What a delicious piece of fiction! A truly precocious eleven year old girl delves into the gory details of a murder in her family's cucumber patch with the zeal and insight of Sherlock Holmes. The year is 1950 and Flavia de Luce lives in a giant manor house with her older sisters and her reclusive father. But Flavia is no ordinary little girl. She has a knack for chemistry and a penchant for poison, spending most of her time performing experiments in the manor's giant chemistry lab.
When a man breathes his dying breath into her face, exhaling a smelly "Vale!" as he expires, Flavia realizes that the man was murdered - she could smell the poison on his breath. Knowing that she is smarter than everyone around her, she throws herself into discovering the secrets surrounding the murder. She is Sherlock Holmes, in manner and intelligence, in a little girl's body.
What a truly fun read! And good news! There are to be six more in the series!
AND! If you are uber-nerdy, there is a Flavia de Luce fan club: