Bishop’s Lacey is never short of two things: mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer, and in the process, she comes closer than ever to solving her life’s greatest mystery–her mother’s disappearance. . .
How have I never come across Alan Bradley or the Flavia de Luce books before now? Seriously, I have been missing out.
I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about this book when I requested it. I fell in love with the cover and was intrigued by the synopsis. I didn’t realise it was book 6 in a series, but it turns out that it really didn’t matter. (WIN!)
***Slight Spoiler Ahead***
Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old with an insatiable desire to solve mysteries and the strange going-ons in her picturesque English village of Bishop’s Lacey. I fell in love with her instantly. She’s witty, tenacious and doggedly independent with a fiery, yet caring spirit.
At the beginning of this installment, Flavia and her father are at the train station for the long-awaited return of her mother. Her mother has been missing for over 10 years, which was a mystery in itself. Unfortunately, it’s also a mystery that will remain unsolved for the time being as Harriett de Luce arrives home in a coffin. At the same time, a man is pushed onto the tracks and killed but no one seems to have witnessed anything, and Winston Churchill is whispering about liking pheasant sandwiches! Somehow these things are connected.
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches was such a fun read. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with such great imagery and humour. She may be 11 years old, but Flavia can see the world ‘as a mixture of paints, or fluids, in a spinning centrifuge’, she can describe someone’s expression as ‘a photographic negative of his soul’ and when the shit hits the fan she just wants ‘to curl up like a salted slug and die.’ 😦 I get the feeling that Flavia feels isolated by her own age (or lack there of), and the stiff upper-lip of the middle-class life she was born into.
Despite not finding the actual mystery of the book all that thrilling, I couldn’t help getting swept away with the characters. I loved that Flavia has a chicken called Esmerelda and a bicycle called Gladys but could whip up a fatal poison in a matter of minutes.
Think Young Sherlock Holmes meets Veronica Mars and you’re there. I’m off to find the first 5 books now. Tally ho, jolly good show!
Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review. Many Thanks!
Title: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6)
Author: Alan Bradley
Details: Hardback, 336 pages
Publication Date: January 14th 2014 by Delacorte Press
My Rating: 4/5
If you liked this try: Look into my Eyes by Lauren Child