Flap copy from ARC:
Meet Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, a taste for homicide, an obsession with delving into the forbidden past of her taciturn, widowed father...and did we mention she's eleven years old?
It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Bucksaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. Then someone steals a slice of Mrs. Mullet's unspeakable custard pie that had been cooling on the kitchen window. Flavia sums it up: 'I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life...'
As the noose tightens, Flavia decides it is up to her- and her fully equipped Victorian chemical laboratory- to piece together the clues and solve a murder.
What a wonderful, fun and quirky mystery! The opening is strong, and I found myself immediately drawn to the possibly homicidal young protagonist. The book is filled with strange and not always sympathetic characters that draw the reader into Flavia's almost surreal landscape. I thought the plot was well-drawn, and even though I guessed the identity of the villain, I needed to keep reading just to learn more about how Flavia would solve the mystery. An excellent effort that could easily turn into the beginning of a series; I for hope to read more about young Flavia de Luce!