Summary: Flavia de Luce, precocious budding detective and chemicals expert, meets a travelling puppeteer. When his show ends in tragedy, she ignores the efforts of her father, sisters, spinster aunt and most of the village to thwart her investigation.
As various other bloggers had indicated, this was lovely. Flavia is a brilliant creation – witty, delicate, feisty, childish at times… I really believed in her, and she was lots of fun to spend time with. (“I had no more intention of making tea than as signing on as a coal-pit donkey.”) How many 11-year-olds have a bicycle called Gladys and derive poisons from household goods?
While there were definitely hints towards the solution of the murder mystery from the start, I don’t think that there are enough to solve it until the great reveal at the end – which is fine with me, I liked watching Flavia collect the clues, rather than getting caught up in trying to solve the mystery myself. The period village setting allows for a fabulous range of characters, all of whom are developed enough to be amusing and enough for a children’s book – if this was more for adults, I would have expected the characters to be a bit more developed (particularly the older sisters).