Author: Alan Bradley
Provided Synopsis: It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.
Review: Christmas has come to Bishop’s Lacey, and so has a film crew! In order to pay off the debt owed to Buckshaw Estate, Colonel de Luce has offered up the house so that a movie might be filmed on location. With plenty of quirky characters also came plenty of the familiar as the villagers of the town trudge to Buckshaw to witness a scene being put on by the famous actors. The Christmas spirit does not last long, however, for a body is soon discovered and the suspect list includes plenty.
Being 100 pages less than the previous book in the series, this jaunt with Flavia felt rushed. But that could be because a winter blizzard has restricted Flavia to Buckshaw which eliminates scenes in the village. I also did not find any of the characters from the film crew to be likable; I much preferred the interactions we received with characters we already know. Could it be that Daffy and Feely really don’t hate their little sister? How much more is there to Dogger? As always, I fell in love with conversations between Dogger and Flavia, and I long for a book that truly places them together to solve a mystery from beginning to end.
While this won’t be remembered as my favorite book of the series I ask that you please not be turned off by that. The book was still wonderful, fun, and keeps you excited to meet up with Flavia once again.