From the opening pages of the very first book, I have been a fervent fan of Alan Bradley's absolutely wonderful series that features one of the most captivating, intrepid sleuths I've ever encountered - twelve year old Flavia de Luce. ("The first syllable rhymes with 'brave' and 'grave'.") As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is the seventh book.
Faithful readers have been eagerly waiting for this book - after several revelations in the last book, Flavia is on her way from England to Canada to attend Miss Bodycote's Female Academy - "where I was to be trained to assume some ancient and hereditary role of which I was still kept mostly in ignorance." (Canadians take note - it's located just off the Danforth)
But Flavia being Flavia....yes, there's a dead body involved (okay, more than one). But along with that body, there's a whole new cast of characters to meet, a new setting and Flavia's mysterious legacy to unravel. There are numerous storylines running concurrently and the reader is kept busy alongside Flavia.
Flavia's descriptions and dialogue are a constant source of delight...
"The hours trudged by with chains on their ankles."
"I must state here that I have no fear whatsoever of being in a room in the dark with a corpse. In fact, quite the contrary. The little shiver I experience is one of excitement, not of fear."
"The hands are the canaries in one's own personal coal-mine: They need to be watched carefully and obeyed. A fidget demands attention, and a full-blown not-knowing-what-to-do-with-them means 'Vamoose'!"
Flavia's curiosity, her keen observations and her disarming view of life utterly enchant me. I so wanted to be Nancy Drew growing up - having discovered Flavia, it's still great fun to imagine being a girl gumshoe.
Despite her exceptional powers of deduction, her skill with poisons and her insatiable curiosity, she is still a young girl far from home. Will she ever see her beloved bicycle Gladys again? Her chemistry lab? Her dratted sisters, taciturn father, the enigmatic Dogger and the other assorted residents of the village of Bishop's Lacey? (I too, missed them!)
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust was great read for me (but devoured too quickly). Read an excerpt of As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. I'll will be eagerly waiting for the eighth book! Flavia has a fan club as well.