up on the family property. Her detective work is hindered by her devious sisters, a relative of the gypsy, and Inspector Hewitt, who as usual is not keen to be aided by an 11-year-old passionate chemist and sleuth.I tore through The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman¿s Bag, and this was no different. Flavia¿s is such a refreshingly different world from the seedy dens of crime occupied by more modern sleuths; she is the youngest daughter of a widowed philatelist and lives with her family in a crumbling family pile in 1950s countryside England. Bradley puts so much effort into crafting Flavia that sometimes the story is more about her than the crime she¿s trying to solve ¿ but that¿s just fine with me. The tale is always fairly light and fluffy and a very easy read (it kept me sane in Bangkok airport in the middle of a very long flight ¿ so concentrated brainpower is clearly superfluous), and I would say it is suitable for all ages from Flavia¿s own (11) to adult.Flavia is a fabulous character but I've already raved about her in previous reviews. The way that Bradley is slowly doling out more and more character development for the minor characters across the successive books is excellent - this time we get a bit closer to Flavia's father, much closer to her mother, and the personalities in the village are more memorable (and return from previous books)."I remembered Father remarking once that if rudeness was not attributable to ignorance, it could be taken as a sure sign that one was speaking to a member of the aristocracy.""As any chemist worth her calcium chloride knows...""Who, after all, can carry out full-scale snoopage with a six-foot-something ex-prisoner of war dogging one's every footstep?"I have Flavia to thank for the idea to name my bicycle ¿ Flavia flies around the countryside on her trusty steed Gladys, who undergoes regular anthropomorphisation.Buy this and read it straight away.
Neale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Easily the best book in the Flavia series so far. Flavia is a brilliant character and her adventures are very enjoyable. A real page turner with lots of twists. Highly recommend.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this latest Flavia de Luce mystery to be poignant. The financial difficulties of Flavia's father, the tortured relationship with her sisters, and the looming death of her mother 10 years prior are ever present in the third book. The mystery that Flavia works on - the injury of a Gypsy and the death of a local roustabout - are as intriguing as ever. A beautiful series.
ashleywintters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Befriending a gypsy after burning down her tent seems to be the beginning of Flavia de Luce¿s mystery and troubles. She knows her father will not welcome the gypsy on their land, but feels the obligation to see to her ailing new friend. When she goes to check on the old lady, Flavia finds the first part of the mystery, someone has tried to murder the gypsy.Inspector Hewitt joins the tale and is not overly pleased with Flavia¿s involvement in another of his cases. Flavia fills the inspector in on most of the story, omitting details she wants to investigate herself. During her investigation, she stumbles onto another body and it just happens to be someone she knows was up to no good. Inspector Hewitt insults her by cutting her out of the investigation¿or so he thinks.In the midst of the investigation, Flavia¿s father tells her and her sisters they will be losing the house they grew up in. We learn a lot about her chemistry obsession and family dynamic, including two sisters who love to torture their `baby¿ sister. Flavia even gets a knife held to her throat by an unknown girl.A wonderfully written mystery that is perfect for reading anytime. Once you start this book, you will feel you know the characters and are a part of the story.Reviewed by Ashley Wintters for Suspense Magazine
NewsieQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I realize that the term ¿most unique¿ is redundant. Yet, oddly, it applies very much to the heroine of Alan Bradley¿s gentle mysteries. Her name is Flavia deLuce and she¿s now eleven years old, a very precocious eleven years old. She lives with her widowed father and two cruel (or so Flavia believes) older sisters, Daphne and Ophelia in a rambling mansion in the 1950s English countryside. At a church fête, our heroine is having her fortune told by an old gypsy woman, Fenella Faa, when Flavia manages to accidently start a fire that consumes the tent. Thus tied to the woman, she invites her to bring her caravan to Buckshaw, to rest up. But the next day, Flavia finds Fenella bleeding and near death in her caravan. That seems like a pretty straightforward crime for Flavia to solve but, of course, nothing is all that simple in these wonderful Flavia deLuc stories. Complications abound, and it¿s up to our heroine to save the day ¿ as she always does -- but not without getting into hot water with both her father and the local constabulary. I love these little books (Red Herring is number three), which are much beloved by readers of all ages. They¿re great stories and Flavia is a terrific first-person narrator.
