Flavia’s back. That hilariously precocious, poison-loving, mystery-solving 11-year-old has been “blessed” with another murder to investigate in the little town of Bishop’s Lacey. As always, she has to devise clever methods to get around the adults who would very much like to see her stay out of the way.
In this fifth installment, the latest organist at St. Tancred’s church is found dead just above the sarcophagus of the saint himself, whose bones the church leaders have decided to exhume in honor of the 500-year anniversary of his death.
Even as Flavia is insinuating herself into the crime scene and looking for other clues (and, of course, chemically testing any unknown substance that turns up), she finds out that her oldest sister, Ophelia (Feely), is getting married, and that her beloved Buckshaw may be up for sale, her father finally unable to scrape together the funds to keep it going. How will she be able to cope with the changes?
As always, Alan Bradley’s writing strikes just the right notes, drawing a picture of a small town in post-World War II England that is full of delightfully quirky characters and of a family struggling to maintain its shape in the wake of loss. While these books are theoretically primarily mysteries, they’re really more about the world at that time and place, seen through the eyes of one young girl who is always an entertaining guide.
Rated: Mild, for about a dozen uses of mild language and a couple of moderate terms, as well as some mild description of violence.