What I Am Reading: An Open Letter to Alan Bradley

Jan 22 2014 Published by under What I'm Reading

Dearest Mr. Bradley:

I love Flavia de Luce. I first wrote about this almost 3 years ago when I discovered the 10-year-old chemist and binge-read the first novels. I was 10 or 11 when I got my first chemistry set, and I remember the thrill of heating stuff with my bunsen burner, especially if it gave off a horrific odor. I ran out of sulfur quickly.

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I have pre-ordered each of these books, letting them download to my iPad to delight me once again. The latest volume, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, once again left me wanting more. This despite the fact that the book wrapped up some long-running plot questions.

The action begins on the railroad spur to Buckshaw, the family manor. The body of Flavia's mother arrives by train, with her coffin draped by the Union Jack and Churchill in attendance. Finally, we get confirmation that her mother did not go off mountain climbing and die in some madcap heiress scheme. No, she was working for the British government's war effort in the far east. Of course, being Flavia's mother, her death was no accident either. She leaves the name of her murderer written in invisible ink which, I am delighted to tell you, was probably her own urine. Yup, something to make this nephrologist very happy.

I will not reveal any other important murder information here. Suffice it to say there is more than one body and plenty of suspects.

After the main action resolves, Flavia finds out that she is being sent to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada, the same school where her mother was "finished." This is not the usual finishing school; the chemistry department may be run by a murderer, and it has acquired the latest spectrophotometer for its students. Those facts make Flavia a willing traveler to the other side of the pond.

Unlike earlier de Luce books, this one does not include the title of the next tome in the ending material. Many loose ends wrapped up with this title; does this mean the end of Flavia's adventures? I sincerely hope not. I want to go to Canada with her! Or at least visit Buckshaw when she goes home on break! More chemistry! More poison! More death!

Please don't take Flavia away yet!

Of course, we do have a Flavia de Luce TV series in the works for 2015. I hope the producers do it justice (they seem to have a good track record at least).

What I really want are more books, to see Flavia grow up and achieve and put away more murderers. Please, Mr. Bradley, make it happen!



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