This is the story of Flavia de Luce, a precocious eleven-year-old living in a has-been mansion with her father and sisters. Her passion is chemistry and in particular poison and she puts both to good use when she finds a dead body in the cucumber garden. Flavia is a joy and I hope we continue to read more of her adventures. This is Alan Bradley's debut Flavia novel. A second one is already out -- OK, so I was a little slow in finding out what I was missing by not reading this when it first came out. This would be great beach or airplane reading too. You can find it at Amazon.com in paperback. The hard copy is already out of print. The second book in the series, called The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, is also available at Amazon.com.