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Publisher's Summary

Flavia de Luce - "part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (The New York Times Book Review) - takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times best-selling author Alan Bradley.

©2015 Alan Bradley (P)2014 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    720
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Performance

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    26
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    5
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Doesn't live up to it's promise.

There was so much more Alan Bradley could have done with this book that I find it especially disappointing. Flavia is marvelous, as always, and I was really looking forward to reading about her in a school setting. The joys of having access to a whole new set of information, meeting kids her own age, making lifelong connections – this could have been several books of watching Flavia grow in an environment that could hone her skills and with people who could challenge her in new ways. Instead, we got an uneven and choppy book that felt like filler rather than something that advanced Flavia’s story.
Flavia noticing things other people don’t at home made sense a combination average village life dulling the senses of the adults around and an extraordinarily precocious child make for a perfect combination. Miss Bodycote’s is, however, supposed to be home to a group of people dedicated to turning out, for lack of a better term, spies. And yet Flavia easily gets away with her tricks, no one has noticed the bits of the mystery that she does, and no one will really talk to her about what’s going on when she's supposed to be part of an inner sanctum. Quite honestly, the story practically doesn't make any sense at all.
So why three stars when I really wanted to give it two? Because it’s Flavia. I really do adore the character and there are a few others introduced I thought were fun and interesting.
As for the performance – Jane Entwistle always gets 5 stars. Her narrative style is terrific: pronunciation, pacing, and characterization are always top notch!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A little disappointing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Only if the friend had previously read the rest of the series. I don't think Flavia's character quirkiness is explained well enough.

Would you recommend As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust to your friends? Why or why not?

I agree with several other reviews. There was something lacking in the flow. Too much "not now", "I can't tell you that", etc. The ending was abrupt, as well. What was the point of the school? Flavia was there for what, a week? Two? Frankly, it left me with more questions than answers.

Have you listened to any of Jayne Entwistle’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Jayne Entwistle is perfect, as usual. Even though I own the books to read, it is much better to listen to Jayne's interpretation. She puts in the nuances and British accent that my mind can't quite do.

Do you think As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

There should definitely be another book. Did Flavia actually learn anything at the school? Has she matured in any way? What is going to happen to Flavia when she returns to Buckshaw? How will the financial crisis be resolved? Will Feely and Daphne be nicer? Inquiring minds want to know.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely Flavia. Fantastic job.

I love this character and I eagerly await every new installment. But this one felt a bit more hastily contrived than its predecessors...as though Mr. Bradley couldn't wait to get Flavia back to Buckshaw (for which I really can't blame him).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Flawed, but still Flavia

I'm sure that followers of this series read it more for the incomparable Flavia than for the mystery stories themselves. In the case of this installment, that's a good thing. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Flavia adapt -- or not -- to her new environment (either boarding school or penal colony, depending on whether the person being asked is Flavia). However, the mystery, which involves the identity of a corpse who makes an abrupt reappearance, is clearly an afterthought. I was fine with that until the end of the book, when Bradley wraps it up too rapidly and too easily. Bradley violates the classic "show, don't tell" rule by having characters simply tell the story to Flavia, even though they're not given particularly good reasons to spill the beans. This results in a flat presentation of events that should have been dramatic. I can't help thinking that with more effort, the storyline could have been arranged to have Flavia actively discover information that, in the book as it is, she is simply told. (I'm also fairly sure that I've caught a bit of a factual howler, although I'll have to re-read to be sure.)

If you're a fan of the series, you'll buy this volume anyway, and you should, just for the pleasure of some hours with Flavia. If you're not a fan of the series yet, start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie instead of jumping in midstream. The earlier Flavia books don't demand to be read in order, but this book and the previous one are probably best experienced by readers with some familiarity with the series.

Speaking of readers, I don't love Jayne Entwhistle. Her reading of Flavia strikes me as cutesy and overly smug. Of course, Flavia is frequently smug, but the way Ms. Entwhistle reads the character sometimes makes me want to smack her (Flavia, not Ms. Entwhistle) across the face.

Bottom line? Recommended for fans, with reservations.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

It doesn't get much better than this!

Alan Bradley and Jane Entwistle are a magical combination. This series is without a doubt my most favorite in a long time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jocelyn
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 01-29-15

Flavia De Luce never fails to delight

This is the seventh book in the series by Alan Bradley. This time Flavia travels to Toronto, Canada to attend a young ladies academy. As usual trouble seems to find young Flavia. She explores and investigates in her own special way. The story is well crafted and Flavia's inner dialogue is delightful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Incomparable Flavia!

I am so sorry it has ended. Never can get enough of Flavia deLuce. Jayne Entwhistle's narration adds immeasurably to the story - she IS Flavia. Can't wait for the next installment in Flavia's adventurous life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I can't get enough Flavia

The narrator of these books is my most favorite narrator ever. The stories are compelling and Flavia's voice is so clever and engaging. I never listen to Mystery but these are my favorite books to listen to because of Flavia's personality.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • beigeplum
  • Columbus, OH, United States
  • 01-11-15

Amazing details, charming and witty

The fact that it is 3:45 am as I finish the book for those mystery lovers should be the first clue the this book was absolutely amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Flavia Strikes Again!

A new Flavia De Luce novel is always cause for celebration, and "As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust" is another memorable adventure. This time Flavia has been sent to boarding school in Canada but, whether in Buckshaw or Toronto, Flavia is irrepressible!

Jane Entwistle has narrated each of the audio books in the series and her performances continue to be extraordinary. She truly brings Flavia to life. I highly recommend this book!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful