Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review Friday: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

What happened to April?
          I haven't got the foggiest notion.  It went by in a blur, didn't it?

But, back to business....

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is the latest Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley.   At the end of the last book, Speaking from Among the Bones, Flavia and her family received some shocking news.  In this book the family tries to cope with the results of that revelation. But there is still a mystery to solve, who was the mysterious man at the train station who was pushed under the train and killed?  And why did he tell Flavia to warn her father that "the Gamekeeper is in jeopardy" just before he was killed? 

The mystery is a little less important here than the overall changes happening to Flavia and her family.  Flavia is growing up and momentous things are obviously in store for her, and sometimes the mystery seems to take a back seat.  But Flavia is still her precocious, brilliant, poison-loving self and the story is well-worth your time.

Full disclosure, I began by listening to the audio book and it nearly drove me insane.  During the course of the story, the author introduces us to Undine, Flavia's six-year-old cousin.  The whiny, obnoxious voice reader, Jayne Entwhiste uses for Undine got under my skin from the very first line she uttered and kept me from enjoying the story.  Once I set aside the audio and picked up the print I was in love with Flavia once more. 

To truly enjoy this series you must start at the beginning with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  For my review of that book click here.  Although the main character is an eleven-year-old girl, you'll find these books on the adult side of the library, not in the children's department.  The stories are well-plotted cozy mysteries with quirky friends, neighbors, and victims.  While the overarching story arcs regarding Flavia's missing mother and what will happen to the family's ancestral home are finally resolved in The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, there are still questions Flavia wants answered, and Bradley has four more books under contract with his publisher.

If you enjoy the Flavia de Luce Mystery series, you might like:

The Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny
The Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
The Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer