Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels are one of my favorite book series at present. As such, I space out reading them to savor the goodness, so this year I ordered a new one for my birthday, which I quickly devoured. Also, I wanted to read something special for the completion of my half cannonball (Huzzah! Hip Hooray!) But enough about me, on to the book!
Bradley has created a precocious and endearing detective in Flavia. Much like I consider Phryne Fisher of the Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries TV show to be a young Jessica Fletcher, a la TV’s “Murder She Wrote,” I consider Flavia to be the even younger Miss Fisher. In this installation, we find Flavia leaving her native England for boarding school in Canada, where she will embark on an adventure to become a sort of secret agent, just as her departed mother did before her.
I was unsure of how I would feel about the change in location, as the action in the other books took place in her hometown and surrounding English countryside, but the change brought new life to the series. Flavia largely relies on herself so though you missed the interaction between she and her family, to include their beloved household staff, there absence isn’t very jarring. Just like the other books, a body is found and she embarks on a solo mission of discovery, that remains true to form, and she uses her wits and science to break the case.
*Mild Spoiler* My only issue with this book, and the reason for the four stars and not five, is that at the end of the book we find her out of school and on her way back to England. I had just gotten invested in these new characters, and it looks like rather than a change for the series this setting was simply a break from the norm. I will still continue reading, but I’m a little disappointed, though I will reserve judgement until the next installment.