Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

First Sentence: To begin with, it was a perfect English morning: one of those dazzling days in early April when a new sun makes it seem suddenly like full-blown summer.

Flavia de Luce’s mother disappeared when Flavia was so young, she doesn’t even remember her, yet she has always naturally longed for her. Now her mother has been found and is coming home by train. At the station, a stranger whispers a message in Flavia’s ear. Shortly after, he ends up dead under the train. Suicide? Murder? A roll of film found in the attic lead Flavia on an investigation involving Winston Churchill and a Gipsy Moth airplane.

Bradley has such a remarkable voice. You are completely absorbed in the story from the very first page, begins with a twist, and then we are met with one surprise after another.

Flavia is such a wonderful character, and so alive we can sense her emotions. She has the brilliance of a prodigy, the naiveté of a teen, and an insecurity which gives her the overwhelming need to know she’s as loved as anyone else in her family. Some readers find her rather terrifying. However, one could interrupt Flavia as a character who has always felt outside her family. Rather than letting this overwhelm her, she uses her strength and her brilliance to prove her worthiness to herself and to others. In this, she becomes a particularly good role model to young readers.

In Undine, her cousin, Flavia has an intellectual challenger. Dogger, a shell-shocked war veteran seems to be the one person who understands Flavia. In this book, more of his background, as well as his relationship to Flavia’s father, is revealed.

All the scientific and technical information is fascinating. It doesn’t slow the story at all. Instead, it provides the reader with fascinating bits of information.

“The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches” is a wonderful book in an absolutely delightful series. Hopefully, Flavia will take a long time growing up so that we have her adventures for many more years to come.

THE DEAD IN THEIR VAULTED ARCHES (Ama. Sleuth-Flavia de Luce-England-Cont) – VG+
Bradley, Alan – 6th in series
Delacorte Press, 2013


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