Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Alan Bradley's The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is one of the best Flavia de Luce books so far.

The book takes place in the spring of 1951.

Eleven-year-old Flavia's father announces that a train will bring his wife, Flavia's mother, home.

Flavia never knew her mother. Her mother left on an unspoken-about mission when Flavia was an infant.

As the family waits on the platform, a mysterious man warns Flavia of impending murder. He uses what seems to be a special code. Someone kills the man by pushing him in front of the train's wheels.

Flavia investigates the man's murder. She also learns about her family's history. And more than that, she learns that she is destined for a special role in the family.

Flavia's family itself has heroes and villains. They have also had a greater part in Britian's history than I might have understood before. Even retired Prime Minister Winston Churchill plays a bit part in this story.

This is a hard book to summarize without including spoilers. Suffice it to say that Flavia is growing up. She suffers and she grows in this novel.

I have always enjoyed the Flavia de Luce books, some more than others. As I said at the start, this one is the best so far.  

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