From Dagger Award-winning and internationally best-selling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery, starring one of fiction’s most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant 11-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths—separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads.
Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.
Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What of the vicar’s odd ministrations to the catatonic woman in the dovecote? Then there’s a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters, a reproachful spinster aunt, and even a box of poisoned chocolates. Most troubling of all is Porson’s assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?
©2010 Alan Bradley (P)2010 Random House Audio
"Billiant, irresistible and incorrigible, Flavia has a long future ahead of her. Bradley's mystery debut is a standout." (Kirkus Reviews)
Alan Brady's Flavia de Luce mysteries provide a delightful distraction from the mundane. Flavia is 11 years old, and lives in a crumbling country house near a quintessential English village. She is willful, resourceful, neglected by her father and ignored by her two older sisters. That neglect provides her plenty of time to investigate the characters of her village and the surprisingly frequent murders in this small population. Jane Entwhistle is the perfect reader to perform this book! She does Flavia's youthful voice and the voices of the many elder ladies with aplomb, and the male voices are rendered well. Flavia has an unusual fascination with chemistry, and in particular, in the chemistry of poison. Her alarming attempts to poison her elder sister provide a counterpoint to her efforts to puzzle out why—in this instance—a traveling puppeteer dies in the middle of a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk in the parish hall of the local church.
Mysteries, classics, non-fiction, time travel, Bounty hunters, grim reapers... anything but vampires, please!
Witty, Winsome and Warm.
The story was solid, and the character is just enchanting. You get enough hints to guess your way ahead a little, but not enough to give the plot away.
Unlike other reviewers who hated the narration, I think it is one of my favorite components of this series. You can hear the smile in her voice, and get drawn into her self-delight as she figures things out. I find myself smiling along with Flavia and Jane, and people around me ask me what I am chuckling at.
I've smiled all the way through the first two books.
I've bought the whole series now, - -saving the last two for vacation - and am putting them on my ever evolving "recommending to friends" list. They are just delightful and smart!
Flavia learns all!
Flavia, of course. She of the indefatigable curiousity and spirit with a touch of pain supplied by her sisters.
Flavia (again). Her "voice" reflects her perfectly.
Do you need help?
Alan continues to craft wonderfully interesting characters in a beautiful landscape. I love the little details of the British countryside and people from this time period of history. The narrator takes them to the next level bringing them to life. I don't really know what else to say other that this is the best of what an audiobook can be.
You don't need to have read the first one to enjoy this book, but if you have this is more of the same.
Take the mind of Miss Marple (Agatha Christie), add in a pinch of Sherlock Holmes' penchant for the laboratory, and put it all into the body of an almost-eleven-yr-old, precocious & independent spirit of an English girl, and you've got Flavia de Luce! What a trip! Then, have it all narrated by the incredibly talented voicing of Jayne Entwistle, and you have the makings of a truly enjoyable read/listen!
Flavia deLuce is a delightful character, and Ms. Entwistle does a pitch-perfect job of narrating her voice. Flavia immerses you in the world of her 1950s small English town as her spunk and initiative get her into all kinds of adventures, while enabling her to solve not one, but two, mysterious deaths.
I give this three stars for the spunky and brilliant young female protagonist, and I liked the plot but I was really put off by the narrator. Unfortunately, with audio books the narrator really can make or break the experience for the listener, and I found this narrator arch, squeaky and out of touch with the nuance.
I might get the next book in paper form to give the series a fair shot.
Say something about yourself!
I wish to express a minority view on the performance of this book. In a nutshell, as a native English (UK) speaker I find the performer's accent highly irritating. It is a mere facsimile of British English pronounciation. The performer is obviously an American speaker imitating what she thinks is an English accent. (I know she was born in Lancashire, and indeed every now and then a Lancastrian accent breaks in, usually for just a single word.) On far too many occasions a word is completely mispronounced. For instance "rant" would be pronounced as "rarnt" whereas, in fact, the word is pronounced the same in British and American English. The presenter's accent may be suitable for American ears but for me the reading is inauthentic, artificial and spoils the overall experience. I am unable to complete listening to the book. My star ratings are based on about 1 hour of listening.
Having said this, it is only fair to add that the presenter's attempt to sound like a very clever 11 year old, the heroine of the story, succeeds quite well.
it's to drawn out. not nearly as good as the previous book.
I may not try any more of Flavia's books.
It was well read and a good story for an adolescent. I didn't realize it was a "nancy drew" type story. For a kid's review, I would rate it higher.
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