Friday, May 13, 2016

Review: The Dead in the Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley (Flavia De Luce, Book 6)

Synopsis: 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 Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit—Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer. (from the back of the book)

Review: After all the build-up, we finally get the answer to the questions about Harriet - who she was, why she left, and how she died. But, sadly, this book wasn't as satisfying as it could have been. It was more disjointed than his previous Flavia stories. Flavia seemed to lack interested in the murder (although, having her mother's body resting down the hall might have had something to do with this), and even her scheme to raise her mother from the dead was quickly abandoned - very unFlavia like. There also seemed to be some discontinuities, which I won't mention here to prevent Spoilers. But they bothered me.
Despite all this, this book still delivered. We learned, as Flavia did, about who she is - and who she will be. And in the end, Bradley's work isn't a serious of murder mysteries but a study of a precocious 11-year-old genius, who loves chemistry, solving mysteries, and her broken and wounded family.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-385-34405-0
Year Published: 2014
Date Finished: 4-29-2016
Pages: 315

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