This review assumes you’ve read the first 5 books in the series.
The Dead in Their Vaulted Archesby Alan Bradley
The sixth book the Flavia de Luce series picks up right where the fifth book’s cliffhanger left off. Instead of once again following the new murder in a small town formula, this book breaks from tradition and reveals many of the answers that fans of the series have been waiting for. The payoff is everything I hoped it would be. Harriet de Luce, who was killed in a climbing accident in the Himalayas a decade earlier, has finally been found and is being returned home.
Honestly, the lack of focus on a regular murder didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t even miss that element. I loved seeing our heroine and her sisters attempt to cope with a grief they’ve never quite been able to verbalize. Feelings of abandonment and lack of closure tumble together and each of the members of the de Luce clan struggle to come to terms with these things in their own ways.
I’ve seen reviews where people say they hope the next book will return to the tired formula of the first five installments, but I hope it will not. Flavia is growing up and beginning a new chapter in her life. As much as I love her character, seeing that growth is much more rewarding than watching a character grow stale with repetition.
BOTTOM LINE: For me, this book rose above the rest of the series. It delved into the heart of the story it had been dancing around for so long. Harriet’s past and Flavia’s relationships with her father and siblings were what kept bringing me back to this series, not the victim of the week mysteries. This book was the rich reward for sticking with the characters.
“Silence is a question mark that cannot be ignored.”