Review: A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Published: 2011
By: Delacorte Press
Series: Flavia de Luce
Source: FMPL
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  978038532322

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 de Luce… is on the loose. Anyhow, young Flavia is getting herself into predicaments nobody in their right mind would want to be a part of. Sneaking into a rooster’s coop, snooping into the history of an old religious cult of Bishop’s Lacey, keeping up with an old gypsy woman and her grand-daughter, Porcelain. So many exciting situations that nobody but Flavia could be getting herself into.

The thing about this mystery series is that the more you read them, the more in depth they become. In A Red Herring without Mustard we have a very twisted plot involving a murder, a violent attack rendering the victim hospitalized with a smashed skull, and several truths that come about like hidden passages at Buckshaw and a gift from Harriet, de Luce’s mother and wife, to her husband but was never delivered.

Of the books from the series I have read thus far, this one is my favorite. Flavia sounds more adult, and it’s proving to be exciting. Although Inspector Hewitt is tired of Flavia and her antics, he almost seems relieved when she survives another day. By the end he and his wife Antigone invite her to tea, but he did before that put her under house-arrest.

We’re also seeing a strange amount of character development. The further the de Luce’s go into debt, the more we sense the amount of pressure from Colonel de Luce as he tries his best not to put too much accountability on the girls, but also to try and figure out how to get themselves out of the hole their in. In that, there is different emotions occurring between the four of them. Father is trying to get closer to his daughters, and the older girls are just getting crueler with Flavia (okay, maybe this wasn’t much of a development, but it was worth noting).

I hope you have had a chance to read the other two books. They’re interesting all the way to the end.

5 Star signature


About Black ' n Write Reviewer

Library Tech grad who is currently working on a BA in Political Science and filling all her time with books.
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