The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel
by Alan Bradley
Review by Gayle Surrette
Delacorte Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780385344050
Date: 14 January 2014 List Price $24.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I have to admit that Flavia de Luce is one of my favorite fictional characters. She's a preteen who often acts as if she's years older -- many years older. Flavia is a chemical genius using the lab her uncle had in the house. Her other passion is solving mysteries -- murder a specialty.
There's a lot going on in this story. The family home is up for sale. The family has come together to greet the body of her mother. In fact, there aren't that many de Luces left, and Flavia doesn't like that one branch has shown up, moved in, and taken over many of Flavia's favorite haunts.
Characters from previous books show up making this story, as most family funerals seem to become, a reunion. With The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, readers will find out more about the de Luces and their involvement in their community -- local and global.
If you're a fan of the series, you know what to expect: witty, clever dialogue; Flavia's observations on life, family, and her universe; a glimpse of what the UK was like during this historical period; and an intricate multithreaded mystery. For new readers to the series, you can start with this book as there is enough background information within the story to help you catch up, but you'll get a lot more if you've read the previous volumes.
These mysteries are well plotted with great characters and plots that are generally very difficult to guess.