This is the second book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series of which there are currently ten. For those that don’t know Flavia is a precocious, motherless eleven year old with a passion for poisons who lives in a crumbling country house in the village of Bishop’s Lacy in England in the 1950s. She lives with her father who has emotionally checked out and her sisters Ophelia and Daphne who seem to despise her. Like all protagonists of mystery series, Flavia lives in a town with an inordinate amount of murders and manages to come to the aid of local law enforcement whether they’d like her to or not. This second book finds Flavia investigating the mysterious death of puppeteer Rupert Porson, who is electrocuted during the performance of a show.
Half the enjoyment of a good cozy mystery isn’t merely solving the puzzle but meeting all the tertiary characters in whatever setting the mystery takes place. Bishops Lacy in 1950 has these in spades. There’s a vicar (there’s always a vicar) and his deeply unpleasant wife, the late puppeteer’s lovely but somewhat shifty assistant and two delightfully dotty old biddies that run the local tea shop. This particular volume seemed to wander a little bit more but I don’t mind this so much early in a series as there’s a lot of scene setting that needs to be done. Flavia herself is aware of her weirdness and does her best to disguise it around most people. Reading her adventures through town is a lot of fun.
A good cozy mystery is like a palate cleanser for a lot of heavier reading if you can find a good series. If you’re all caught up on your favorite cozy mystery or you’d just like a new one I’d highly recommend the Flavia de Luce series.