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Mystery Monday – A Red Herring Without Mustard


A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley (The third Flavia de Luce mystery)

Review by Vicky T. (VickyJo)


Flavia is back, and she’s just as precocious as ever.  This 11-year-old girl, who loves chemistry and poisons, thinks her two older sisters are odious toads, and has named her trusty bicycle Gladys, will steal your heart once again in this fun mystery by Alan Bradley.

The little village of Bishop’s Lacey is bustling with excitement.  Not only is there a fête being held at St. Tancred’s Church, but a real gypsy has set up her tent to tell fortunes.  Flavia hears her fortune, which relates to the mother who died when Flavia was only a year old, and startled, she jumps up and knocks over the lighted candle.

Feeling great remorse for burning down the gypsy’s tent, Flavia invites her to camp on the grounds at Buckshaw, Flavia’s ancestral home.  Flavia returns early the next morning, hoping to have breakfast in a gypsy caravan, only to find the old gypsy woman horribly beaten and clinging to life.

Who would attack the gypsy woman?  Was it Mrs. Ball, who has always insisted the gypsies stole her baby years back?  What about Brookie Harewood, a young man of questionable morals and suspicious income?  Flavia is on the scent, determined to find the gypsy’s attacker and bring him, or her, to justice.

Finding a body hanging from Poseidon’s trident in the crumbling 19th century fountain at Buckshaw only serves to complicate matters for Flavia.  Are the two incidents related?  Leave it to Flavia to put her skills to the test, and outdetect Bishop Lacey’s police force!

Alan Bradley continues the fun in this third installment.  I love the relationship between Flavia and her sisters (“Feely was seventeen and ranked herself right up there with the Blessed Virgin Mary, although the chief difference between them, I’m willing to bet, is that the BVM doesn’t spend twenty-three hours a day peering at herself in a looking glass while picking away at her face with a pair of tweezers.”) and her hilarious and utter confidence in her own charm.

If you have not yet made Flavia’s acquaintance, you are missing out on a wonderful reading experience!  I would recommend reading her adventures in order; begin with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and then read “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag” before settling in with”A Red Herring Without Mustard.”  You won’t regret getting to know the deLuce family!




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4 Responses to “Mystery Monday – A Red Herring Without Mustard”

  1. Jerelyn H. (I-F-Letty) says:

    Great review Vicky, I haven’t read these yet, but I know I will. 🙂

  2. Maria (SassenachD) says:

    Adding these to the reminder/wish list! Thanks!

  3. Barbara (femmefan) says:

    Thanks for the review, Vicky! I had pretty much decided not to continue with this series, but I may have to take another look.

  4. ANNA S. (SanJoseCa) says:

    How could I not want to read about a precocious 11 year old who loves chemistry and poisons?! …..My kind of kid! Great review!

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