Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce Series #8)

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce Series #8)

by Alan Bradley

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hailed as “a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes” by The Boston Globe, Flavia de Luce returns in a Christmas mystery from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.

Praise for Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

“Mystery fans seeking novels of wit, an immersive English countryside setting, and rich characterizations will be rewarded with this newest entry in the award-winning series.”Library Journal (starred review)

“There is such a thing as willing suspension of disbelief brought on by sheer outlandish charm, and that’s what [Alan] Bradley and some delicious writing have tapped.”London Free Press

“Flavia’s first-person narration reveals her precocious intellect as well as her youthful vulnerability.”Shelf Awareness

“Flavia is once again a fun, science-loving protagonist. . . . This series entry ends on a note that begs for the next story.”Library Reads

“An eleven-year-old prodigy with an astonishing mind for chemistry and a particular interest in poisons.”The Strand Magazine (Five of the Best Historical Heroines)

“Bradley’s preteen heroine comes through in the end with a series of deductions so clever she wants to hug herself. So will you.”Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345539977
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Series: Flavia de Luce Series , #8
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 152,321
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Alan Bradley is the New York Times bestselling author of many short stories, children’s stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. His first Flavia de Luce novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, received the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, and the Barry Award, and was nominated for the Anthony Award. His other Flavia de Luce novels are The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, A Red Herring Without MustardI Am Half-Sick of ShadowsSpeaking from Among the Bones, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, and The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, as well as the ebook short story “The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse.”

Read an Excerpt

•One•

The winter rain slashes at my face like icy razor blades, but I don’t care. I dig my chin deep into the collar of my mackintosh, put my head down, and push on against the buffeting of the furious wind.

I am cycling madly towards the village of Bishop’s Lacey, fleeing hordes of Hell’s hobgoblins.

The past twenty-­four hours have been a nightmare. All I can think about is getting away from Buckshaw.

Gladys’s wheels groan horribly beneath us. The biting cold has penetrated her steel bones and seized the tendons of her brake cables. She judders wickedly on the slick tarmac, threatening to skid off the road entirely and pitch me into the icy ditch.

I want to scream into the wind, but I don’t. One of us, at least, must keep her wits about her.

I try to put my thoughts in order.

In spite of having been banished to Canada and then re-­banished back home from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy—­in what may or may not have been double disgrace—­I have to admit that I had been looking forward to being reunited with my family: Father; my two elder sisters, Feely and Daffy; our cook and housekeeper, Mrs. Mullet; and most of all, Dogger, Father’s general factotum and all-­round right-­hand man.

As every traveler does on an Atlantic crossing, I had daydreamed about my return to England. Father, Feely, and Daffy would be at the docks to greet me, of course, and perhaps even Aunt Felicity would put in an appearance. Welcome Home Flavia banners would be waved, a few discreet balloons, and all that sort of thing. Discreet of course, because, like myself, none of us de Luces wear our hearts on our sleeves.

But when the ship berthed finally at Southampton, there had been only Dogger standing motionless in the rain beneath a dark umbrella.

With the strangeness that comes of separation, I had offered him my hand, rather than giving him the crushing bear hug that was in my heart. I regretted this at once, but it was too late: The moment had passed and the opportunity was wasted.

“I’m afraid I must be the bearer of rather bad news, Miss Flavia,” Dogger had said. “Colonel de Luce has been taken ill. He is in hospital with pneumonia.”

“Father? In hospital? In Hinley?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“We must go to him at once,” I said. “What time will we be there?”

We still had a long journey ahead of us, Dogger explained. The five-­twenty boat train from Southampton would take us up to London and to Waterloo Station, where, just after seven in the evening, we would have to change to a taxicab for a dash across the city to another train at another station.

We would not reach Doddingsley until late in the evening, and would not arrive at Bishop’s Lacey, Hinley, and the hospital until even later. By then, visiting hours would be long over.

“Surely Dr. Darby—­” I said.

But Dogger gave his head a sad shake, and it was not until that moment that I realized how grave Father’s situation must be.

Dogger was not the kind of person who would tell you that everything would be all right when he knew perfectly well that it would not. His silence said everything.

Although there had been so much to say, we had ­spoken little in the train. Each of us had stared out blank-­faced through the rain-­streaked glass at a rushing land­scape that seemed in the gathering twilight to be the color of old bruises.

From time to time I glanced at Dogger, but found that I could no longer decipher his face.

Dogger had suffered horribly with Father in a Japanese prison camp during the war, and still, from time to time, experienced flashbacks of such terrifying intensity that they left him little more than a weak, whimpering child.

Once, I had asked him how he and Father had survived.

“One tries to keep a stiff upper lip, mentally,” he had said.

I had worried about Dogger almost constantly during my absence, but in writing—­although missing me—­he had seemed to be otherwise well enough. Dogger’s had been the only letter I’d received from home during my incarceration in Canada, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the warmth of the de Luce family.

Oh, of course, there had been that sarcastic footnote by my newly discovered cousin, Undine, who had been dumped by Fate and her mother’s horrible death on the doorstep at Buckshaw. Undine’s place in the family remained to be seen, but I didn’t hold out much hope for her. Because she was still a child—­whereas I was twelve, and much more knowledgeable about the ways of the world—­I wasn’t particularly looking forward to renewing our brief acquaintance. But if I found, when I got home, that she’d been pawing my belongings while I was away in Canada, there would be mayhem at the manor house.

It had been well past dark when the train crawled at last into Doddingsley station, where Clarence Mundy’s taxicab stood waiting in the rain to take us to Buckshaw. The cold air was damp and penetrating. A yellow fog hung round the dim lights on the platform, giving them a ghastly, ghostly glow, and making me feel as if my eyes were brimming.

“Nice to see you again, miss,” Clarence whispered, tugging at the peak of his cap as I got into the car, although he otherwise remained silent, as if I were an actress—­in costume and makeup—­about to make my entrance at stage left, and he the stage manager, bound to respect my role by keeping a respectable professional distance.

We rode to Bishop’s Lacey and Buckshaw in silence, Dogger staring fixedly ahead and me gazing desperately out through the glass as if trying to penetrate the darkness.

Hardly the homecoming I had expected.

Mrs. Mullet met us at the door and folded me into her arms and bosom.

“I’ve made you up some sangridges,” she said in a curiously rough voice. “Beef and lettuce—­your favorites. Left ’em on the dresser by your bed. You’ll be tired, I ’spect.”

“Thank you, Mrs. M,” I heard myself saying. “It’s very thoughtful of you.”

Could this be Flavia de Luce speaking? Surely not!

In my present state of mind, slices of dead cow garnished with sprigs of the local vegetation were a particular horror and abomination, but something made me hold my tongue.

“They’ve all gone up to bed,” Mrs. Mullet added, mean­ing Feely, Daffy, and presumably Undine. “It’s been an uncommon ’ard day.”

I nodded, reminded suddenly of my late-­night arrival at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. Dark entrances, I thought, seemed to have become a regular part of my life.

Wasn’t it odd that my own flesh and blood had not waited up for me, or was I expecting too much? I had only been gone since September, but surely, one of them . . .

I stifled the thought.

Surely there was someone to welcome me home. Even a stuck-­out tongue from Undine would have been welcome. But no—­it was far past her bedtime. Undine would be off in the world of whatever vile dreams fueled her waking life.

And then I thought of Esmeralda: Esmeralda!

Dear, sweet, precious Esmeralda, my pride and my joy. The fact that she was a Buff-­Orpington hen made no difference whatsoever. Love is love, wherever you may find it—­even when it’s covered in feathers.

“I’ll be back in a jiffy,” I said to Mrs. M. “I just want to say hello and good night to Esmeralda.”

“It’s late, dear,” Mrs. Mullet said, putting her hand on my elbow. “You’ll need to be fresh to go visit your father in the morning.”

“No,” I said, “I want to see Esmeralda,” and I turned away before she could stop me.

“Miss Flavia—­” she called as I strode across the foyer. A quick glance back showed Dogger shaking his head, as if to discourage her.

The garden was in wet darkness, but I still knew my way to the greenhouse well enough.

“Esmeralda!” I called out, not wanting to startle her in her sleep. “Guess who’s home! It’s me—­Flavia!”

I opened the glass door and reached inside for the electric light switch. For a moment my eyes were dazzled by the glare of the naked bulb.

In the corner, Esmeralda’s cage was empty.

At moments of great surprise, the human mind is easily derailed, sometimes causing us to act quite irrationally. Which is why I picked up the cage and looked underneath it—­as if Esmeralda had somehow managed to reduce herself to the thickness of a piece of newspaper and had slid, chuckling, under the cage, as a practical joke to welcome me home.

A wisp of dust raised itself up into the air and disintegrated in the draft from the open door. It was obvious that the cage had not been touched in quite some time.

“Esmeralda?”

The hair stood up on the back of my neck and there was panic in my voice.

“Esmeralda!”

“We’re sorry, dear. We meant to tell you—­”

I spun round to find Mrs. Mullet and Dogger standing in the doorway.

“What have you done with her?” I demanded, but I think I knew the answer even before the words were out of my mouth.

“You’ve eaten her, haven’t you?” I said, my words suddenly cold with fury. I looked from one of them to the other, hoping desperately for a no: for some simple, obvious, harmless explanation.

But none came. And it was just as well: I wouldn’t have believed them anyway.

Mrs. Mullet wrapped her arms around herself, partly against the cold and partly for protection.

“We meant to tell you, dear,” Mrs. M repeated.

But they didn’t need to tell me. It was all too clear. I could already picture it in my imagination: the sudden throwing open of the cage, the seizing of that warm, fat feathered body, the frenzied, terrified clucks, the ax, the chopping block, the blood, the plucking, the gutting, the stuffing, the stitching, the roasting, the carving, the serving . . . the eating—­

Cannibals.

Cannibals!

I elbowed my way roughly past them and fled back into the house.

By choice, my bedroom was at the far corner of the unheated east wing, next door to the chemical laboratory that had been set up by his family in the days of Queen Victoria for my late great-­uncle, Tarquin de Luce. Although Uncle Tar had now been dead for more than twenty years, his laboratory was still the wonder of the chemical world—­at least, it would have been if they’d known about it.

Fortunately for me, the room, with all its chemical marvels, had been abandoned until I had seized it as my own and set about teaching myself the craft.

I climbed onto my bed and retrieved the key from where I’d hidden it in a baggy bulge of wallpaper that drooped from the ceiling. Plucking an ancient india rubber hot-­water bottle from a drawer of an equally ancient dresser, I unlocked the laboratory and stepped inside.

I put a match to a Bunsen burner, filled a flask with water, and sat down on a stool to watch it boil.

Only then did I allow myself to burst into hot, bitter tears.

It was here, on this very spot, that Esmeralda had so often perched on a test-­tube rack, watching me boil one of her eggs in a beaker for tiffin.

There are those persons, I suppose, who would criticize me for loving a chicken to distraction, but to them I can only say “Boo and sucks!” The love between animal and human is one that never fails, as it does so often among our own sorry tribe.

My mind went over again and again what Esmeralda must have felt at the end. It tore at my heart so fiercely that I had to quit thinking about her, and think about another chicken instead: a chicken I had once seen fleeing the hatchet in a farmyard, while I was cycling near Bishop’s Lacey.

I was doing this when there was a light knock at the door. I hastily dried my eyes on my skirt, blew my nose, and called out, “Who is it?”

“It’s Dogger, miss.”

“Come in,” I said, hoping there was not too much coldness in my voice.

Dogger stepped silently into the room. He spoke before it was necessary for me to do so.

“Regarding Esmeralda,” he said, waiting to judge my reaction.

I swallowed, but somehow managed to keep my lips from quivering.

“Colonel de Luce was obliged to go up to London to deal with the Inland Revenue. In the train, he came into contact with the influenza virus—­there’s been a great deal of it about this year: even more, in certain locations, than in the great epidemic of 1918. The onset was remarkably rapid. The influenza progressed into bacterial pneumonia. Your father was in urgent need of a hot, nourishing broth. He was very ill and unable to keep down anything else. I take full responsibility, Miss Flavia. I made sure that Esmeralda did not suffer. She was in that blissful trance which one induced by scratching her under the chin. I’m sorry, Miss Flavia.”

