The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

alan bradleyThis was another one of my library guesses that really paid off. In fact, it’s really gotten me thinking about what I can do for my next book(s). I’m excited!

Stats: 307 pages, audio (which a did and recommend) 7 discs or 8 hours.

Genre: Flavia de Luce mystery series #6

Blurb:  (Goodreads) 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.

What I liked: One of the best things of this book (but just one) was the narrator, Jayne Entwistle. The CD back says she is based in LA, but from her wonderful accent, I can’t believe she didn’t grow up in England. She was a wonderful Flavia. The book itself is worth picking up. The story was good, with a few exceptions, but the writing was wonderful. I’m a new Alan Bradley fan. I was constantly wondering how he knew so much of the lingo of the English, especially since this is set in 1950 or 51 depending on what you read. The bio on goodreads of Bradley says he’s from Canada. Again, I can’t believe it. He’s got the so much English lingo and slang in the book it’s hard to believe he’s not from across the pond. I really enjoyed the visualization of Flavia going up in the Gipsy Moth – an old English plane.  Through the whole book he’s got the 11 year old girl character down pat. Anyway, it’s a very entertaining read and I’d recommend it.

What I didn’t like: I don’t want to give too much away but Flavia has a scheme to bring her dead mother back to life. She is thwarted (thankfully) but I think it’s unreal that she isn’t upset or doesn’t try to try it a second time when she has to stop. If she really thought she could do this (and it seemed like she did) she would not stop until she was pulled, fingers digging in the casket’s side, away from her mother. But the author just has her give up without a fight. And what’s with that title. I imagine there is a reason for it, but I must be too ignorant to get it.  I understand that the author (or publisher my guess) likes long titles but relative to the story, I don’t get it. Also, she hands her father a will her mother wrote, which she found in the sealed casket.”How did you find this? Where did it come from?” Flavia’s father doesn’t run after her when she gives the long lost will to him and leaves the room. Again – unbelievable for a mourning husband not to want answers to these questions.

Rate: 4/5 . I’ll be reading book one of the Flavia de Luce series (The Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie) for sure!

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great review! You have such a keen sense for what works and doesn’t in a plot line or in the characters.

    • I don’t mind stuff that is somewhat unreal in stories, it is a fictional story after all, but some things have to make more sense than they do for the story to feel real.

      • I agree. That’s why I’m having you edit my book, which, by the way we have to talk about soon. It’s just about ready.

        • How exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing what you did to change it. Your grandmother sounds like an interesting woman.
          The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? 😉

          • Well, I might have rolled a little down the hill… 😉


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