The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

This Flavia de Luce novel was a bit different from the rest – and it was because of that I found it difficult to get through. The previous three books were fun and exciting – even if it involved solving a murder. But this one, was dark and somber, mostly because it was centered on Harriet coming home. Harriet, who had been missing for ten years, had been found, long-since frozen on a Himalayan mountainside and the sudden realization that her mother was dead forever sent Flavia into an emotional tail spin of epic proportions. Her father, who had always been morose, and her spiteful sisters were also plunged even further into the depths of despair.  This isn’t to say the book wasn’t excellent – it was – the subject of Harriet’s death and subsequent burial were unexpected and depressing.

 

The book did end on a positive note so that was good. The murder was caught and unfortunately killed in their escape (in a particularly spectacular way, only a teensy bit gruesome.) If you have trouble thinking about interacting with corpses, you may want to skip the part where Flavia opens her mother’s coffin and gives Harriet a kiss.  At first I was troubled by Flavia’s plan to resurrect her mother from the dead with a chemical injection of thiamine and ATP (adenosine triphosphate), but then I remembered when you’re eleven, you believe anything is possible, and, especially because, “It was a brilliant idea, and because it was scientific, it simply could not fail.”

 

Rating  4 daisy rating

 

Debby 2Reviewer: Debby

 

The Baker Street Translation

baker street

The Baker Street Translation
 
A Thomas Dunne Book for Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, 2013
Reggie Heath is a barrister in London, circa 1998, leasing the offices at 221-B Baker St for his law practice. Does the address seem familiar? It will if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes! As part of the lease agreement, Reggie must receive and answer all the mail that comes in addressed to Sherlock Holmes. (The standard response is supposed to be that Sherlock is now retired and no longer actively pursuing investigations preferring beekeeping to crime solving.) One day an old Chinese gentleman shows up at his office looking for Holmes and unwittingly involves Reggie, his girlfriend Laura, and her former boyfriend, Buxton, in a murderous plot by anarchists, kidnappers, and toymakers!!
When I picked up the book I didn’t realize it was the 3rd of a series and the characters were already established in their literary lives. As I continued to read – thrown off a little by the seemingly insignificant first couple of chapters of seemingly random events – I realized this book was not the first and felt a little short changed. The novel can stand on its own, but only just. To get to know the characters better I would have to go back and read the other books and that’s the trouble with some serials. I find nothing wrong with reading serial novels, but I do prefer if the books are able to stand on their own without their predecessors. Anyway, the mystery is good and had me guessing mostly to the end. Will I go back and read the previous 2 books? Probably not as there are over 200 other books on my to-read list and I didn’t connect with the characters. Especially Reggie – he was particularly annoying because he was too young to be such a curmudgeon. It was a good thing I read the whole thing in about 4 hours because if I had put it down I would have been hard-pressed to pick it back up!
Rating: 2 daises 2 out of 5 daisies
Reviewer: Debby 2  Debby