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Bradley's award-winning Flavia de Luce series (I Am Half-Sick of Shadows; Speaking from Among the Bones) has enchanted readers with the outrageous sleuthing career of its precocious leading lady. In this sixth installment, Bradley focuses solely on the inner workings of the de Luce family and, more specifically, on the mysterious demise of Flavia's mother, Harriet. The novel opens in 1951 with Harriet's body being brought home for burial. This is no ordinary funeral, however, for all the important players in His Majesty's government have mysteriously come out to Buckshaw to pay their respects. It isn't long before murder and espionage take center stage, as does the chemical prowess of the 12-year-old protagonist. VERDICT This latest adventure contains all the winning elements of the previous books while skillfully establishing a new and intriguing story line to explore in future novels. The introduction of the outrageously obnoxious cousin Undine will be a treat for readers, who will also relish long-awaited answers to mysteries surrounding Flavia's family. Fans will be more than pleased, and it makes an excellent suggestion for fans of M.C. Beaton and Elizabeth Peters. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/13. Picked as the January 2014 -Library Reads favorite title, p. 151.-Ed.]-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
The mystery is personal for Flavia de Luce in Bradley's excellent sixth novel featuring the precocious 11-year-old sleuth in post-WWII England (after 2013's Speaking from Among the Bones). The body of Harriet de Luce, her mother who disappeared in a mountaineering accident when Flavia was about a year old, has finally been recovered, and has been transported to the family home in Bishop's Lacey for burial. As if that news wasn't dramatic enough, Flavia is dumbfounded when she finds that former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is on hand for the coffin's arrival at the railway station, and baffled when a stranger accosts her with a message for her father that "the Gamekeeper is in jeopardy." Confusion turns to horror when the messenger falls, or is pushed, beneath the wheels of the funeral train. Despite the turmoil of these developments, Flavia retains her droll wit (showing off her encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, she notes, "Metol, of course, was nothing more than a fancy name for plain old Monomethylparaminophenol Sulfate"). The solution to a murder is typically neat, and the conclusion sets up future books nicely. Agent: Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The irrepressible, nearly 12-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur detective, faces a particularly personal crisis in this, her sixth outing. Her mother, lost in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby, is coming home in a coffin, escorted by none other than former British prime minister Winston Churchill. If that isn't odd enough, the great man, before leaving, approaches Flavia and asks her if she has acquired a taste for pheasant sandwiches. Shortly thereafter, she is approached by another man with an equally cryptic message, after which he is crushed beneath a train. Despite her curiosity, Flavia must temporarily push such strange occurrences aside to evaluate her feelings about her mother and the ongoing difficulties she is having with her odious sisters and distant father. If the somewhat tangled plot requires a bit of patience to negotiate, be assured that Flavia (who leaves the fingerprints of her brilliant mind on nearly everything) is as fetching as ever; her chatty musings and her combination of childish vulnerability and seemingly boundless self-confidence hasn't changed a bit.--Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2010 Booklist