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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as "a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes" by The Boston Globe, Flavia de Luce returns in a much anticipated new Christmas mystery from award-winning and New York Times best-selling author Alan Bradley.

In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada, 12-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia's blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty - and not empty enough.

Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar's wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man's body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one's spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.

©2016 Alan Bradley (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Jayne Entwistle is rousing in this eighth Flavia de Luce novel.... Entwistle's Flavia is unruffled, while her inner dialogue is fascinating as she searches for clues. Entwistle artfully captures Dogger, Mr. de Luce's servant and Flavia's great friend, and Mrs. Bannerman, with her warm Canadian accent, as she helps Flavia research her theories. Audio is the perfect format." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Jayne Entwistle Brings Flavia to Life

These are excellent audio books with Jayne Entwistle giving voice to Flavia in the way Jim Dale gives voice to Harry Potter. I can't hear it any other way. This was another fine addition to the series but I highly recommend starting with the first, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Set in post World War II England, the highly intelligent 11-year-old Flavia de Luce solves crimes in her community. Where precocious children can get on my last nerve in stories, Flavia never does. I thoroughly enjoy her exploits and investigations. Highly recommended.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Maybe the best yet

In a way this is a stronger story than the earlier (delightful) books in the series.
Flavia has been an archetypal childish heroine, a British Anne of Green Gables who could hold her own with Tom Sawyer.
In The Brinded Cat she is growing up, but in a way true to her character. She has flashes of insight into her own motivations and those of others that we haven't seen in the earlier books. She is just as amusing (and auto-amused) as always, and the story follows a similar trajectory--discovery of a corpse, detection, resolution--but there's more to this book, and in the end we begin to see where the story may lead.
The combination of Alan Bradley's storytelling and Jayne Entwistle's performance is perfect. (Entwhistle does a pretty fair North American accent, a humorous bonus.)
Just two criticisms.
Thomas the cat must be Thomasina or a very rare mosaic, if feline coat color genetics are to be believed.
And I'd like a better-explained wrapup of the author-turned-woodcarver mystery.
But given the quality of the whole, I'm happy to settle for less.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Love love love these books

Alan Bradley is just Brilliant. I love these books as much if not more then Harry Potter . They are just so cleaver and I laugh out loud . Can't wait for the next book . PS. Jayne Entwistle is perfect . A great performance.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Flavia is finally back home

Oh it was so good to have Audible's version of this Deluce story to immerse myself in jolly old England (from Flavia's point of view.) I adore these tales and again Jayne's theatrical voices swept me away. She makes Alan Bradley's characters come to life! I always feel smarter after listening to this witty young woman.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Not My Favorite

I found this latest chapter of Flavia's life to be confusing and much too sad. I miss the joyful Flavia of the first few books.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Another fabulous book with a great narrator

Tears! Enough about the end.

I love Flavia. So this new book is a welcome glimpse into her life. The writing is fantastic and Flavia's actions, even if a bit much for a 12-year old, are a delight to read.

Dogger is a joy, the interaction between sisters is always interesting, and the new characters are well written.

The other wondrous part of this series is the narrator. Jayne Entwistle is the best for these books!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Thrice I disliked this book!

Overall this was a big big disappointment. It lacked the power to engross the reader into the story. All of the other books in this series have been engaging and I looked forward to both the story and characters. I was so disappointed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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cant wait long for the next saga!!!

I always the flavia. I love watching her grow up. Abnd know she must preserver.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Dark not fun

Flavia seems to have lost her childlike good humor in this confusing episode. I found the lengthy time she spent with the dead body very unsuitable. It is as if she went from being Nancy Drew to being Dupin in The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

Can we ever go back? I will likely try one more because I like Flavia so much. I do appreciate that she felt some remorse for treating her young cousin in the same shameful way her sisters treat her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dark, Disappointing

I had such great hopes for Flavia's return to England. Unfortunately, her homecoming is marked by sadness and a cold reception. Even Jayne Entwistle's excellent narration is touched by a more sedate and solemn timbre. Not that there aren't high points in the story, but with Flavia's life and family headed in a downward spiral, it is hard to find any joy in her return to Buckshaw, most especially at the end.
It is to be hoped that the next book will reveal a brighter season for Flavia if she is allowed to continue about her native countryside solving sticky crimes and navigating teenage turmoil.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful