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"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Friday, March 28, 2014

Book 18: THE DEAD IN THEIR VAULTED ARCHES Review

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley
ISBN: 9780385344050 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345539694 (ebook)
ASIN: B00E2RYTJU (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press


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.


Harriet de Luce is finally returning to Buckshaw. The de Luce family solemnly awaits Harriet's return via train at Buckshaw Halt station. Harriet's return is with much pomp and circumstance, as she is accompanied with a military guard, numerous political dignitaries -- including Sir Winston Churchill. The former Prime Minister takes a moment to commiserate with Haviland de Luce, Flavia's father, and turns to Flavia and asks if she has acquired a taste for pheasant sandwiches. What should be a solemn event is marred by tragedy when a man is pushed under the train as the train leaves the station. To add to the intrigue, this strange man has given Flavia a message, a strange, possibly coded message before his demise. What does the question from Sir Winston Churchill mean? Who was the strange man and what does his message mean? Why is Harriet's death such a blow to the British government? Needless to say these and other questions lead the indomitably curious Flavia on a search for answers.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is the sixth installment in the Flavia de Luce series. This book finally answers the question of where Harriet de Luce has been all these years. She was missing and presumed dead, but her death has remained an unanswered question until now. Flavia's father, Colonel Haviland de Luce is clearly heartbroken at the return of his beloved's body. As family, friends and colleagues gather at Buckshaw to mourn Harriet's loss, more questions than answers arise in Flavia's mind. Her quest for answers leads to answers that are more shocking than the answers and puts Flavia on a path of service to her country.

Just as with the previous five books in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. This book was much more solemn in tone due to the return of Harriet to Buckshaw for burial and the grief of the de Luce family. The reader is given even greater insight into Haviland de Luce's grief and epic sense of loss. We see Flavia attempting to assuage his grief by finding answers to questions she feels important. In her own way, Flavia is trying to sort her way through the grieving process the only way she knows how, by seeking answers to questions and unraveling puzzles. Flavia is a little more reserved in this book and shows an increasing maturity. If you've read any of the previous Flavia books, you'll delight in this installment. I can't wait to see what the future brings for Flavia and hope that we'll be able to watch her intrigues for many years to come.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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