Friday, June 8, 2018
The Grave's A Fine and Sacred Place, by Alan Bradley. Doubleday, Penguin Random House. 2018. $29.95 ages 10 and up
Can it be the ninth time I have spent a glorious day reading about Flavia de Luce, her family and her unusual encounters with the dead?
Flavia is having great difficulty dealing with her father's death, the further breakdown of her relationship with her sisters, and the arrival of Aunt Felicity and her announcement that Flavia's beloved family home, Buckshaw, is to be sold. How can that be? Buckshaw has been left to Flavia in her mother's will. Her aunt will not be dissuaded, and a 12 year old has little power to make decisions for herself in 1952 England. To the rescue comes Dogger, their devoted servant and Flavia's best friend. He suggests a family trip on the river might be the distraction needed.
"It was Dogger, I think, who had come up with the idea
of a boat trip: of lazy days on the river, of cold-meat
hampers with flasks of lemonade and ginger beer from
Fortnum & Mason, of goose-down mattresses at night
and hot beef roasts in the ever-changing string of country
As they motor toward the riverbank, and an infamous site sure to please Flavia's interest in convicted and executed poisoner Canon Whitbread who was alleged to have murdered three of his parishioners, Flavia's hand comes in contact with a corpse in the water. In fact, it is the body of the Canon's son, Orlando. Flavia remains calm and composed, as those who know her would expect. She is quick and discreet in collecting evidence that might help she and Dogger discover what has really happened here; just another death in a long line of cases requiring her assistance and knowledge. Her detective work is not always appreciated by the local police; she remains persistent in solving the mystery of this new death and of taking a fresh look at the old case as well.
Fans (like me) will be delighted to read this new book. We know that when Flavia is on the case, there will be humor, bold confidence, brilliant intuition, an uncommon fascination with death and poisons, curiosity, charm, and a promise for future adventure.
"A brass plate, Miss Flavia?" Dogger asked.
"Yes," I said, drawing a rainbow in the air with my spread
fingers. "And on it we shall have these words: Arthur W.
Dogger & Associates - Discreet Investigations."
"Hmmm," Dogger said. "It does roll off the tongue,
doesn't it, Miss Flavia? Discreet is such an elegant touch."
Bring on #10, please!