Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review of "The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches" by Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is a brilliant young girl whose knowledge of chemistry is on par with many Ph.Ds. Flavia uses her abilities to investigate murders, and delights in solving crimes ahead of the police. In this sixth book in the series Flavia once again uses her skills to track down a killer. The book could be read as a standalone but it's much better to start with book one and go on from there.


Twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce and her family are at the train station awaiting the return of a relative when a mysterious man gives Flavia a cryptic message for her father. Before long the man is dead, his mutilated body lying under the train. Thus begins a Flavia de Luce novel that is more of an espionage story than a murder mystery.

Nevertheless, Flavia is up to her usual tricks in this book, cooking up exotic chemical experiments to reanimate the dead and to decipher hidden messages. As always, Flavia is also plotting to best the local police with her superior detective skills. The book is filled with interesting characters, including Mr. de Luce's faithful manservant (and jack of all trades) Dogger, eccentric relatives, quirky acquaintances, and Flavia's sisters.

I was a little annoyed by Flavia's continuing arrogance and (often-expressed) high opinion of herself and I found the convoluted espionage tale slightly confusing. Nevertheless it was an okay light read.

Rating: 3 stars

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