On a spring morning in 1951, 11-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office - and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit - Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.
©2013 Alan Bradley (P)2013 Random House Audio
"If ever there were a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce." (USA Today)
"Irresistibly appealing." (The New York Times Book Review, on A Red Herring Without Mustard)
"Flavia de Luce, irresistibly rendered once again by narrator Jayne Entwistle, is an 11-year-old wannabe detective who has a fully functional chemistry lab and a somewhat less functional family. Entwistle's posh accent reflects the family's more fortunate past, and she manages to capture both the child that Flavia mostly is as well as her slowly emerging maturity. Secondary characters are not neglected; Flavia's various relatives and friends--especially her sisters, an aunt, and the household help--are fully realized. Newcomers to the de Luce/Entwistle world may want to start with an earlier book, but starting somewhere is highly recommended." (AudioFile)
Was there ever a better match between character and narrator than Flavia de Luce and Jayne Entwistle? These books are funny, touching, and sometimes nail-bitingly suspenseful. I had trouble seeing with the logic of some parts of this installment, but all was wrapped up in the end in a way that made sense. I do hope there will be more in the series. Hint: don't listen to this one if you haven't listened to the previous installments. And, I do mean listen: truly a case where the narration is superior to anything one can conjure in one's head.
Love audiobooks for commuting and anywhere really.
I've seen some mixed reviews of this novel, but I feel that it is was the best one yet. Many questions were answered and the stage was set for a new chapter in Flavia's story. This story had so many things going on. Flavia starts a very macabre quest and is interrupted. The denouement where the murderer tried to flee was the finest bit of action in the whole series so far. Flavia's sister Daphne (and to some extent Ophelia) got so much more depth revealed.
I can see how some people might be put out by Flavia's personality at times, mostly in the other novels, but she was perfection in this one. There were so many character revelations or hints at revelations in this book, I was sad that there was not a new one to download immediately, a luxury I've had up until now. I intend to start over and see what I might have missed in the first listens.
I will end my review with nothing but praise for Jayne Entwhistle. She truly brings this series to life. There are many good narrators, but Jayne as Flavia is astounding and I will look forward to the next listen.
I love this series and have grown to love the quirky young heroine, wise beyond her years who is the daughter Agatha Christie never had. The audio version is always pitch perfect, the conclusion just beyond your reach and the whole experience scattered with wonderful characters that come alive on the page (so to speak.) This one volume needs to be experienced only in the proper sequence since it ties up some loose ends and launches the character into what can only mean more interesting adventures. I loved the new little character Ondine. Can't wait to see more of her. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
I am a retired Child Psychologist who delights in her three grandchildren to whom I passed on the love of reading. They read vociferously.
Yes, because of its various characters who are more than interesting. Flavia is outstanding in this one, although she does believe in fairy tales. If you like mystery, mixed with a strange but interesting family, you will like this book.
Flavia's undaunting spirit. She is dealing with a heavy load for an 11-yr.-old. She has never met her mother, but her body is brought back home accompanied by Churchill and many other dignitaries. She is determined to bring her back to life and that is when the story starts to get interesting and complicated.
No I have not, but I love her voice. It is so life-like. I believe I am listening to the real Flavia.
Yes, and I almost did.
For new sequels, please do not change any of the characters vital to the story and do not change Flavia too much. I realize she has to grow up, but maybe you can make it in increments of 3-months or so.
Best story in this genre I have read in ages. Origional.characters, excellent use of prose and imagery, and overall a very refreshing read. Not your avrrage who done it.
I really enjoyed this one to the fullest. The plot and characters are vividly intertwined and craftily depicted. Chemistry is not my strong suit so this part has been a rediscovery. Author and narrator a perfect blend!
Books-I stash them like I stash my yarn or my fabric. I used to have piles of books. Now they go where I go-in my back pocket--on the ipod
I must admit, when I purchased the first audiobook of the series, The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie, I was not immediately impressed. So I stopped listening. Audiobooks are like that, you have to be ready to accept the story into your life. About six months later, I was looking for a book to listen to, and I began listening to The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie. I was hooked. As I listened to each book in the series, I began to understand how Alan Bradley slowly began to reveal aspects of Flavia, her family, Dogger, the village. Flavia's sluething ways, her love of all things chemistry, and her desire to be viewed as a detective in her own right makes you love her old soul trapped in an 11 year old's body. This book should not disappoint you. Read from the beginning of the series. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches hopefully will have you cheering as I did as Flavia closes the chapter on being 11. I can't wait to begin reading about Flavia and her new adventures.
Fun, sentimental, revelations
I always like that there is more than one mystery at work in these stories, and yet he manages to wrap it all up in a bow for us at the end. I like the Undeen (sp?) character- a mini-me of Flavia, and the denouement of the Gamekeeper.
I've listened to all 6 in this series and she has done an exceptional job with all of these characters. I really don't think it could have been done better.
Daffy at the funeral.
I LOVE THESE BOOKS! I keep telling everyone I know to read them and I would love love love to see them made into some quality movies!!! Yea Alan Bradley!!!
Yes and no. I enjoyed being "in the moment" with Flavia as much as looking forward to what would happen at the end.
All of the prior Flavia novels. She's always been great, but I think she really upped her game on this one. Her performance seemed to reflect that she was really enjoying the characters. I think Flavia is really "growing into" Ms. Entwistle's voice.
No spoilers, but I think one of the sisters stole the show near the end of the book in a pretty unforgettable scene. Loved it.
Keep 'em coming, Mr. Bradley.
I want more.
The writing was captivating, so descriptive without going overboard, as are all the Flavia books. I couldn't wait to see how it turned out, yet didn't want it to end. It wrapped up a lot of the loose ends from the other novels.
Jane Entwistle's voice is perfect. The emotion caused me to get tears in my eyes more than once. She has a simple style of speaking the part of Flavia that adds just the right bit of drama, and her voices for the other characters bring the book to life.
This is the first author in a long time that I have enjoyed so much, I could write fan letters. I keep looking for new books that he has written. It is always hard to make sequels that are as good as the first, but I think I liked each one more than the last.
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