Set of 8 Flavia de Luce Mysteries

Alan Bradley

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Description

Reviewed by Andy Merrills in Slightly Foxed Issue 55.

This set of eight Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley is made up of the following titles:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
I Am Half Sick of Shadows
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

Not So Cosy After All?

ANDY MERRILLS

Raymond Chandler was not a great fan of the ‘cosy’ crime novel. In a famous essay of 1950 called ‘The Simple Art of Murder’, the novelist satirized the intricate, ingenious and implausible plots of the great English detective writers and scoffed at their emphasis upon the perfect puzzle, rather than the reality of human action. Not for him solutions that hinged on the potting of prize-winning begonias or the carefully calibrated murder with a platinum stiletto. In his view, crime writing only really came of age with Dashiell Hammett and the fast-talking, hard-punching heroes of a new American tradition, of which Chandler himself is perhaps now the best-known exponent. In view of this, I sometimes wonder what Raymond Chandler would have made of Alan Bradley and his pugnacious heroine Flavia de Luce.

On the face of it, crimes don’t get much cosier than those which appear in the first six novels of the Flavia sequence. The convention of Slightly Foxed dictates that titles are normally tucked away in a footnote, but I think it is worth savouring the delightful cadence of all six here: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieThe Weed that Strings the Hangman’s BagA Red Herring without Mustard; I Am Half-Sick of ShadowsSpeaking from among the Bones and The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. To me, each of these seems to have exactly the right balance of whimsy and menace, and these are promises that are admirably fulfilled in the books that follow . . .



Related articles Authors & Contributors

Not So Cosy After All?

On the face of it, crimes don’t get much cosier than those which appear in the first six novels of the Flavia sequence. The convention of Slightly Foxed dictates that titles are normally tucked...

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Comments & Reviews

  1. J. Barry says:

    A huge thank you to Andy Merrills for introducing us to Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce adventures. Just the things to buy in ready for the darker evenings!

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