A Red Herring Without Mustard
A Flavia de Luce Novel
By Alan Bradley
(Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 9780385342322, 416pp.)
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
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Award-winning author Alan Bradley returns with another beguiling novel starring the insidiously clever and unflappable eleven-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce. The precocious chemist with a passion for poisons uncovers a fresh slew of misdeeds in the hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey—mysteries involving a missing tot, a fortune-teller, and a corpse in Flavia’s own backyard.
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had 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? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse—that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce’s drawing room.
Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special object in her possession—a portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?
As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.
Alan Bradley is the internationally bestselling author of many short stories, children’s stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. His first Flavia de Luce mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, and the Agatha Award, and was nominated for the Macavity, the Anthony, and the Barry awards. His second Flavia de Luce mystery is The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. Bradley lives in Malta with his wife and two calculating cats, and is currently at work on the next Flavia de Luce mystery, I Am Half Sick of Shadows.