cover image As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust: A Flavia de Luce Novel

Alan Bradley. Delacorte, $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-345-53993-9

Set in 1951, Bradley’s exceptional seventh series whodunit (after 2014’s The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches) takes Flavia de Luce, a preteen with an interest in poisons, from her family home in Bishop’s Lacey, England, to Canada, where she is to attend her late mother’s alma mater, Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. On Flavia’s very first night there, a fellow student, P.A. Collingwood, bursts into her room and reveals that three other girls have disappeared. When the head of school, Miss Fawlthorne (aka the Hangman’s Mistress), knocks at Flavia’s door, Collingwood flees up the chimney, dislodging a mummified corpse and detaching its skull. This intriguing setup only gets better, and Bradley makes Miss Bodycote’s a suitably Gothic setting for Flavia’s sleuthing. Through it all, her morbid narrative voice continues to charm (e.g., “If you’re anything like me, you adore rot. It is pleasant to reflect on the fact that decay and decomposition are what make the world go round”). Agent: Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency. (Jan.)