I Am Half-Sick of Shadows – Alan Bradley (2011, Doubleday Canada)
Eleven year old Flavia de Luce is at the top of her game in this jolly Christmas mystery, out to solve a murder in the de Luce family home at Buckshaw while most of the villagers are gathered there and snowed in by a sudden storm. Hijinks ensue as Flavia tries to track down the suspect in familiar territory, even while she’s hard at work preparing a Christmas surprise for St. Nicholas – involving chemistry, of course! I’ve been reading a lot of Bradley’s work lately, and the central plot of this one seemed more carefully constructed than in the previous two Flavia tales…but then again, these books aren’t really about the murders, they’re about Flavia. And I love that.