jamespurcell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flavia continues to delight. Slowly, but surely, Bradley is filling in the back story. He makes me wish that my granddaughters were still preteens so that they enjoy them. Studying neuroscience and biochemistry at the university level, currently, they would have enjoyed Flavia's predilection with poisons as well as her gallant and perfidious struggles with her siblings. As a former chemistry teacher, I am delighted and look forward to the historical tidbits that Flavia uses to leaven her quests for revenge.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review: Cute, occasional laughs out loud. This third story n the Flavia de Luce series is fun as always.
SandraJohnson-Harri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Flavia de Luce! It is especially her bright and vain observations that make the mysteries so unique. She is a very believable character who solicits the reader's sympathy when her sisters exact their acts of jealous revenge. Bravo Alan Bradley!
marsap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Flavia de Luce returns in her third mystery, investigating a long-ago missing child, the brutal attack on a gypsy fortune-teller, and a murdered local thug. Flavia continues to use her chemistry knowledge and sleuthing skills to discover the truth behind all of the mysteries presented. What I especially like about this book is that you get more of the inner story of Flavia. What you discover is a young girl who who misses and grieves for her mother, is hurt by her sister¿s hatred towards her, and really needs a young friend (besides Dugger). I loved this book and can't wait to pick star reading the next one in the series. A definite 5 out of 5.
tahoegirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this installment in the Flavia de Luce series. I can't wait to finish the series because I am really looking forward to what is going to happen to her family.
khiemstra631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in Bradley's Flavia de Luce series which features eleven-year-old Flavia. Taking place in 1950's England, the series features motherless Flavia, her two evil older sisters, and their hapless father who is totally immersed in his postage stamp collection. They live in an old pile of a manor house, which is falling down around them. Flavia lives for chemistry and also for riding her bike, Gladys. She also has a predisposition for getting involved with crimes of various sorts. This time an elderly Gypsy fortune-teller is attacked shortly after telling Flavia's fortune. Flavia tries to track down the attacker in order to "assist" the police. The results are quite amusing with Flavia triumphing in the end. This series is a total delight to read!
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Flavia de Luce and Alan Bradley for creating her (and for having great titles). I think the primary thing I like about her is how very much she reminds me of Harriet the Spy, one of my all-time favorite characters as a kid and a book I read over and over again. Throw Harriet down in 1950'sish Britain and she'd be Flavia de Luce.The other thing I like about this look is the way Mr. Bradley takes a fairly typical British mystery setting/theme and plays with it in lots of fun ways. Putting a precocious eleven year old in the midst of the mayhem is brilliant.A Red Herring Without Mustard is the third in the series and I liked it much more than the second. The plot involving gypsies and mysteries involving old legends, religious cults, and chicanery of all kinds just really pleased me. I have loved stories about gypsies and gypsy caravans since the first time I read The Wind in the Willows and Mr. Toad bought a gypsy caravan (to hilarious purpose). Putting traveling people still roaming about the countryside in caravans is irresistible.There are plenty of twists and turns throughout to keep the reader reading and amused. Altogether a delightful experience!
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series of books. Flavia is an engaging character who is both wise beyond her years, as she both solves the murder and understands her father's financial difficulties, and a convincing eleven-year-old as she fights with her older sisters. Fantastic.
tangential1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent Flavia de Luce mystery. The mystery was an easy solve, but Flavia's bouncing about the countryside makes up for it. I absolutely love the tone and the vocabulary of these books. Just a fun read.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the charming bits of this series so far is Flavia's relationship with her mother. Although Flavia doesn't remember her mother, she is fascinated by her- wanting to know about her, but not wanting anyone to know that. The plot line of this installment includes a number of "red herrings" and that gives the book its sense of fun - you never know where Flavia is going to go next...
PAWilson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Love this book. The author has found a great balance with this precocious detective. She's not too arrogant and highly competent.
FremdeB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
if you get a chance to listen to alan bradley's flavia de luce titles on audiobook, please do so. they are wonderful stories made even better when you listen.