I deflated like a leaking balloon as the anger went slowly out of me. How could I hate someone who had probably saved my father’s life?

I could find no words to fit the situation, and so I remained silent.

“I fear our world is changing, Miss Flavia,” Dogger said at last, “and not necessarily for the better.”

I tried to read between the words, and to reply with understanding.

“Father,” I said finally. “How is he? The truth, Dogger.”

A shadow flickered across Dogger’s brow: the ghost of an unpleasant thought. From what I had been able to tease out of him in the past, I deduced that Dogger had once been a highly qualified medical man, but the war had beaten him to a pulp. In spite of all that, and for all that it cost him, he was still unable to dodge an honest question, and I loved him all the more for it.

“He is gravely ill,” Dogger said. “By the time he returned home from the city, he already had a feverish cough with a temperature of 102. The influenza virus does that. It also kills the natural bacteria of the nose and throat, which then allows the lungs to be invaded. The result is bacterial pneumonia.”

“Thank you, Dogger,” I said. “I appreciate your honesty. Is he going to die?”

“I don’t know, Miss Flavia. Nobody knows. Dr. Darby is a good man. He’s doing everything he can.”

“Such as?” I could be remorseless when necessary.

“There is a new drug from America: aureomycin.”

“Chlortetracycline!” I said. “It’s an antibiotic!”

Its discovery and extraction from a soil sample in a field in Missouri had been mentioned in an issue of Chemical Abstracts & Transactions which—­because of Uncle Tar’s lifetime subscription, and the failure of my family to notify the editors of his demise—­was still being delivered to Buckshaw like chemical clockwork more than two decades after his death.

“Bless you!” I blurted, certain that Dogger had somehow taken a hand in Father’s treatment.

“It is Dr. Darby who should be the recipient of our gratitude. Not forgetting, of course, the drug’s discoverer.”

“Of course not!”

I made a mental note to send up a bedtime prayer to—­Dr. Duggar, was it?—­the American botanist who had extracted the stuff from a mold sample in the soil of a garden plot in Missouri.

“Why did he call it aureomycin, Dogger?”

“Because of its golden color. Aureus means ‘gold’ in Greek, and mykes means ‘fungus.’ ”

How simple it all was, when you got right down to it! Why couldn’t life itself be as straightforward as a man bending over a microscope in Missouri?

My eyes were heavy. Iron eyelids, I remember thinking. I stifled a yawn.

I hadn’t slept properly for ages. And who knew when I would have another chance?

“Good night, Dogger,” I said, filling the hot water bottle. “And thank you.”

“Good night, Miss Flavia,” he said.

