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Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Book 3: AS CHIMNEY SWEEPERS COME TO DUST Review

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce #7) by Alan Bradley
ISBN: 9780345539939 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780345539953 (ebook)
ASIN: B00LYXN3LK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press


Hard on the heels of the return of her mother's body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.
No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.


Flavia de Luce has barely had time to grieve her mother's death when she is rushed off to a school in Canada. Flavia feels as if she has been banished from her beloved Buckshaw and is missing all that is familiar, including her sisters Daphne and Ophelia, not to mention Dogger and her beloved bicycle Gladys. What can a poor girl do when she is left alone in a foreign land? Well if that girl is Flavia the only answer is to solve a crime and she is provided the perfect opportunity when a body falls out of the chimney in her room at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy on her first night in Toronto. If that wasn't enough to deal with, she is warned about girls going missing when they ask too many questions.

I've said it before and have to say it again I thoroughly enjoy reading about Flavia's adventures. Flavia comes across as a mixture of Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Monk rolled up in one neat little package. Although she hasn't reached the age of puberty, Flavia has the uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time to discover bodies and mysteries. But now Flavia is in an unknown environment without her usual support network and, as a result, isn't quite sure who to trust. She is somewhat leery of her headmistress, Miss Fawlthorne, and of her fellow students. The only teacher she seems to like is her chemistry professor, an acquitted murder suspect, Mrs. Bannerman. She doesn't like or trust the trustees that chaperoned her trip from England to Canada, the Drs. Rainsmith. Is it possible for Flavia to solve the crime of the headless corpse from the chimney with minimal clues and limited access to a lab? Can she determine what has happened to the missing girls without asking too many questions and putting herself in peril?

I found As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust an engaging and fast-paced read. This installment in the Flavia series showed a more emotional young girl. Flavia cries in grief over the loss of her mother and feels a sense of isolation by her "banishment" to a school far, far away from home. The only contact she has from home are the occasional letters from Dogger and her cousin Undine. The lack of contact from her immediate family only adds to her sense of being forgotten and banished. The Flavia revealed in this book is more thoughtful and not as prone to retaliation or pranks. She's much more analytical in her thinking and doesn't rely upon chemistry as much as she has in the past. (Yes, she still uses chemistry but in a different manner.) There are a lot of questions raised and answered in As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, but questions still remain about the Nide, their purpose, and Flavia's role within this group. I look forward to reading more Flavia stories in the future and can't wait for her to return to England. If you want to know if Flavia solves the crimes and finds answers to the questions raised you'll have to read the book and find out for yourself.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. 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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