I have been a vocal fan of the Flavia de Luce novels since I read the first. I’ve been deeply invested in the mystery and watching the characters unfold, but I must say this last book was challenging to me. Not because it wasn’t well written. Not because Flavia didn’t get up to her usual mischief. Not because some questions weren’t finally answered. What I found disconcerting was that I am not sure I like where the series is going. It is difficult to stick with a show from the beginning and seeing characters get into situations that go from improbable to crazy. That is what they call, jumping the shark. This book makes me worried that Bradley has jumped the shark… but I am reserving judgment until the next book.
This novel begins with the de Luce family gathering to collect Harriet’s body which will arrive by train. Between a murder, cryptic messages, and Flavia’s plan to re-animate Harriet’s corpse, well it is a bit busy. In this novel we get to know a bit more about what drives Flavia’s father, and we learn a bit about why Harriet left her family in the first place. We are introduced to some new de Luce’s who add intrigue and trouble. Again, it was well written and Bradley managed to maintain the balance between chemist prodigy and precocious child. As I said, I have enjoyed the series thus far, but I have no idea if Bradley is taking it in a good direction. Here is hoping.