The third mystery from Alan Bradley in the Flavia de Luce series, A Red Herring without Mustard gives the reader even more insight into the precocious, 11-year old, amateur sleuth, Flavia de Luce. Flavia is a heroine for females of all ages; she is resourceful, clever, and independent, despite being routinely set upon by her two older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, whose attacks would defeat a weaker spirit, especially as they routinely tell her their now deceased mother, of whom Flavia has no memories, did not love her. (I hope there will be a book dealing with Harriet's life and death.) Flavia is also admirable as a self-taught chemist. Her experiments are clever and motivated by curiosity as learning should be. Though these are not specifically YA mysteries, they certainly would appeal to a young audience, yet the mystery is not so simplistic as to bore an adult. The historical elements of the stories, which take place in post-WWII, rural England draw the reader into Flavia's world. The first two mysteries, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag, are not required to jump in to the third book, but why wouldn't you want to spend time with Flavia.
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