The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, the 6th in Alan Bradley's 'Flavia de Luce' series seems to be a bridge between the series as it was and whatever it will become from now on. Flavia is an almost 12 year old girl living in a small village in England after WWII (1951 in this book). She lives in a crumbling old estate with her emotionally distant father, two older sisters who dislike her and a small household staff. She loves chemistry and solving crimes. In this book, the mystery of what happened to her mother, missing for ten years, is solved. Harriet de Luce's body is discovered in the Himalayas and shipped home to her family. The mysteries that remain unsolved are: what was Flavia's mother really doing in the Himalayas? Why is the family involved in British intelligence work and in what way? At the end, Flavia's father tells her that she will be sent to boarding school in Canada, so in addition to a change of venue, the series seems to be taking a turn toward Flavia as international spy in training, but we will have to wait for the next installment to find some answers and to find out if the series improves once it makes some major changes. I enjoyed the earlier books in this series and hopes it regains its footing now that this book has sent it into a new direction as Flavia matures.
Reviews of the Flavia de Luce series and similar mysteries on this blog can be found here.http://bhplnjbookgroup.blogspot.com/search?q=flavia
Interview with author Alan Bradley