I so love this series. A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley is a wonderful book. It begins with Flavia having her fortune read by a gypsy, Fenella Faa. Faa describes Harriet, causing Flavia to knock down a candle and sending the gypsy's tent up in flames. Flavia then invites Madame Faa to stay on Buckshaw's property until she recovers. When Flavia goes to visit the gypsy in the middle of the night, she finds the gypsy lady bashed on the head! Flavia bravely rushes for the doctor and gets Madame Faa to the hospital. Then a seemingly unrelated corpse appears, right in Buckshaw's Poseidon fountain!
A 6 from me, highly recommended! The writing is wonderful, the characters fascinating, the setting rich. I love learning more about Buckshaw and the village and all the strange characters and their histories. And Flavia! The more I read of this series, the more i feel for poor Flavia. I have a terrible hunch that her last case may involve the truth about Harriet and, worse, that it may involve the men close to her: her father and Dogger. I hope I am wrong, that this circumstantial evidence my brain keeps picking at is all, well, a bunch of red herrings!
as an aside, completely unrelated to the novel in any way...you know you are a literature geek when you hear the woman's name "POUR-sha" and you spell it Portia, rather than like the car.