The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
A Flavia De Luce NoveleBook - 2014
"On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office--and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gypsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit--Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer. Acclaim for Alan Bradley's beloved Flavia de Luce novels, winners of the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award, Barry Award, Agatha Award, Macavity Award, Dilys Winn Award, and Arthur Ellis Award: 'If ever there were a sleuth who's bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it's Flavia de Luce.'--USA Today ; 'Irresistibly appealing.'--The New York Times Book Review, on A Red Herring Without Mustard; 'Original, charming, devilishly creative.'-- Bookreporter, on I Am Half-Sick of Shadows; 'Delightful and entertaining.'--San Jose Mercury News, on Speaking from Among the Bones"--
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Fabulous. Magnificent. There aren't enough superlatives to describe this book.
Flavia deLuce is a really bright 11 year-old detective, trying to decipher exactly how her mother died. However this mystery was not compelling, and I didn't finish it.
When we last met nearly-twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce, her sagging ancestral home Buckshaw was about to be sold, she had just helped recover a legendary diamond from the clutches of a murderer and her older sister Ophelia (Feely) had become engaged. Oh, and her long lost adventuress mother had been found. (See Speaking From Among the Bones, same author). Virtually anything I now say about The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches would be a spoiler for those who love this series, as the resolution from the previous novel influences every aspect of its sequel. Needless to say, Flavia is embroiled in another murder, her sisters still torment her, her father is still distant, and her chemistry lab remains her private domain and sanctuary. However this time there is a definite atmosphere of growth and change surrounding both Flavia and the residents of Buckshaw. Bradley maintains Flavia’s young perspective with that same mixture of precociousness and naivety that has become so endearing in our heroine, but Aunt Felicity’s visit brings a whole host of revelations (we finally learn more about dear but enigmatic Dogger). Flavia’s growth as a person means she begins to live outside her own head a bit more; she begins to see others as they are, and begins to empathize with them too. She is naturally quite alarmed by this development in her personality, and her ruminations (plus the regular gallows humour) help maintain the wit of this novel, which is rather darker than the others in the series. For those who have not been properly introduced to Flavia, it would be best to start at the delightful beginning, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. For those chomping at the bit for Flavia’s newest adventure, be prepared to be delighted on two fronts – the story is a great yarn, and – spoiler alert! – Flavia is coming home to us.
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