England's most famous 11-year-old sleuth returns in Bradley's much anticipated fourth novel (after A Red Herring Without Mustard). It is Christmas, and Colonel de Luce, faced with impending bankruptcy, has agreed to rent the family estate out to a British film studio. The whole village is agog with the arrival of Phyllis Wyvern, famous beauty and film star. Flavia, however, is preoccupied with plans of her own. Ophelia and Daphne, her vile older sisters, have told her the shocking news that Father Christmas doesn't exist. Intent on capturing the jolly old elf herself, she turns to her "savage passion for chemistry" for inspiration. But murder and mayhem have a way of following our impish heroine, and soon Flavia is presented with a crime to puzzle out. VERDICT This is a delightful read through and through. We find in Flavia an incorrigible and wholly lovable detective; from her chemical experiments in her sanctum sanctorum to her outrage at the idiocy of the adult world, she is unequaled. Charming as a stand-alone novel and a guaranteed smash with series followers. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/11.]--Amy Nolan, St. Joseph P.L., MI[Page 79]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Christmas comes early for precocious Flavia de Luce with the arrival of a glamorous London film crew at Buckshaw, her family's country house, in Agatha-winner Bradley's fourth post-WWII mystery starring the endearing 11-year-old sleuth (after February 2011's A Red Herring Without Mustard). Flavia, a chemistry prodigy, must push her previous project--concocting a super stickum to trap Santa--to the back burner after actress Phyllis Wyvern turns up dead in a wingback chair with "a length of ciné film, tied tightly, but neatly, in an elaborate black bow" around her throat. The murder investigation pits the cheeky schoolgirl's considerable deductive prowess against the local constabulary--and puts her in grave danger. With its sharply drawn characters, including the hiss-worthy older de Luce sisters, and an agreeable puzzle playing out against the cozy backdrop of a British village at Christmas, this is a most welcome holiday gift for Flavia fans. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC