Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches

You know those books where you finish them and have no desire to go back into regular life or read another book?  The book is still so present in your mind that all you want to do is sit and go over the book again and feel sorry that it wasn't longer.  Well, that was how the last Flavia de Luce book was for me.  I've read some great books recently, but none of them have stuck with me like this.  I read it in about two sittings in one day and it was wonderful.

I'd heard some bloggers mention that this book isn't like the earlier books and this made me a little worried that I wouldn't like it as well.  I definitely agree with them, this book is a little different from the earlier books.  The other books followed the pattern of a pretty classic mystery that Flavia solves by traveling around her little village finding clues and talking to people.  Along the way, of course, there is some family friction and little side adventures, but the point is solving the mystery.  Well, this final book doesn't follow this pattern at all.

As the story begins, the de Luce family is standing on the railway station waiting for their long-lost dead mother who wrecked in the alps (I think...but I can't absolutely remember where it was) when Flavia was a baby.  As they stand waiting, a tall man comes over to Flavia and murmurs, "You like pheasant sandwiches, too?"  Minutes later, somebody shoves him onto the railway and he is run over by the train.  As the family members begin to flock to Buckshaw, Flavia learns more and more about her mother and she begins to suspect that there is more to her mother's death than meets the eye.  Is it perhaps connected to the man who died on the railway tracks?

Alan Bradley wrote about Flavia's mother's death and the reactions of the family so beautifully; I found the funeral scene so heartbreaking that it gave me chills.  I tend not to like extremely emotional scenes in books, but this was so believable and understandable that I thought it was very appropriate. The ending surprised and pleased me and the loose ends were so nicely tied up that I was left feeling quite satisfied with Flavia's lot.

I don't just recommend this series.  You must read this series.  I'm even considering buying these and re-reading all of them, they were so good.  However, if you don't want to buy them, please, please, please check them all out of the library and read them.  I promise, you will be glad that you did.

And that's the end of the Flavia de Luce series.  I've heard murmurings about there being more books, but who knows.  On Good Reads, the seventh book is listed with a 2015 release date, so we'll see...
Oh, but please, Alan Bradley, I want more!

Here are the links to all the blog posts I wrote about Flavia de Luce:

And here's the handy-dandy amazon link, so you can order this straight away, if you so choose.


  1. In an interview on Cornflower Books, it pretty definitively states that though the original contract was for six books, it's been extended for ten...I think you have hope!

    1. Oh goody! Thanks for doing the research for me!