I Am Half Sick Of Shadows by Alan Bradley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed the first 3 Flavia de Luce books, but I was disappointed in this one. The mystery is a classic manor-house-in-a-storm set up so we know the killer is in the house, but this didn't seem to occur to anyone there which was weird. Flavia's plot to catch Santa Claus was interesting, but ultimately (despite being an obvious plot device to save Flavia from a jam toward the end of the story) it fizzled.
The astute observations of the world around her, which were one of my favorite things about the earlier books, were few and far between here and the unraveling of the mystery seemed haphazard and out of character for our scientist heroine. The background on Aunt Felicity's wartime activities was intriguing, but not much was done with that storyline. I hope it comes up again in more depth in a future book.
There were a few good lines in the book. One of my favorites was "Cocoa is never too much trouble in any 'ouse'old what's run as it ought to be." (p.102)