Wednesday, September 7, 2016

REVIEW: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
Author: Alan Bradley

**I received a copy of this book from Random House/Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for a fair, honest review.**

Flavia de Luce. A character with a fancy name like that has got to have a vibrant, bigger-than-life personality to go with it. And 12-year old Flavia definitely lives up to her name! She is a bit of this and a bit of that....chemist, psychologist, scientist, detective, pre-teen, bicycle enthusiast and a wit all rolled up into one delightful package.

I absolutely ADORED this book!!  I read many mystery novels for review, but this book (and the entire series) is a cut above the rest. Bradley's writing is witty, and the multi-faceted plot was developed masterfully. The pace was perfect, with just enough side details to amply flesh out his characters. The tale drew me in and kept me reading to the very last word. Flavia's thoughts, opinions and powers of deduction were delightful. I couldn't help but love her. Bradley uses a lot of poetry and book and author references to spice up the prose. Children's sing-songy poetry is used throughout this story as an integral part of the plot.

I even learned a new insult. Gong farmer. Flavia and her older sister use it while fighting, as sisters will. I had to look it up. I was absolutely delighted to find out that it was a poor unfortunate soul whose job was to scrape and dig out human excrement from cesspits and privies back in the Tudor era. I will be putting it to good use in the future. :)

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is the 8th Flavia De Luce novel. The title comes from a line uttered by one of the three witches in MacBeth as they stir their cauldron.

The basic plot: Flavia returns home from a lackluster attempt at boarding school in Canada. She expects a happy homecoming, but arrives back in England to find her father is ill and the Christmas season is subsequently depressing at Buckshaw, the family manor. She believes that her life is destined to be sad and awful until, while running an errand for the vicar's wife, she finds a dead corpse. Most people would consider that a horrible, terrible thing....but Flavia is almost overjoyed. "It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for ones spirts!''  She says, as she gets to work immediately investigating the room where a reclusive wood-carver has been strung up upside-down on his bedroom door. There are many suspects, lots of sleuthing required, and many twists and turns in this witty, engaging book!

It's been a long time since I read a mystery novel that is this engaging and well-written. I highly recommend it!! It will not disappoint! It is not necessary to read the series in order. The author gives enough snippets of back-story that the characters and plot will be understood, even if you haven't read any of the other 7 books in the series.

Thrice the Brinded Cat hath Mew'd releases September 20th by Delacorte Press. Check out Alan Bradley's website at    It is rumored that the Flavia de Luce series will be coming to television in the future!! Hope so!

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