• The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

  • A Flavia de Luce Novel
  • By: Alan Bradley
  • Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,315 ratings)

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The Grave's a Fine and Private Place  By  cover art

The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

By: Alan Bradley
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
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Publisher's summary

"The world's greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth" (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty new mystery novel from award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, 12-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly, something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia's grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia's mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder - although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

©2018 Alan Bradley (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"If ever there were a sleuth who's bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it's Flavia de Luce." (USA Today)

"Delightful...a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes." (The Boston Globe)

"Longtime series narrator Entwistle knows her characters and deploys their divergent personalities to excellent effect. She also nicely colors other parts, from village undertaker to grand dame, and aces multicharacter conversations. Flavia fans will be delighted." (AudioFile)  

Featured Article: The Best Cozy Mysteries to Keep You Warm This Holiday Season


We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best cozy mystery audiobooks to help brighten up your winter listening. Here you'll find contemporary and historical cozies, classic whodunits and ingenious heist stories. While varying in tone, plot, and setting, these picks all share an irresistible holiday atmosphere. You'll find snowstorms galore, bakeries full of tasty holiday treats, glittering get-togethers, and picturesque English villages decked out in their holiday finest.

What listeners say about The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Flavia is growing up!

I’ll have to say I was somewhat under impressed with the last couple of episodes in this series (despite that they had a lot of important life events for our young heroine, Flavia de Luce). This book appears to be marking a most definite transition point for her though, and I suspect future ones will be quite interesting to read.

If you have not read this series, you should start from the beginning, because even though this is a self-contained story, the back stories of the characters would make it much more understandable.

The family is trying to manage the passing away of their father, so they have chosen to spend time on a river trip. Flavia is dragging her hand through the water, and naturally (for her) she happens to snag a corpse. So even though this is a strange town, they have to stop, and quickly get involved in a larger mystery that the town people have been coping with. And, naturally, Flavia is up to the challenge. Dodger, the family watchdog (former military friend of her father) is increasingly playing a more prominent role, and it seems they are sharing the detective duties on this one, which seems to point to the direction of future books (to the good of the whole series, I think).

Flavia is delightful—she is everything a teenaged girl might aspire to be: clever, intelligent, brave, self-possessed, etc. And yet, she can be quite a little pest at times. Personally, I think I would like hearing a little less of her internal musings about chemical reactions, etc. All her scientific recitations reach the point where they seem more like filler for the book than information that adds to the story. I accept that she’s brilliant, but sometimes I’d like a little less of her technical info, and more showing how she puts it to use.

In the very first book, I thought the narrator was a bit off-putting. I am so sorry I ever thought that, because over the course of the series, the charming voice of Jayne Entwhistle has seemed to perfectly evoke the various tones of the precocious Flavia. Now I can’t imagine anyone else ever reading these books! In fact, I think I’m liking her reading almost more than the story. Jayne Entwhistle *is* Flavia for me now. Recommend!

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Flavia is in the thick of it

As usual Flavia finds a conundrum of a death & doggedly works to solve it, this time without the help of her friend Inspector Hewitt. With Dogger by her side she teases out the threads of the tale to solve the mystery. Jayne Entwistle gives voice to the characters as only she can do. A fun tale of daring do & murder most foul.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Poor Flavia Can't Catch a Break

While this story is a vast improvement over "Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mewed", it does not live up to the high bar set by "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie". I liked the closeness Flavia finds with both new and old characters. She is as feisty as ever and even more clever. But the horrors the author contrives for our heroine are to me, quite hard to bear. Still the good news is that we fans have cause to hope for better things ahead.

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Flavia is a delight

"Still, a quotation with the word 'embalm' in it could never be a bore."

That's how Flavia thinks. She's amazing. In this latest adventure she discovers (how does she keep doing this?) a body while drifting down a river with her family. That starts her on a trail of discovery involving murder, of course.

Flavia is growing up and this book is missing the attempted poisonings of her sisters and Flavia's interaction with her favorite Detective Inspector -until the end. And the story itself isn't up to the high standard of the previous books but it still rates 5 stars across the board for me. The narration of the audiobook is fabulous, as well.

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Oh Dogger, Art Thou Dearest

Would you listen to The Grave's a Fine and Private Place again? Why?

Jayne Entwistle is my favorite narrator and Alan Bradley can spin an intelligent cozy mystery that NEVER gets old or tiring.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the ability for the story to remain fresh and appealing with such gratifying attention to details. I also love that Dogger is beginning to become more of a bigger influence in the storyline. I'm keen to hear more of the other de Luce familia and acquaintances. This series can spin in many different ways, in my opinion.

What does Jayne Entwistle bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Jayne just envelopes the character and mannerisms of Flavia that I really have begun to think of them as one and the same. Jayne makes Flavia seem authentically real.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Old Arsenic & Chimerical Anecdotes

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Nice installment for this series

First, the narrator for this series will be forever in my head, connected to the character.

This book was a nice improvement over some of the previous. Flavia is back with her family and being watched over and helped to grow and learn by Dodger and learning that while it isn't always obvious to her she is loved by her sisters and has more in common with them than she thinks. The mystery is okay, the relationships built even better and some of Flavia's humor and naivety are diminishing as she grows. Her sense of humor is there, but circumstances and growing have made her a bit more serious. I thought this might be the last in the series, it did sort of end in a way that could be left off, but there is at least one more book coming. I will be sad when Alan Bradley says goodbye to his writing of Flavia.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Flavia!

All books in this series are wonderful. This book is exceptional! Well worth your time and book credit!

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Nice to see them work together

Always delightful, Flavia finds a mystery with the usual complexity. Especially nice to see maturing in her relationship to her sisters. Looking forward to the next one.

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I love this series! No one like Flavia!

THis series about a precocious little girl is like catnip for cats: irresistible. The previous book was sad,
the death of a major character made me wonder how this would affect the future, but Flavia, with all her
annoying habits and all her endearing characteristics survives! The character gap fills out nicely,
and the plot unfolds... the ending of course comes to a heart-pounding crisis, but all is well.
I'm grieving the end of this series, as there is but one book to go... So I'll put a bit of distance between
me and Flavia... and pray for the author to give us more volumes.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Step back Sherlock, Flavia is here!

Flavia's world is influx with loss and rudderless. All it takes is a murder to clear the cobwebs and right her footing again. While on holiday, Flavia, her sisters and Dogged uncover a body in the river. The police believe it was suicide yet our young detective smells could play and sets off to solve the mystery. Small towns like to keep their secrets and some are more determined then others to not let them be uncovered.

I look forward to the next book. While this one answers some questions, it also leads to the next. Well done!

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