Thursday, January 9, 2014

Book Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, by Alan Bradley

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is a bit different than the previous Flavia de Luce novels. This one is much more personal.

Flavia's mother, Harriet, has been found. Her body is being returned to Buckshaw for a proper burial. Many people come to pay their respects, including Winston Churchill, so it becomes apparent that there's more to Harriet's life, and death, than we realized.

Flavia, of course, would like to find out what really happened to her mother. Well, actually, that's not entirely accurate. She wants to bring her back from the dead. Flavia believes this is possible, and wholeheartedly puts her chemistry knowledge to the task.

Flavia is a different kind of detective in The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. She isn't up against Inspector Hewett, even though there was a dead body on the tracks after Harriet's coffin arrived.  Flavia is too preoccupied with her mother to worry about that accident (or murder?) She doesn't do any real sleuthing or even tick anyone off.

I'm not sure I would even call this book a mystery. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches serves to expose a lot about the de Luce's past -- all of them -- including Harriet, Aunt Felicity and a new relative, Lena. But there are still a lot of questions.

Is this book the beginning of a new chapter for Flavia? By the ending, it certainly seems so. Or perhaps it's the last Flavia book? I hope not. Bradley can write about this character forever, and I would read it.

As with all of the books in the Flavia de Luce Series, this one is appropriate for teens who are mystery fans, as well as adults. Although the order of the books hasn't been too important as of yet, I would not recommend reading The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches first. I think it would be too confusing because of the already established personalities and history in the previous books. Read them all. In order. The first book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. It's an entertaining ride.

Also, I wanted to mention that I've listened to a couple Flavia de Luce books on audio, and they were wonderful. So if you are interested in audio books, give these a try.

Published by Delacorte Press, January 14, 2014
eARC obtained from NetGalley
336 pages

Rating: 4/5

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