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Monday, May 6, 2019

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley (The Flavia de Luce Mysteries)

Are you a fan of the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley? The series started out with a bang with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009). Since then it's been a mixed bag for me, some enjoyable and some not as much. Despite this inconsistency, I persist with this series.

These books are set in 1950s England.  Flavia, the pre-teen protagonist, is a budding scientist living in a crumbling family estate with her two older sisters and widowed father. Flavia's mad chemistry skills and flare for detection get her involved in solving the various murders that occur in her village of Bishop's Lacey. The vibe in the books is, on the one hand, familiar for fans of Agatha Christie and Martha Grimes and, on the other hand, fresh with these characters and their interest in science, literature and music.

The most recent addition to the series is The Golden Tresses of the Dead, and it is an entertaining book. In this outing, the game is afoot when a finger is found in a wedding cake - much to the bride's horror. With good atmosphere and lots of twists and turns, this is a fun read. Fans of Flavia should greatly enjoy it.

Because so much has changed in Flavia's life over the course of this series, readers new to it would, I think, be wise to start from the beginning. Have a book-reading binge! As Ben Dolnick wrote in the NYT recently:

[T]he mind — for all its endless rationalizations and solemn prohibitions — is in fact a ceaseless pleasure hound. Once I’m actually enjoying a book, it really does feel as if the pages are turning themselves; I find myself reading in all the little pockets of time that were once reserved for the serious business of checking to see if my dishwasher pods have shipped.

And pleasure is, after all — once I scrape away the layers of self-image and pretentiousness — the reason that I read. When I’ve found the right book, and I’m reading it the right way, reading is fun — head-tingling, goosebump-raising fun. It’s a vivid and continuous dream that is somehow both directed from without and cast from within, and I get to be awake for it. Netflix can wait.
Ben Dolnick, The New York Times, May 4, 2019

Check out Flavia. Binge on some books and enjoy!

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