Thank you, NetGalley!!! for this early copy of Flavia’s latest adventure, due to be published on January 8. Flavia goes to Canada to attend her late mother’s alma mater, Miss Bodycote’s Female
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but compared to the previous entries in this series, it just isn’t up to snuff. Important elements from the other books are missing. I am hoping for better from the next book. Chimney Sweepers is the sixth in the series, and, according to Wikipedia, Bradley originally had a six-book deal. Is this the end? I hope not.
Still, I would not recommend this book to anyone who has not read any of the other Flavia de Luce books. Begin at the beginning.
Flavia is “banished,” on her own, without her loyal allies back home. She has limited access to her chemistry lab. She receives only one letter from Buckshaw and that is from Dogger, the caretaker, not her father, not her sisters, and not from her aunt. We really never get to know the headmistress or the teachers. Everyone keeps warning Flavia not to trust anyone. (Has Bradley been watching XFiles? Trust no one? Really?)
Although Bradley vividly depicts the school, there isn’t much sense of Toronto. I miss the village, Flavia’s crumbling mansion, and Gladys.
And for a girl who is supposed to be attending classes, Flavia doesn’t really ever appear to attend one. Too busy chasing clues.
The story began to lag, and then things wrapped up. Not everything, though. Flavia leaves some threads still dangling when, SPOILER ALERT!!! Flavia goes back to England.