Day 974: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

Cover for Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew'dI wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue with Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mystery series, because it seemed to be going a bit off-kilter with the turn toward espionage. Still, at the end of the last novel, Flavia was sent home from school, and I thought I would continue with the return to Bishop’s Lacey.

Now 12 years old, Flavia returns near Christmas time happy to be home, but her expectations of being greeted by the family aren’t met. Instead, only Dogger comes to the station, reporting that Flavia’s father is in the hospital with pneumonia.

Flavia isn’t allowed to visit him, so she distracts herself by going out to see friends. The vicar’s wife, Cynthia Richardson, is also ill and sends Flavia on an errand to take a message to Mr. Sambridge, the church wood-carver. At Sambridge’s she finds the man dead, hanging from a frame on the back of his bedroom door.

One clue Flavia picks up is a curious link to Oliver Inchbald, the author of children’s poetry who has been dead for some years. Mr. Sambridge has a collection of his books, including one owned by a local girl, Carla Sherrinford-Cameron. When Flavia looks into this connection, she finds that Inchbald died in odd circumstances, apparently pecked to death by seagulls on a small island. The woman who identified the body died shortly thereafter in an aqualung accident.

Were all these deaths suspicious? As Flavia investigates, she turns up some odd connections.

link to NetgalleyThis Flavia novel lacks the snap and humor of the first few books. As Flavia ages, she’s becoming more thoughtful, but she is not nearly as entertaining. There are still some flashes of that wonderful combination of book knowledge and naivete that made the first novels so good, though. And I confess, I did not figure out the solution to the mystery, although I felt that one secret was obvious. On the other hand, I’m not happy with what is happening in Flavia’s personal life.

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The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

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8 thoughts on “Day 974: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

  1. Helen September 22, 2016 / 3:44 pm

    I love the Flavia de Luce series, but I’m a few books behind you – I’ve just started The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like this one as much as the earlier books. I’ll have to see what I think when I get caught up.

  2. whatmeread September 22, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    I tend to get tired of mystery series, so that might be it, but the last book took a strange turn.

  3. Naomi September 23, 2016 / 10:09 am

    She’s only 12 and she finds a dead man hanging from a frame? No wonder she’s not as funny as she used to be! I know, it’s just fiction… 🙂

    • whatmeread September 23, 2016 / 11:09 am

      Well, she found dead people all over the place in the other books.

  4. Carolyn O September 27, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    I keep meaning to start this series. Love the titles.

    • whatmeread September 27, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      I like the older ones better. The first few are really funny.

  5. Davida Chazan November 12, 2016 / 1:08 am

    Hi! I found the link to this review via Amy’s Historical Fiction Challenge. I think I’m too late to join this party, and sorry this book was a bit of a let down for you. I see you’re reading “Boston Girl”. I was less than impressed (it got 3.5 stars from me). My latest review is for Fannie Flagg’s new novel The Whole Town’s Talking http://drchazan.blogspot.com/2016/11/an-elmwood-springs-retrospective.html

    • whatmeread November 12, 2016 / 5:16 pm

      So far, I’m only mildly interested in Boston Girl.

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