I am Half-Sick of Shadows, by Alan Bradley

Book 70 of 60 Book Challenge, Book 5 of Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

This was the fourth book in the Flavia de Luce series – the 11-year-old British girl solving mysteries in a small town in the 1950s.  And for once I have read the earlier books in the series.

There have been money problems building in the family.  Giant estate, mom is long dead and dad sort of lives in a fog.  But he snaps out of it long enough to rent out the house for the holiday season to a production company making a film with a rather well-known actress.  Big Actress also agrees to a small charity performance at the house and the whole town shows up only to be snowed in on Christmas Eve.  And can you see where this is going?

I guess you can call this a SPOILER but, you’d have to be completely new here not to pick it up:

When our heroine – a budding chemist – goes up on the roof to set a trap for Santa.. she will really end up catching the killer.  But the point is that Dude wrote a character that I totally believe at age 11 would:

  1. Not be entirely sure whether there is or is not a Santa Claus (blame her rotten sisters)
  2. Decide she needs scientific evidence one way or another
  3. Figure out how to obtain scientific evidence using chemicals in her laboratory

Shut up.  It was charming.

Some progress was made in the ongoing meta drama of the sisters and the family finances.  And can I just tell you that Dogger, the war hero/family retainer  (he’s like the literary love child of Alfred the Butler and Boo Radley) is the best thing ever and now I am going to sit here for a minute and decide who is going to play him when the film rights are sold.  I’m thinking Gary Oldman, but I’m always thinking Gary Oldman.

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