Book Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

Posted January 17, 2014 by Whitney in Review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted ArchesThe Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
Author Alan Bradley
Series: Flavia de Luce #6
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication Date January 14, 2014
Genre: Mystery
Source: Netgalley
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On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train's arrival in the English village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear.

Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd...

Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces' crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test.

Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself.

Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office - and making spectacular use of Harriet's beloved Gypsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit - Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

Flavia grows up just a little in each novel and in The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches it is evident that she has matured and felt like a parent dropping their child off for the first day of kindergarten.  While some of the innocence is lost her skills in deduction have increased.  This mystery series is anything,  but formulaic, and is far from Fred Jones pulling off a mask to reveal the culprit.  Alan Bradley’s stories are unique and keep you on your toes.

Like Michael Jackson’s death overshadowing Farrah Fawcett’s  a small less memorable crime occurs, that of a man falling from the train tracks leaving two mysteries to solve.  Although before this act he tells Flavia “Tell your father the Gamekeeper is in jeopardy” and like Citizen Cane’s “Rosebud” this sends Flavia into a near obsession to discover who the Gamekeeper is, and through so we learn a great deal more about the de Luce family tree.
This could have been a “Kleenex please” novel, but Flavia’s forever curious nature keeps that from happening and was one of the most enjoyable books in the Flavia series.
Farrah and Michael do the tango at the end with both mysteries intertwining creating a perfect conclusion to the missing leaves in the de Luce family tree leaving the reader with a very fulfilling conclusion.



About Alan Bradley

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he remained for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994.

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