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Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best in this series. Bradley's character won my heart and admiration.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Love it! I love all the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley. JB
TheBookishHooker More than 1 year ago
Flavia is by far my favorite mystery gal. She's full of spunk and wit and is no stranger to mishaps. In this installment of the series, we find her newly returned from Canada to find that things have changed in the De Luce home. Flavia is on the cusp of growing up and is experiencing all of the awkwardness that accompanies that time in our lives. The mystery is, as always, unique and full of intrigue and plot twists. This one was slightly easier to guess the outcome than previous books. However, the sad cliffhanger at the end was completely unexpected. I received an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Death of a Woodcarver There are four series I am listening to on audio, and I was trying to rotate them. That fell by the wayside based on availability this year, and I wound up getting up to date on the Flavia de Luce mysteries. Naturally, that meant that I made a point of listening to Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d as soon as it came out, which coincided with as soon as my library got the audio version. Twelve-year-old Flavia has returned from Canada. However, her welcome home in December of 1951 wasn’t nearly what she’d hoped it would be. She arrives home to the news that her father is in the hospital with pneumonia, and he is so sick that he can’t receive any visitors. Her sisters are as obnoxious as ever, and her young cousin is annoying Flavia as well. So when Cynthia, the vicar’s wife, asks Flavia to deliver a message to a woodcarver in the next village, Flavia jumps at the chance. She arrives to find the woodcarver hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door dead. Naturally, Flavia is delighted at this turn of events. But can she figure out who would kill an old woodcarver? Those who missed Flavia’s family and the English village setting while she was in Canada in the previous book will be delighted with the return to Bishop’s Lacey here. Even though I enjoyed the last outing and the different setting, I was glad to get back to the usual characters and setting. These characters are a fun group. Of course, Flavia is the real star of the series. I’m enjoying seeing some growth and maturity in her. No, it’s not enough to change her character, but it is refreshing to see that she is growing into a young woman who is slightly more sympathetic and mature. And I get a kick out of Flavia’s interactions with her young cousin. Flavia can’t figure out why this girl annoys her so much, but she is so much like Flavia it adds a comic touch to things. The mystery is much more the focus here than in some of the previous books in the series. It’s not the best element of the series usually, and that’s the case again here since I figured out some of what was happening long before Flavia did. Still, it is interesting and kept me engaged the entire way through. As always, Jayne Entwistle is fantastic at bringing the story to life. She is engaging and perfect as Flavia without overwhelming the story at all. Seriously, if you are looking for a great audio book to try, this is the series for Jayne’s narration. The bad part of being caught up on a series is that you now have to wait impatiently for the next in the series to come out, and I will definitely be doing that for the next in tise series. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d will please fans of this unique detective.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
Flavia seems much more grown up after her return from her so-called banishment to Canada in the last book. Picking up as she arrives home, Dogger is the only one to meet the train and relates that her Father is hospitalized with pneumonia. However, Gladys is up to a visit to the vicarage the next morning and I was quickly caught up in another of Flavia’s adventures. The death of a local carver sparks Flavia's interest immediately. Flavia's voice and witty observations are what keep me coming back to this series as soon as they are published.
Palegirl More than 1 year ago
Oh, Flavia, how good it is to have you back! Without doubt, Flavia de Luce is my favorite female sleuth ever. (Spare me the Nancy Drew comparisons--not even.) In this eighth Flavia mystery, she is older and wiser, but also smarter. She is sharper of wit, and her macabre sense of humor is still intact, but her good heart still shines through. This time around she is solving the bizarre and grisly murder of an odd old woodcarver. But does he have another identity? As Flavia winds her way around the case and countryside, she gets herself into and out of scrapes, with the help of her usual pals (my favorite being Dogger). Alan Bradley writes with wit and warmth and makes not only Flavia, but all of his characters, major and minor, come off the page fully-fleshed. Old friends have returned and new folks are introduced. I can't even begin to recommend this series enough. (Thank you to Random House/Ballantine and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel.)
Gail-Cooke More than 1 year ago
Admittedly a devotee of audio books let me say up front that I’m also a devoted fan and head cheerleader for Jayne Entwistle who is the voice of Flavia de Luce. Somehow she has captured the tenor and tone of this precocious 12-year-old’s voice - for my ear Flavia’s exuberance, audacity, naivete are all perfectly captured. Entwistle has won Earphone Awards and a Voice Arts Award for her narrations - rightly so! What a joy it is to press a button and hear Flavia come to life again. With Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d we find our young heroine back in England at Buckshaw, her family’s rundown estate. Should come as no surprise to anyone that Flavia has been booted from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada. Needless to say she does not shed tears about her ousting but simply wants to hug her beloved father. More easily said than done as she learns that Col. Haviland de Luce has been hospitalized with pneumonia. Of course, she wants to rush to his bedside and escape her dreadful older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne (whom she refers to as Feely and Daffy.) Good hearted Flavia agrees to run an errand for the vicar’s wife which she believes shouldn’t take long at all. Not so. For instead of a routine errand she finds the body of woodworker Roger Sambridge who has been crucified upside down on the bedroom door of his cottage. Of course, Flavia loves nothing better than a mystery, she’s immediately on the alert and begins to investigate. She finds a set of Oliver Inchbold’s children’s books - rather uncommon reading for a 70-year-old man. She also finds a woman’s signature in one of the books. Flavia continues to probe and question observed by her old friend Inspector Hewitt. She’s puzzled but couldn’t be happier nor could I with the latest in this incredible young girl’s adventures. Thanks to Alan Bradley for creating such an endearing heroine. Enjoy!
