A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD by Alan Bradley
Flavia had asked the old Gypsy woman to tell her fortune, but never expected to stumble across the poor soul, bludgeoned in the wee hours in her own caravan. Was this an act of retribution by those convinced that the soothsayer had abducted a local child years ago? Certainly Flavia understands the bliss of settling scores; revenge is a delightful pastime when one has two odious older sisters. But how could this crime be connected to the missing baby? Had it something to do with the weird sect who met at the river to practice their secret rites? While still pondering the possibilities, Flavia stumbles upon another corpse - that of a notorious layabout who had been caught prowling about the de Luce's drawing room.
Pedaling Gladys, her faithful bicycle, across the countryside in search of clues to both crimes, Flavia uncovers some odd new twists. Most intriguing is her introduction to an elegant artist with a very special portrait that sheds light on the biggest mystery of all: Who is Flavia?
As the red herrings pile up, Flavia must sort through clues fishy and foul to untangle dark deeds and dangerous secrets.
Number three in the Flavia series. I'm enjoying these books and especially Flavia. The mysteries are rather simple, but the real fun of the books, for me, is seeing what plots of revenge against her sisters Flavia can concoct. Wise beyond her years, Flavia manages to outsmart the local police department yet again by solving three seemingly unrelated crimes.
I think there are two more books in this series so far, and I'll be looking for them at the library.