What Does Madame Curie And Pippi Longstocking Have In Common?

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They are the cross of brains and personality that comprises the firecracker heroine of Alan Bradley’s mystery series. She is called Flavia de Luce and I have never enjoyed the character of a mystery series as much as I do this one. In the fourth book “I Am Half-Sick of Shadows” the whole village of Bishop’s Lacey ends up at Buckshaw , the moldering old estate where the de Luce family lives. A blizzard and a murder make up for a jolly good read (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Their widowed father and Flavia along with her two older sisters and a demented butler/friend make up the main characters but Flavia continually steals the scenes. Her rapier sarcasm and intellect drive the police inspector batty and the torture she dreams up for her sisters is not to be missed. Oh… did I tell you she has a chemistry hobby and her love is poisons? There is a scene in this book that will stay with me forever where Flavia attempts to put back on the shoe of a dead woman. She is sassy, but sad. Her father is grieving and vacant and buries himself in the study of postage stamps and doesn’t see the needs of his brilliant daughter most of the time. Her sisters gleefully, emotionally torture her mercilessly but this scrappy eleven year old can hold her own with anyone. You will adore her, and wonder  how we ever  survived our siblings with any self-esteem.

My brother used to torture me with practicing “The Three Stooges” stunts on me. We are not close to this day. How did your siblings influence your childhood?

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