A Red Herring without Mustard

The third book in the Flavia deLuce series, A Red Herring without Mustard, does not disappoint. Flavia is once again in the thick of it as she causes a fire at the village fete when she upsets a candle in the fortune teller's tent setting off a chain of events that test Falvia's detective skills.

After the fete fiasco, Flavia stumbles across the old fortune teller who has been bludgeoned almost to death. Who could have done this? With a missing child, stolen silver, a dead body in the pond and the appearance of the fortune teller's mysterious granddaughter, Flavia is exhausted.
Enter now the older sisters who are bent on adding more strife to Flavia's life. They kidnap her and proceed to scare her witless when they hide her in a cellar. This cellar experience comes in handy later on in the story. Flavia prevails however - she understands how paybacks work.
While investigating the beating of the old gypsy, Flavia discovers a local low-life has been stealing items from her house. She discovers these items in a local resale shop but shelves that investigation for later until a dead body turns up hanging from one of the statues near the family pond. Stuck in the dead man's mouth is a silver fish fork that belongs to the deLuce silver service.

Getting caught up in both investigations leads Flavia to a years old alleged kidnapping of a local child. The gypsy woman had been accused of taking the child but as the facts surrounding the beating and the murder are revealed it becomes clear something else happened to the child.

Flavia is certainly her usual busy self. This latest book brings out Flavia's increasing awareness of other people's feelings. She is worried about her father's increasing financial problems and she befriends the gypsy's granddaughter, Porcelain.

The book is well written cozy mystery. The red herrings referred to in the title are the clues that continue to pile up during the story. The mystery unfolds gradually and almost all is solved at the end. The best part is Flavia, of course. I can hardly wait to see what she does next.

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