Recommended Reading: Flavia De Luce, Passionate Devotee of Poison

WHAT’S PLAYING: The Script featuring B.o.B. “Walk Away”

‘Tis the season when little boys and girls like to snuggle in bed and read a good book.

(OK, maybe it’s just me.)

I recently finished a murder mystery featuring one of the most beguiling heroines I’ve ever come across: Flavia De Luce.

Flavia is an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry (specifically poisons) and a penchant for crime solving. (You can see why I love this kid. Not only is she like a younger, fictionalized version of me, she gets to solve murders using chemistry!) Lucky for me, Alan Bradley released the fourth book in the series just in time for the Holidays.

Merry Christmas to me!

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not just the wonderful characters that make this book – and all the other ones – exceptional. It’s also the writing.

To say that Bradley has a way with words is like saying Michelangelo was handy with a paintbrush. The way he crafts the language is mind-blowing. Here’s an excerpt from the first page:

“Tendrils of raw fog floated up from the ice like agonized spirits departing their bodies. The cold air was a hazy, writhing mist.

Up and down the long gallery I flew, the silver blades of my skates making the sad scraping sound of a butcher’s knife being sharpened energetically on stone.”

*Sigh* See what I mean?

Reading one of Bradley’s books is like diving into a soft bed covered in silk sheets and down comforters. It’s like a hot bubble bath after a long day’s work. His books are the very essence of cozy mysteries.

It pains me to say it, but not everything is roses in this latest novel. The plot meanders, especially in the beginning. The murder doesn’t occur until halfway through, and then it’s all over in another 150 pages or so. The whole investigation part of it feels rushed, almost like an afterthought.

It’s still a fine mystery, well worth reading, but I wish he had taken less time with the setup and spent more time on the actual sleuthing.

Then again, when it comes to my favorite authors the books are never long enough. When all is said and done, that’s not really a bad thing, is it?

What about you? Any books to recommend?