Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

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

Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan BradleyThe Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
Series: Flavia de Luce #6
Published by Random House Audio on 1/14.2014
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Jayne Entwistle
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher

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.

I don’t read a lot of adult books, besides romances, that is.  Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, however, are adult books that I make sure never to miss.  Therefore I was pretty darn excited to read Flavia’s latest book, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (seriously, these books have the best titles!).  I’ve come to expect amazing things from this series, and even though this is the sixth book in the series, I loved it nearly as much as the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

As I mentioned in my review of Flavia’s fifth book, Speaking from Among the Bones, the absolute best thing about this series, is the main character, Flavia.  She’s an almost twelve year old girl, living with her father, two older sisters, and a small number of servants at her parent’s impovershed estate, Buckshaw, in 1950s England.  Flavia is one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever come across in the hundreds of books I’ve read over my lifetime.

Flavia is incredibly smart, and quite daring, in her attempts to solve murders in tiny Bishop’s Lacey.  Flavia has a real passion for chemistry, and her knowledge in that area most assuredly comes in handy during her investigations.  Flavia is such a fleshed-out character.  The relationships she has with her father and two sisters are fascinating, and although I’m so happy that I do not have those kinds of relationships with my family, I am fascinated by hers.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches has a format a little different from the previous five books.  I can’t go into detail because NO SPOILERS, but if you are familiar with the other books, you will realize the differences.  In the previous books, there is a murder, and then Flavia tries to figure out who the bad guy is.  This wasn’t quite the case in The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, although there is a mystery, of course.  What was very interest, however, was the ending.  Bradley is changing things up, and, to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it.  That said, I understand why he is switching things up, and I’m sure he will totally rock these changes.

The Flavia de Luce books are mysteries, and if you like mysteries, I think these will often leave you guessing on who done it.  But, even if mysteries aren’t your favorite genre, I think you might still really enjoy this series.  The setting of Bishop’s Lacey, and Buckshaw, are captivating, and definitely a huge draw to these books.  But the characters, especially Flavia, make reading these books regardless of your preferred genres.



4 Responses to “Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley”

  1. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    I haven’t read any books in this series but I do love mysteries (though I haven’t read one in awhile it seems) so I want to check this out! Your description of Flavia as a character has me really intrigued too – the really great mysteries have exceptional, dynamic detectives and I’m interested in knowing how Flavia captures that!

    • Quinn

      I really, really, really recommend this series. Flavia is such an interesting character. It took me a little bit to understand her, but once I did, I fell madly in love with her, and this whole series. If you like mysteries you definitely need to check this series out. The first book is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

  2. Finley Jayne

    This installment caught me off guard, because it didn’t follow the pattern of the previous books in the series. But, I enjoyed it and also gave it 4 stars 🙂

    • Quinn

      It caught me off guard. I actually really missed Flavia’s interactions with Inspector Hewitt, and it’s something i’m going to miss in the next installments. But I’m sure there will be a new detective for her to get all competative with 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.