Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

Title: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
Author: Alan Bradley
Series: Flavia de Luce, book 6
Genre: Mystery
Published: 2014
Rating: 8/10

Review: The latest installment in Flavia de Luce mystery series has been waiting for me to read it since January when it got released. Despite being pretty excited about the novel, I didn't get to reading it until a few days back. Then, of course, I gobbled up the whole thing pretty quickly and now I am left with the wait for the next book in the series (which I have learned will have 10 books in total).

This particular installment breaks the mold of the previous stories. In the past, each story contained a murder investigation which Flavia would solve. In this story, the plot circles around the corpse of her long dead mother, Harriet. The body is finally discovered after 10 years of uncertainty and brought back for a funeral at Buckshaw.

The tensions are high in the household. Visitors flood the estate. Flavia's cousin Lena arrives with her daughter Undine. A dashing pilot Tristram Tallis flies in on Harriet's plane. Adam Sowerby shows up, and Aunt Felicia is there too. We even get to see Winston Churchill for a brief moment. And in the center of it all, Flavia, trying to cope, and planning her mother's resurrection.

I enjoyed how The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches finally advances the story line to reveal a number of family secrets. Flavia learns much more about her mother and father in this book than she does in the whole series prior and it changes her relationship with the various members of the family. I am quite excited where the author has decided to take the story and will be looking forward to finding out what happens to Flavia in the next book.

In terms of the mystery itself, this is probably the first time where I figured out the identity of the murderer before Flavia does in the story. I am generally happy to let Flavia explain what happened without trying to figure things out myself -- I enjoy her process of doing so. However, this time around the solution just dawned on me a little bit earlier than usual. Or maybe it dawned on Flavia a little bit later than usual. The ending still contains a few surprises and did I mention I want the next book now? Setting my alarms for next year to look out for more Flavia adventures.

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