I loved this book. I loved this book like I love Jane Austin. In fact, it reminded me of Jane Austin. Set in the English countryside, what makes it feel like a 20th century Austin is the intelligence of the protagonist. Flavia de Luce is so magnetic. She is an 11-year-old chemist who is hated by her two sisters, ignored by her father, and orphaned by her mother when she was just a year old. She rides a bicycle named Gladys and bit by bit, puts together a mystery that involves murder, her father, the King and stamp collecting.
It's the language - the language is so delicious. Listen to this description from Flavia. "Odd, isn't it, that a charge of lipstick is precisely the size of a .45 caliber slug. A useful bit of information, really. I'd have to remember to think of its wider ramifications tonight when I was tucked safely into my bed. Right now, I was far too busy." Far too busy poisoning her sister's lipstick, as it turned out.
Flavia is a character I already picture on film. Her lines like this. "My head was spinning. I could think of nothing better to calm it down than the Oxford English Dictionary." Isn't that wonderful? I think readers from young adult through adult of all fiction persuasions will enjoy this first novel from the 70-year-old novelist, Alan Bradley.