Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Any devoted reader knows that a trusted protagonist is just as good as comfort food. If you can consume comfort food without spilling it on the beloved pages, both may be consumed at the same time. My series of choice is Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries.
For those of you who have not experienced all that is Flavia, I will endeavor to introduce you. Her first appearance is in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia is a sweet little eleven-year-old whose favorite pastime is spent within her damp, drafty laboratory left behind by dear Uncle Tarquin de Luce. There with her trusty companion, Esmerelda, a hen she spends her favorite hours. The laboratory is nestled within Buckshaw, the crumbling family estate located in Bishop’s Lacey. It is a typical sleepy little British village recovering in the years following WWII. Flavia and her trusty bicycle, Gladys traverse the countryside assisting in the process of solving local dastardly deeds which often include murder. She is completely misunderstood by her older sisters Ophelia (Feely) and Daphne (Daffy) and as with any siblings she is often the brunt of cruel words and thus the line is drawn, literally, down the middle of the house. Her father, reeling from his grief over the death of her mother, often is ignorant of her adventures. The one who understands her and drops words of wisdom into her young ears is her father’s trusty valet, Dogger. Flavia is smart, inquisitive, inventive, and delightfully funny. Don’t be put off by her age. She holds her own against adult and peers alike.
Bradley has just delivered the eighth installment of Flavia’s adventures. These books are well researched and the reader should have no trouble creating a vision of each character in their mind. I never do.
For a real treat, I recommend the audio books. Jayne Entwhistle gives a perfect performance in her narration of these books. Now as I read the books, her voice is what I hear. She truly fleshes out Flavia’s precocious personality and the constituents of Bishop’s Lacey. Spending time with Jayne as Flavia is time well spent.
I truly hope you will pick up this series and give it a try.