The first book in this series was such a brilliant debut, that I just couldn't give this one 5 stars, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it immensely. Flavia is a wonderful, precocious, almost scary child. The mystery wasn't quite as compelling in this one - Flavia is never in any great danger - so it comes across as more of a cozy than the first book. But we have all of the same wonderful characters and a few new ones - Dieter, a German POW, Mad Meg, and Aunt Felicity, who might be the only adult who understands and appreciates Flavia. And we have some delightfully humorous situations - the vicar naked in the woods, the two tea room ladies with their Russian samovar (almost a character in its own right), Mad Meg and her penchant for shiny objects, Flavia's sisters constant attempts to convince Flavia that she is adopted, and the opening with Flavia imagining her own funeral. I recently "reread" the first book on audio, and followed up with this one. The narrator Jayne Entwistle has the perfect voice for Flavia. Highly recommended.
Book Description: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?
#2 of series
See: The sweetness at the bottom of the pie