Monday, March 21, 2011

A Red Herring Without Mustard

A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel. Alan Bradley. 2011. Random House. 399 pages.

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

Flavia de Luce stars in her third novel in Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard. Her first adventures can be found in Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag. Did I love it? Did I find it delightful? Yes and yes! I am still loving the writing, the characterization, the descriptions, the pacing. There are just so many things to love!

After accidentally setting the gypsy's tent on fire after a fortune-telling reading goes awry, Flavia invites the gypsy woman to camp at the Palings--though she knows her father would disapprove. She does her best to make amends with the woman, but the woman's bad luck continues for someone tries to murder her that very night! Fortunately, Flavia de Luce discovers her in time, but that's only the start of the mysterious doings. Truth is Flavia is finding much to keep her busy. (And when she does have a spare moment or two, she's contemplating revenge on her two older sisters.)

I would definitely recommend this series!

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Spare us the pout. There's enough lip in the world without you adding to it." (27)

I had already learned that sisterhood, like Loch Ness, has things that lurk unseen beneath the surface, but I think it was only now that I realized that of all the invisible strings that tied the three of us together, the dark ones were the strongest. (41)

Alone at last! Whenever I'm with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company. (102)

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. (142)

I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind, the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers, for instance, or oatmeal. Then, when the fugitive word was least expecting it, I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it, catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness.
"Thought-stalking," I called the technique, and I was proud of myself for having invented it. (180)

Nursery rhyme riddles had been as much a part of my younger years as they had anyone else's. I suppose it was these little rhymes, learned at an early age, that taught me to be good at puzzles. I've recently come to the conclusion that the nursery rhyme riddle is the most basic form of the detective story. It's mystery stripped of all but the essential facts. (207)

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

Excellent website!

Cheryl Klarich said...

Wow!!! This looks great! :) Sounds like something my kids would enjoy also!

Thanks for the recommendation.

Marce said...

I loved the 1st one, read it in Dec, I must continue this wonderful series, Flavia was my favourite character last year.

Misty said...

I loved the other two Flavia books, and can't wait to read this one!

DAVID said...

reading RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD now..and it is great..going to interview the author in about 7 hours, and can hardly will appear soon on WWW.DAVIDSBOOKTALK.COM..hope you can all listen..this is a great series..DAVID