Flavia de Luce is one of my favourite characters in literature right now. She is cheeky and clever and funny, she doesn’t play by the rules, is tortured by her sisters but is well able to give as good as she gets and she has quite the knack for finding bodies.
When I finished reading When Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, I wasn’t sure if the series was going to continue. Author Alan Bradley had spoken before of his intention to write only six books. When Chimney Sweepers Came to Dust was the 7th book and it didn’t feel like the end but I couldn’t find anything anywhere to tell me either way.
Well! Imagine my delight when I heard about Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d!
Flavia is back home in Bishop’s Lacey after her time in Canada. She is looking forward to being welcomed home with open arms by Dogger, her father, and even her sisters. So she’s a little disheartened to see only Dogger waiting for her when she arrives. He tells her that her father, Colonel de Luce has pneumonia and is in the hospital.
When Flavia gets home she finds the place quite different. Her sisters are off in their own world, her father is in the hospital and no one really cares what Flavia does. So Flavia goes out on her own, to say hi to some of her friends in the village. The vicar’s wife asks her to please take a letter to this man in the next village over and when Flavia arrives, she finds him strapped upside down on the back of the door, dead.
What follows is classic Flavia. She decides to look into the matter on her own, knowing that she can do it better than the police.
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is more melancholy than the previous books. Flavia is growing up and she’s beginning to understand people and how society works. Additionally, she really misses the family dynamics the way they used to be and worries about her father who she isn’t allowed to see.
I appreciated a more adult Flavia. Don’t get me wrong – she’s still 100% Flavia, with a dislike of people in general but she’s more forgiving of their foibles. I suspect that Bradley has plans for Flavia and they include her having to grow up. When I first started reading these books, I assumed that Flavia would be eternally 11. I see now that that was never the intention. Bradley has allowed Flavia to grow up and is making room for readers to come along for the journey. This latest book is setting the stage for a Flavia to grow up and I’m looking forward to seeing how that all turns out.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if you haven’t read the Flavia de Luce books, you are missing out and I do not know what you are even waiting for!
Thanks to Penguin Random House of Canada for an ARC of this book.