The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel

Alan Bradley. Delacorte, $24 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-34405-0
The mystery is personal for Flavia de Luce in Bradley’s excellent sixth novel featuring the precocious 11-year-old sleuth in post-WWII England (after 2013’s Speaking from Among the Bones). The body of Harriet de Luce, her mother who disappeared in a mountaineering accident when Flavia was about a year old, has finally been recovered, and has been transported to the family home in Bishop’s Lacey for burial. As if that news wasn’t dramatic enough, Flavia is dumbfounded when she finds that former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is on hand for the coffin’s arrival at the railway station, and baffled when a stranger accosts her with a message for her father that “the Gamekeeper is in jeopardy.” Confusion turns to horror when the messenger falls, or is pushed, beneath the wheels of the funeral train. Despite the turmoil of these developments, Flavia retains her droll wit (showing off her encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, she notes, “Metol, of course, was nothing more than a fancy name for plain old Monomethylparaminophenol Sulfate”). The solution to a murder is typically neat, and the conclusion sets up future books nicely. Agent: Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/2013
Release date: 01/14/2014
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