Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
By Alan Bradley

Hardcover, 320 pages

Picture an ancient country house in England. The year is 1950. 

Picture a girl who lives there with her most eccentric family. Her name is Flavia de Luce- and she is almost eleven. 

Picture a long abandoned Victorian chemistry laboratory; no one ever goes there but Flavia

Put them all together and you'll have a deliciously original approach to detective fiction.

The Flavia de Luce series is a bright, intelligent, quirky and often funny mystery series featuring a precocious young girl with a flair for chemistry an a nose for intrigue.

This sixth book in the series is the most personal to date. We learn more about the inner workings of our intrepid young detective and the effect her mother's disappearance has had on her life.

Now we see Harriet coming home on the very same train her and Flavia's father first met.

A strange man approaches Flavia with a cryptic message for her father and is found dead moments later.

All this is almost too much to bear for dear Flavia but her keen instincts and passion for truth keep her digging until she solve the mystery of the murder, and who her mother really was.

The best so far in the series, and it does seem to be opening up a door for Flavia to grow and learn more in the future. A must read for all Flavia de

Bishop's Lacey is never short of two things: mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer, and in the process, she comes closer than ever to solving her life's greatest mystery--her mother's disappearance. . .

Alan Bradley was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where he worked for twenty-five years before taking early retirement in 1994.
Bradley was the first President of the Saskatoon Writers, and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. His children’s stories were published in The Canadian Children’s Annual and his short story “Meet Miss Mullen” was the first recipient of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award for Children’s Literature.
For a number of years, Alan regularly taught scriptwriting and television production courses at the University of Saskatchewan. His fiction has been published in literary journals and he has given many public readings in schools and galleries. His short stories have been broadcast by CBC Radio, and his lifestyle and humour pieces have appeared in The Globe and Mail and The National Post.
Alan Bradley was also a founding member of The Casebook of Saskatoon, a society devoted to the study of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockian writings. There, he met the late Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant, with whom he collaborated on the classic book Ms. Holmes of Baker Street (1989). This work put forth the startling theory that the Great Detective was a woman, and was greeted upon publication with what has been described as “a firestorm of controversy.” As he’s explained in interviews, Bradley was always an avid reader of mysteries, even as a child: “My grandmother used to press them upon us when we were very young. One of the first books she gave me was Dorothy L. Sayers’ Busman’s Holiday. I was profoundly influenced by it.”
Upon retirement, Bradley began writing full time. His next book, The Shoebox Bible (2006), has been compared with Tuesdays With Morrie and Mister God, This is Anna. In this beautiful memoir, Bradley tells the story of his early life in southern Ontario, and paints a vivid portrait of his mother, a strong and inspirational woman who struggled to raise three children on her own during tough times.
In July of 2007, Bradley won the Debut Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers’ Association for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009), based on a sample that would become the first novel in a series featuring eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce. As Bradley has explained, it was the character of Flavia that inspired him to embark upon the project: “I started to write The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in the spring of 2006. Flavia walked into another novel I was writing as an incidental character, and she hijacked the book. Although I didn’t finish that book, Flavia stuck with me.” The Dagger award brought international attention to Bradley’s fiction debut, and Sweetness and the additional novels planned for the series will be published in twenty-eight languages and in more than thirty countries.
Alan Bradley lives in Malta with his wife Shirley and two calculating cats.