Precocious 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce has already charmed and amused in her previous outings, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. Now she’s back for a third appearance in an equally entertaining book, A Red Herring Without Mustard.
This time, Flavia has her fortune told by a Gypsy woman at a carnival in her hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey. She strikes up an acquaintance with the woman and encourages her to set up camp on the de Luce family grounds. But when she finds the woman bludgeoned in her caravan hours later, Flavia naturally wants to figure out who is responsible for almost killing her.
The plot thickens when another crime occurs shortly after the Gypsy’s attack, this time a murder. And when Flavia discovers that a local woman had accused the Gypsy years earlier of kidnapping her baby, she must sort through all kinds of information to find the truth and catch a killer.
Naturally, along the way, Flavia not only has to elude or trick the police investigators who want her out from underfoot, but she has to deal with her supremely annoying elder sisters, Daffy and Feely, in the best way she knows how: chemistry. It all makes for a fun third outing to post-World War II-era Buckshaw.
Rated: Mild, for just a few instances of mild language and some mild references to violence/blood.