Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, one of three motherless sisters living in 1950s England. She takes an extreme interest in chemistry--especially poisons--and fortunately is in possession of her Uncle Tar's laboratory where she can make use of the information she discovers. In the first three books she deals with a corpse in the cucumber patch, cruel pranks by her older sisters, and gets involved in mysteries involving old murder investigations, puppet theaters, and gypsies.
Meg Langslow is a blacksmith, an amateur detective, and now the mother of four-month-old twins. She hears a noise during a night feeding and goes downstairs to find their living room crammed with animals and birds which her doctor father, zoologist grandfather and CORSICANS (animal shelter volunteers) have rescued before they meet untimely ends, as the no-kill shelter has been forced to change its policy due to financial woes in the town.