The Grave's A Fine And Private Place: A Flavia De Luce Novel by Alan BradleyThe Grave's A Fine And Private Place: A Flavia De Luce Novel by Alan Bradley

The Grave's A Fine And Private Place: A Flavia De Luce Novel

byAlan Bradley

Hardcover | January 30, 2018

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"The world's greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth" (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty new mystery novel from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes against her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself as Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia's grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia's mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.
ALAN BRADLEY was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. He coauthored Ms. Holmes of Baker Street to great acclaim and much controversy, followed by a poignant memoir, The Shoebox Bible. Now the internationally bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series, Bradley lives with his wife and two calculating cats in the Isle of ...
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Title:The Grave's A Fine And Private Place: A Flavia De Luce NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 8.52 × 5.8 × 1.2 inPublished:January 30, 2018Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385678444

ISBN - 13:9780385678445

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Flavia the best! With this book you see a shift in Flavia. She's growing older and her childhood innocence is fading. It's bittersweet in a way. I'm excited to see where Flavia goes next but I'm sad to see the young Flavia come to an end. When you read the books in order you'll see her growth. It's such a great experience. The chemistry in this book, and I mean actual chemistry as in test tubes and experiments, is awesome! Bradley really does his research into how progressive chemistry was in the 1950s and I love the references to the historical side of the subject. Oh, and I should also mention that Flavia as a knack for finding dead bodies which sets her on her next investigative streak. If you're interested make sure to start with The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie, the first book. It's such a fun ride and a wonderful series. Whenever I read the next book in the series it feels like I'm re-connecting with an old friend. You'll love Flavia!
Date published: 2018-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I adore Flavia! The Grave's a Fine and Private Place is the ninth entry in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series - a series that I absolutely adore! 1952 England. Tragedy struck in the last book and Flavia and her sisters are still coming terms with the new direction their lives have taken. When faithful family retainer Dogger suggests a small getaway trip to help, they (unusally) all agree to go. The four are drifting down the river near Volesthorpe, with Flavia dangling her hand in the water when....she snags something. "My fingers were inserted firmly in the corpse's open mouth, locked behind it's upper teeth." Voesthorpe also just happens to have been the scene of a triple murder two years ago. And suddenly things don't look quite so bleak for our twelve year old detective. Bradley's mysteries are always well planned and executed, but it is the irrepressible Flavia who is the main draw for me. Her curiosity, her quick cleverness, her inner dialogue, the way she views herself and the world around her. And her desire to solve the crimes before the local constabulary does have me reliving my desire to be Nancy Drew. Her skill with poisons is always helpful as well. ;0) "I cannot pretend that it was unpleasant to be questioned by the police. I had in the past become quite accustomed to occasion quiet chats with Inspector Hewitt: chats during which, as often as not, I was able to set the inspector straight on some of the finer points of chemistry and even, on one or two occasions, certain other matters as well." "To me, an unexamined corpse was a tale untold: a knotted ball of a tale that was simply crying out to be unraveled until the last strand had been picked free. The fact that it was also a study in progressively putrid chemistry simply made it all that much more lively and interesting." I've always been fond of the enigmatic Dogger. Bradley gives him a larger role in this latest and we learn a bit more about him and his background. Flavia's relationships with her sisters are also growing and changing, in a direction Flavia couldn't have predicted. They too play a larger role in this ninth entry. With these changes comes a new avenue for Flavia - one I think is going to open up all sorts of new possibilities for our intrepid sleuth. I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book." Absolutely, positively recommended! If you haven't read any of this series yet, I encourage you to start at the beginning. For established Flavia fans - you won't be disappointed
Date published: 2018-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love Flavia de Luce! I love Flavia de Luce and each book is as good as the last. One of my favorite mystery series, it has not weakened at all. Flavia is a strong and humorous character with plenty of spunk. Great read.
Date published: 2018-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoying it I'm a bit more than half-way through, having read the entire series before... it's classic Flavia de Luce! Wondering if Mr. Bradley has thrown in some twists and turns for the remainder of the novel....
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Mr. Bradley has done it again. Flavia is easily one of my favorite literary characters. The stories she makes up and the situations she ends up in are hilarious. Like every other book in this series I finished reading it in no time. I assure you this book is just as good as the first. Maybe even better.
Date published: 2018-02-03

