The Golden Tresses of the Dead
A Flavia de Luce Novel
Flavia de Luce Series, Book 10
By: Alan Bradley
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
Release date: 01-22-19
PRHA | Random House Audio
Fiction – Mystery & Detective: Amateur Sleuth, Cozy – General; Thrillers; Historical,
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A finger in a wedding cake is only the beginning in this deliciously shocking mystery featuring Flavia de Luce, “the world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times).
Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger. https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/221591/the-golden-tresses-of-the-dead/
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Where have Flavia de Luce and her partner Dogger been all my life? I was utterly enchanted with this brilliant and precocious child. Normally, a child this precocious would be a miserable child to raise, but if Flavia is a reliable narrator, she is also an unnaturally mature child.
I have a hard time believing any girl of twelve would be as mature, self-possessed, self-aware, gifted in deduction, and so advanced in scientific knowledge without being socially awkward. But, Flavia is not awkward, at least not in her retelling of the story. In her narration she is well-liked, and recognizes when she is considered a nuisance and why. Flavia understands when she must act as a somewhat normal girl to get what she needs and is able to behave in a nearly adult way in how she treats people; for example, when her sister is hysterical over the finger in her cake, Flavia is the only one who can calm her. And she is open to learning, at an age when most girls would roll their eyes at Dogger, the family’s butler teaching her some trick of science or medicine. And, he is, at least in Flavia’s retelling, respectful of her abilities and intellect.
The mystery is intricately constructed and also engaged my intellect. There are a few red herrings, or perhaps new characters for future mysteries. I found the selection of the villain not terribly difficult, but the motive was harder to determine. The story is placed in the 1950s, post-WWII England. It includes a bit about a special train, The London Necropolis Railway for people to visit a cemetery. It’s real, and one of those things that is uniquely English https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Necropolis_railway_station)!
Jayne Enwhistle is the perfect narrator for this series; her effervescent voice is filled with Flavia’s youthful exuberance and her intellect is well-served by her clarity and lack of timidity.
I found the book fine as a stand alone, the necessary backstory is elegantly provided, but I certainly wish I had started them earlier in the series. I wish the earlier books in the series were longer or that some were available in a collection. I like my Audible credits to go towards longer works. As I simply loved the writing, and Entwhistle’s narration, I will sacrifice my credits for this series.