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Sunny skies, sleep water...and a sinister corpse
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 travelling circus, and the publican's mysteriously talented wife?
Praise for the historical Flavia de Luce mysteries:
'The Flavia de Luce novels are now a cult favourite' Mail on Sunday
'A cross between Dodie Smith's I Capture The Castle and the Addams family...delightfully entertaining' Guardian
Fans of M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin, Frances Brody and Alexander McCall Smith will enjoy the Flavia de Luce mysteries:
1. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
2. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
3. A Red Herring Without Mustard
4. I Am Half Sick of Shadows
5. Speaking From Among the Bones
6. The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
7. As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust
8. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
9. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place
If you're looking for a cosy crime series to keep you hooked then look no further than the Flavia de Luce mysteries.
* Each Flavia de Luce mystery can be read as a standalone or in series order *
Set in England in 1952, Agatha-winner Bradley's outstanding ninth Flavia de Luce novel (after 2016's Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd) finds 12-year-old Flavia contemplating suicide in the wake of a family tragedy. To relieve the increased tension between Flavia and her two older sisters, Dogger, the de Luce family's long-serving and devoted servant, proposes an extended boat trip on the river. All is uneventful until the skiff nears the site where a notorious poisoner, Canon Whitbread, discarded the chalice he used in his crimes. Flavia's hand, trailing behind the boat, comes into contact with the corpse of the canon's son, Orlando. Unperturbed, Flavia uses her handkerchief to swab liquid from the dead man's lips, and she and Dogger jury-rig a forensic lab to examine the sample. Though disappointed when the evidence shows Orlando was drowned instead of poisoned, Flavia persists with her amateur detecting, even as she runs afoul of the local constable. As usual, Bradley makes his improbable series conceit work and relieves the plot's inherent darkness with clever humor.