Readers who have followed all of precocious young detective Flavia de Luce’s adventures should find this latest in the series entertaining. In the previous book, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches, Alan Bradley added in a new plot element to what had previously been simply local murder mysteries, and that is developed a bit more in As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. That means, however, that readers shouldn’t hop in to the series with these sixth and seventh books. Earlier on, any could have been a fine starting place, though I heartily recommend reading all of them, starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
In short, preteen chemistry enthusiast Flavia de Luce is sent to a boarding school in Canada, considering herself “banished” from her rambling old family home in England. As always, she has the privilege (as she sees it: oh, the thrill!) of discovering another dead body, in this case right in her dorm room. But solving the murder is complicated because of all the secrets and unknowns in this new environment, as well as not having a relationship with the local police. Even though she is warned by various people, adults and fellow boarders alike, to stay out of it, of course Flavia can’t do that. She does whatever she can to gather information. Thus, we get a murder mystery and some further information on the bigger picture she and some family members are a part of.
This book does feel a bit different because of the new location and characters, but it’s fun as always.
Rated: Mild, for some occasional mild language and a few mild elements of violence and references to violence.