Twink More than 1 year ago
Okay, hands up if you've been waiting (and not patiently) for the next entry in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. Well, the wait is over - the eighth book - Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd has just released. I've devoured it and will be waiting (and not patiently) for the ninth book in this absolutely wonderful series. Early 1950's. Twelve year old Flavia has been drummed out of Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada and sent packing back to England. She arrives home in time for the Christmas holidays, but much has changed in the few short months she's been gone. But what hasn't changed is Flavia's penchant for finding dead bodies. Or should I say that the bodies find Flavia? On an innocent errand for the vicar's wife, Flavia stumbles across yet another. And her reaction? "It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one's spirits." I'm drawn to the time period, the crumbling mansion the de Luces live in, the small village of Bishop's Lacey, the quirky inhabitants of the village, the characters and the whole idea of a very clever amateur girl detective. A younger cousin has been introduced in the storylines of the last two books. I'm not completely sure yet how I feel about her (and either is Flavia), but Undine is beginning to grow on me. The enigmatic family retainer, Dogger, is my favourite supporting character, turning up at just the right moment with just the right (or no) words. He sees past the clever front Flavia presents, to the sometimes lonely little girl often left to her own devices. (Did I mention the chemistry lab in the moldering east wing? Flavia is quite adept at poisons....) Lonely enough that her best friend is Gladys - her bicycle. Flavia often attributes her own feelings and thoughts to Gladys. "Gladys gave a little squeak of delight. She loved coasting as much as I did, and if there was no one in sight, I might even put my feet up on her handlebars: a bit of bicycle artistry that she loved even more than ordinary free-wheeling." "Gladys loved to pretend she was being abducted. She was being amusing, I knew, and because it helped pass the time until we reached the road, I did not discourage her." I enjoy the mysteries that Bradley concocts and this one is fairly complex - woodcarvers, witches, childhood storybooks and more, but it is Flavia that's the main event for me. I love her mind, her deductions and her outlook on life: "Life with my sister Daffy had taught me that you could tell as much about people by their books as you could by snooping through their diaries - a practice of which I am exceedingly fond and, I must confess, especially adept." "Thanks to my Girl Guide training, I was able to bluff convincingly when required. All those wet and windy Wednesday evenings spent in cold, drafty parish halls were paying off at last." "There is an art to staging a convincing accident. It is not as easy as you may think - particularly on short notice. First and foremost, it must look completely natural and spontaneous. Secondly, there must be nothing comical about it, since comedy saps sympathy." I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book." I always wanted to be a detective (like Nancy Drew or Harriet the Spy) when I was younger. In Flavia I get to imagine it all over again.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley is the highly recommended eighth book in the popular Flavia de Luce series. Twelve-year-old chemist Flavia de Luce is back! After being banished to Canada and sent to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, Flavia has now been re-banished back home to England at her family estate at Buckshaw and the village of Bishop's Lacey. All is not well, however, when Flavia is met at the dock by Dogger and told that her father, Col. Haviland de Luce, is in the hospital with pneumonia. The reunion with her older sisters Ophelia and Daphne (Feely and Daffy) and her younger cousin Undine, Flavia is ready to jump on her trusted bike, Gladys, and sets off to see Cynthia Richardson, the vicar's wife. When Flavia consents to running an errand for Cynthia, she is sent to deliver a message to wood carver Roger Sambridge. Once at his home, Flavia knocks but no one answers. She tries the door and discovers it is unlocked. Further investigation leads to her discovery of the reclusive man crucified upside down on the back of the bedroom door in his cottage. Naturally, Flavia examines the body and the crime scene. Her discoveries have her off and running on a new investigation Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is another winning addition to Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. As with the other books in this series, the current addition is extremely well written and clever. Flavia is an appealing, intelligent girl full of wit, logic, and scientific experiments to help her solve the mysteries she investigates. Flavia, as most readers of the series realize, is a unique character and definitely acts more mature than you would predict anyone her age would act. (I tend to ignore her given age at this point and mentally place her as older than 12.) Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd ends with another cliffhanger, so be forewarned to look for the next adventure. Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great characters, but oh, the ending!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And neither is mine because I haven't read the book. Wanted to find out about the book., but there's nothing there.