I was so wonderfully excited when i found out we were getting TWO Flavia books in one year. A Red Herring Without Mustard in the spring then I Am Half-Sick of Shadows in the fall.
For readers of the series, this novel is a bit different as takes place
entirely at Buckshaw. There's no Flavia zooming about on Gladys but
there is plenty of chemistry and experiments in the lab. Flavia manages to do a bit of sneaking out even. Due to their dire financial situation, Flavia's father rents out Buckshaw to a film company over Christmas. A famous actress arrives with the film crew and almost immediately makes friends with Flavia. The local vicar gets the idea to have the actress and her costar enact a scene from Romeo and Juliet which they are famous for, all to help fund the church roof. So half the village gathers at Buckshaw on Christmas Eve, then can't leave due to a blizzard. Of course, that's the night someone gets murdered.
The snowed in
situation gives the book a bit of a claustrophobic feel but it works
well. Flavia is still wonderful. We learn more of Dogger and how talented, and broken, he is. We get hints regarding the mystery of Harriet but not enough to draw any firm conclusions though perhaps her disappearance was related Flavia's aunt's activities during WWII or whatever happened to Dogger. I both can't wait and dread discovering the exact facts.
This book is very fun. a 6! Read this series!