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The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: A Flavia de Luce Novel Hardcover – January 14, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 698 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The irrepressible, nearly 12-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur detective, faces a particularly personal crisis in this, her sixth outing. Her mother, lost in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby, is coming home in a coffin, escorted by none other than former British prime minister Winston Churchill. If that isn’t odd enough, the great man, before leaving, approaches Flavia and asks her if she has “acquired a taste for pheasant sandwiches.” Shortly thereafter, she is approached by another man with an equally cryptic message, after which he is crushed beneath a train. Despite her curiosity, Flavia must temporarily push such strange occurrences aside to evaluate her feelings about her mother and the ongoing difficulties she is having with her odious sisters and distant father. If the somewhat tangled plot requires a bit of patience to negotiate, be assured that Flavia (who leaves “the fingerprints of her brilliant mind” on nearly everything) is as fetching as ever; her chatty musings and her combination of childish vulnerability and seemingly boundless self-confidence hasn’t changed a bit. --Stephanie Zvirin

Review

Praise for The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
 
“Part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Flavia is a pert and macabre pragmatist.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“[Alan] Bradley’s award winning Flavia de Luce series . . . has enchanted readers with the outrageous sleuthing career of its precocious leading lady. . . . This latest adventure contains all the winning elements of the previous books.”Library Journal (starred review)

“Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce novel reaches a new level of perfection as it shows the emotional turmoil and growth of a girl who has always been older than her years and yet is still a child. The mystery is complex and very personal this time, reaching into the past Flavia never knew about. . . . These are astounding, magical books not to be missed.”RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)
 
“Excellent . . . Flavia retains her droll wit. . . . The solution to a murder is typically neat, and the conclusion sets up future books nicely.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“It’s hard to resist either the genre’s pre-eminent preteen sleuth or the hushed revelations about her family.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Flavia . . . is as fetching as ever; her chatty musings and her combination of childish vulnerability and seemingly boundless self-confidence haven’t changed a bit.”Booklist

Acclaim for Alan Bradley’s beloved Flavia de Luce novels, winners of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, Barry Award, Agatha Award, Macavity Award, Dilys Winn Award, and Arthur Ellis Award
 
“If ever there were a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce.”USA Today
 
“Irresistibly appealing.”—The New York Times Book Review, on A Red Herring Without Mustard
 
“Original, charming, devilishly creative.”—Bookreporter, on I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
 
“Delightful and entertaining.”San Jose Mercury News, on Speaking from Among the Bones
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Product Details

  • Series: Flavia de Luce (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385344058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385344050
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (698 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By myotherself VINE VOICE on December 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm seriously at a loss for words about how to write a review for this book. The book reads as if this is the final book in the series and that has left me in a kind of shock. I thought Flavia would go on for years and years because at this point in her fictional life she isn't even twelve years old yet. Maybe I'm wrong. Goodness knows I hope I'm wrong! Maybe a new direction is coming. Whatever it is, I just hope Alan Bradley keeps this story alive.

This is the book in the series that is all about Harriet. Have you ever been so involved with the characters in a book series that what happens to them can make you cry? Sometimes the happenings are good, sometimes bad, but they can still bring tears to your eyes. I had to put this book down and walk away from it for a while because it moved me so much. And yet, I cannot possibly say in this review what it was that touched me so much. That would spoil the story for you and I will not do that to you. Experience it for yourself, then you will know what I'm talking about. But, please, don't begin reading the series with this book because that would absolutely spoil all the other books for you. This crisis has been building up throughout five previous novels and jumping into the series in this spot would be a shame. Instead, start at the beginning, with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Flavia de Luce Mysteries). Here in book six Flavia is still the same impetuous, headstrong, independent young girl who uses chemistry and intellect to investigate mysteries around her home and English village in the idyllic seeming early years following World War II.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In this book, Alan Bradley has written the conclusion of a chapter in the life of Flavia de Luce, the preteen genius whose nosing-around in various homicides in the 1950's English village of Bishops Lacey has been the meat of the previous five books in the de Luce series. Always simmering on the back burner in the previous books has been the drama of the de Luce family's decaying fortunes after the disappearance of Flavia's mother during a mysterious expedition in Tibet. In this book, Bradley brings the family matter to the foreground and neglects the "English countryside mystery" angle almost entirely.

The book plays to several of Bradley's strengths. His wonderful writing style is in full flower, more what one thinks of as literature than as genre fare (though that distinction is, of course, artificial), and he perfectly captures the emotional tone of the terribly reserved, terribly British de Luce family as they are shattered with sorrow but too proper to reach out to one another. This is in many ways a sad book, and Bradley's depiction of the sadness of the de Luce family is both particular to them and powerfully universal.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches works as a study in mood and tone. But I'm not so sure it works as a novel. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read the other de Luce books -- it wraps up a lot of threads from those books but it would be nearly incomprehensible standing on its own. Nor does it work as a mystery, not that Bradley was really trying. So this book is only for de Luce completists.

But even as a de Luce completist, I was somewhat dissatisfied.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
“The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches” is the sixth “Flavia de Luce” novel. The series features the precocious 11-year-old sleuth solving mysteries in her English village, Bishop’s Lacey. All are set within approximately a year’s timeframe (1950-1951). Underlying each of the previous novels is the backstory of the long ago disappearance of Flavia’s mother, Harriet, and the consequential impact on her family and deterioration of their estate. In the latest novel, author Alan Bradley brings the mystery of the de Luce family to the fore. Harriet comes home.

The highlight of this series is the charming narrative voice of its heroine. Flavia is something of a genius, but emotionally she’s still an adolescent. She possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry and poisons, but her two older sisters (and most others) still treat her like a child. And in some ways, she still behaves very much like a child. It’s that fascinating dichotomy and the author’s quirky yet authentic portrayal of her voice that makes these novels so thoroughly enjoyable. Flavia displays more emotional depth this go round as she comes to terms with her feelings toward her mother. The tone is a little more melancholy than usual, but it’s balanced nicely by Flavia’s typical snark and other humorous moments.

If there’s a weakness in this novel, it’s probably representative of the series as well. The mystery isn’t really participatory for the reader. In fact, although there’s a suspicious death in the opening sequence, and although it certainly relates to the rest of the events of the novel, it’s really just a sidebar to the family affair. The investigation occurs almost entirely off-page. It should also be noted that Flavia’s sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, are featured much less than usual.
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