If you read me, you know I LOVE the Flavia de Luce mysteries – focusing on the humorous exploits and detective work of a precocious eleven-year-old chemist in the 1950’s British countryside. Book 5 is coming out in January and I was thrilled beyond belief to get it from Net Galley (adding to my thrill was a tweet from Flavia herself saying she hoped I liked it!).
THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!
THE DEAD IN THEIR VAULTED ARCHES takes up where the last book left off: Flavia and her family are notified that her long-lost mother, Harriet, has been found and is heading home. However, when Flavia’s family arrives at the train station, it is Harriet’s body that is returning home, not Harriet herself. How exactly did Harriet die on her mountain hiking expedition? And who was with her? What was she hiding? Who is the mysterious young man who whispers to Flavia and then has an “accident” and falls under the oncoming train? And why is the great man, Churchill, himself speaking to Flavia in what appears to be code??Flavia sets about getting to the bottom of mystery of her mother’s death; but first she seeks to use her beloved chemistry in an attempt to bring her mother back to life.
Once again, I enjoyed Flavia’s exploits and especially her uniquely intellectual voice and dry witticisms that had me laughing out loud while reading! Flavia’s attempt to bring her mother back was so poignant – there is hardly anything so heart-wrenching as a young child who yearns for their deceased mother. This time the de Luce family is shown in more of their moral and emotional complexity, and you come to know them as a family torn asunder from the loss of Harriet. Along with this is a rollicking mystery of the family’s involvement with WWII, and a finale that makes the reader think that while we will hear more from Flavia, it won’t be same as when she is toodling around the family estate.
While the first book in this series remains my most favorite, I recommend this to readers of the series. I find the stories follow best if you read them in order.
Thank you, Net Galley and Delacorte Press, for my copy!!