By Tina Jordan
Updated January 26, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

Think preteen Nancy Drew, only savvier and a lot richer, and you have Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old sleuth of the English gentry who’s morbidly interested in both corpses and poison (she’s got a chemistry lab in the attic). When a body turns up on the lawn of the family estate — skewered by an heirloom sterling lobster fork — she gets to work. Don’t be fooled by Flavia’s age or the 1950s setting: A Red Herring isn’t a dainty tea-and-crumpets sort of mystery. It’s shot through with real grit. B+