From the very first time I met the precocious Ms. Flavia de Luce between the pages of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I knew I had hit reader’s gold. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is the latest in this series by Alan Bradley that keeps on giving.
In the previous book As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, I thoroughly enjoyed Flavia’s adventures at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, but I kept wishing for her to be back at Bishop’s Lacey and Buckshaw Manor. In this book, my wish was granted.
Her return to England is marked by dark tidings–her father is unwell. Things are much changed at home, with her sisters largely ignoring her and with the general gloominess that hangs in the air. Flavia is only too glad then to go off on an errand for the vicar’s wife, and in true Flavia fashion, she promptly stumbles upon a dead body. And thereby hangs the tale!
One can really see Flavia growing up and gaining independence in this book as she ventures out to London on her own to investigate. And yet, there are moments of vulnerability that remind the reader that she is still a child. Her wit and humour are sharp and entertaining as ever. However, this book in my opinion, is a bit more dark and serious than the other books.
The series has been getting gradually darker in tone and feel, and this latest is the gloomiest of the lot. It is not easy to read it without being affected by the mood, and this, in spite of the mystery, makes it impossible to read in one sitting.
The curve ball cliffhanger ending certainly doesn’t offer the reader any reprieve. One can only wait for the next book in the series to know what Flavia and her near and dear ones will do. If the trajectory of the series, and Flavia’s character development through the series are any indication, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, promises to be a darker read, with Flavia truly coming into her own.
FTC disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.