Red herring please. Hold the mustard

Mysteries. They’ve always been a….a… erm… mystery to me.

Until, that is, dear Flavia de Luce emerged.

While I would like to think that I am quite an adventurous reader – fiction? sure! Science fiction? Sure! Fantasy? Sure! Non-fiction of various kinds? Sure! – there are two sections of the library that I’ve never quite ventured to: Westerns and Mysteries. I also don’t really read romances but that tends to be filed under Fiction in most libraries….

Anyway, so back to the mystery of Mysteries. I’m just not quite sure why I’ve never quite bonded with them. Because there’s good stuff there like Agatha Christie and Laurie R. King, and… Patricia Highsmith? There are plenty of others I can’t think of right now, and in the first place, don’t really know much about. Please enlighten me in the comments, do!

Then there was Flavia. This eccentric precocious 11-year-old with a passion for chemistry, poisons and sleuthing, whose sisters torment her, whose father mostly ignores her, who is sometimes too smart for her own good, has won me over. She is very much a take-it-or-leave-it kind of character – you either love her or you don’t. But I’m guessing that with the success of this series, it’s more of the former.

And with A Red Herring Without Mustard, the third book in the series, the fun continues. Fun perhaps isn’t the right word when there’s an attempted murder of a gypsy fortune teller and then another corpse turns up in their sleepy village. But it is a light enjoyable read. It’s not the sleuthing that I enjoy reading about but Flavia’s insights into her late mother Harriet’s life, her interactions with the amusing Inspector Hewitt as well as the other personalities, and the 1950s setting in this English village.

This is one mystery series I can’t wait to read more of. Could you recommend me another?

This is my third read for the RIP VI challenge.


  1. I’ve never bonded with the mysteries either, but I really want to try out this series. Flavia sounds like a fun character, and what’s not to love about sleuthing and poisons?


  2. I’m not a huge mystery fan. I have the second in this series but haven’t started it yet. After reading your review, I’m going to work on starting the series.


  3. When I was about 20, working in a bookstore, one of my co-workers, who had about 40 more years of reading behind her, started me on mysteries. She started me on classics like P.D. James and contemporary series like Sue Grafton’s (she was earlier in her alphabet series then) and I was soooo immediately and thoroughly hooked. More recent faves that you might enjoy? Kate Atkinson (beginning with Case Histories), Giles Blunt’s Cardinal/Delorme series (beginning with Forty Words for Sorrow), and Louise Penny’s first, Still Life. These are mysteries, but heavy on character and motivation. I’ve yet to try this series, but am looking forward to it!


    1. I am quite convinced that I read Atkinson’s first book. But I can’t remember a single thing about it. Perhaps it’s a falsified memory of sorts? I will have to go check out her books again – or not again…. As well as the rest of your recs. Thanks!!


  4. I don’t read a lot of mystery series, either, but I did enjoy the first book in this series. I really must find time to read the second. Glad you continue to enjoy the series!


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