Book Review: The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

A few years back a friend introduced me to the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place is the latest installment, I think we’re up to ten now.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Flavia is enjoying the summer, spending her days punting along the river with her reluctant family. Languishing in boredom, she drags a slack hand in the water, and catches her fingers in the open mouth of a drowned corpse.

Brought to shore, the dead man is found to be dressed in blue silk with ribbons at the knee, and wearing a single red ballet slipper.

Flavia needs to put her super-sleuthing skills to the test to investigate the murder of three gossips in the local church, and to keep her sisters out of danger. But what could possibly connect the son of an executed killer, a far too canny police constable, a traveling circus, and the publican’s mysteriously talented wife?

My thoughts:

I love this series. The writing is crisp. The characters varied and always amusing. The amateur defeats the professional investigating murders that happen across her path in the strangest of ways. I never much thought about it but I suppose Flavia is technically a cozy series.

And yet, it never reads that way. Flavia is as professional as any cop or adult detective I’ve read. She’s careful with the evidence, performing her own analysis and chemical experiments on them. She interviews suspects with aplomb, she seeks out specialists when needed, and researches everything. Of course, she’s 12 …