I read Alan Bradley’s first Flavia de Luce novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie as an advanced reader copy. I loved it. Flavia de Luce was a precocious sleuth with a penchant for science and mystery solving. I found the book entertaining and amusing. I immediately read the second novel, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, as soon as it was published. While, I enjoyed it, it didn’t seem to have the magic of the first novel. So, I didn’t read any of the other Flavia novels, until this one, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. I thought maybe it was time to try Flavia again.
It was. I found this novel every bit as charming and entertaining as the first. I don’t know if it’s because I took a Flavia vacation, or what, but the magic was back. The novel opens with Flavia vehemently declaring that she has been banished. Banished from her home to be sent off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, her mother’s old school in Canada. Her Aunt Felicity gives her a vague hint that there is something special about this school, something special that Flavia will be introduced to.
Flavia is dramatic, intelligent, and utterly charming. A highlight from the novel: “Feigning stupidity was one of my specialties. If stupidity were theoretical physics, then I would be Albert Einstein.”
As always, I learned a lot of science along the way, and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.