This latest book to follow precocious mystery and chemistry fanatic Flavia de Luce picks up the action immediately after the story ends in the previous book, Speaking from Among the Bones. Now, there’s a new death to investigate, but it is almost a side story to the bigger tale: Harriet, Flavia’s long-lost mother, has been found and her body is being brought back home to Buckshaw. This introduces a number of new characters, as neighbors from the whole vicinity as well as relatives come to pay their respects.
Flavia gets to meet, very briefly, Winston Churchill, who asks her an odd question, and right after that, she witnesses another possible murder: a man who whispers a strange message to her falls under the train that brought her mother home. Flavia, naturally, wants to figure out what the message meant and who would have killed this man, whoever he was.
But she also has to come to terms with the death of her mother, as do her father and her older sisters. The ways Flavia decides to handle certain problems are definitely ideas only she could come up with, too.
This book veers away slightly from the formula used in the previous books and introduces some new plot directions, but anything I could say about those would be spoilers. So read and enjoy and judge for yourself.
Rated: Mild, for a half-dozen uses of mild language and one or two mild scenes of violence.