Read from the Book

•One•I am on my deathbed.Again.Although I have done everything in my power to survive, it has not been enough. A human being can only bear so much.I turn my face to the wall in bitter remembrance.Father had died suddenly at Christmas, leaving a colossal vacuum which we quickly realized would never—­could never—­be filled. In some strange way, he had been the secret glue which held us all together, and with his passing my sisters and I, never friends at the best of times, had now—­and quite inexplicably—­become the most deadly of mortal enemies. Each of us, wanting desperately to be in charge—­to gain some control over her shattered life—­found herself at odds with the others at every turn. Words and crockery were thrown with equal carelessness. It didn’t seem to matter much who was hit.With our family on the verge of breaking up, Aunt Felicity had come down from London to sort us out.Or so she claimed.In case we had forgotten it, we were quickly reminded of the fact that our dear auntie was—­as the Book of Common Prayer so charitably puts it—­a woman who followed the devices and desires of her own heart.In short, she was at best a stubborn old woman and at worst a bully and a tyrant.Buckshaw was to be sold at once, Aunt Felicity insisted, even though in law it was mine to do with as I pleased. Feely was to be married off to her fiancé, Dieter Schrantz, with all haste—­or at least as quickly as possible—­as soon as a respectable period of mourning had been observed.Daffy would be sent up to Oxford to read English.“Who knows but that, given time, you might even become a gifted teacher,” Aunt Felicity had said, upon which Daffy had thrown her teacup and saucer into the fireplace and stormed out of the room.Tantrums were useless, Aunt Felicity had told us icily. Tantrums solve no problems, but only create new ones.As for me, I was to be taken up to London, along with my cousin Undine, to live with Aunt Felicity until she could decide what to do with us. In my case, I knew that meant sending me somewhere to continue those studies which had been interrupted when I was chucked out of Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, in Canada.But what of Dogger and Mrs. Mullet? What would become of them?“They shall be paid off and each given a small pension in proportion to their years of service,” Aunt Felicity had decreed. “And I’m sure they will both be very grateful.”Dogger fobbed off with a pension? It was unthinkable. Dogger had given us almost his entire life: first to my father, then to my mother, and later to my sisters and myself.I pictured him sitting on a quaint wooden bench by a river somewhere, dressed in a rough-­spun pensioner’s jacket, forced to beg bread from the passing tourists, who took occasional snapshots of him to send home to their cretinous relatives.Dogger deserved better than that.And Mrs. Mullet?Left to cook for total strangers, she would languish and die, and we would be responsible.Our lives were looking exceedingly grim.Then, at the beginning of February, to make matters worse, King George had died: King George VI, that lovely man who once sat and chatted so happily with me in our drawing room as if I were his own daughter; and with his passing, the entire nation—­indeed all of the Commonwealth countries, perhaps even the whole world—­joined in the shock and sadness of our own recent bereavement.And what of me? What of Flavia de Luce?I would perish, I decided.Rather than submit to a lifetime locked in some dismal pigeon-­infested London square with an aunt who valued the Union Jack more than her own blood, I would simply do away with myself.And as an authority on poisons, I knew precisely how to accomplish it.No cyanide for me, thank you!I knew the symptoms all too well: the vertigo, the dizziness, the burning in the throat and stomach and, as the vagus nerve becomes paralyzed, the difficulty in breathing, the cold sweat, the feeble pulse, the muscular paralysis, the crushing heaviness of the heart, the slobbering . . .I think it was the slobbering, more than anything, that put me off the cyanide. What self-­respecting young woman would want to be found dead in her bedroom drowned in her own drool?There were easier ways of joining the Heavenly Choir.And so, here I am on my deathbed, all warm and cozy, my half-­closed eyes moving slowly for the last time across that ghastly red-­clotted mustard-­yellow wallpaper.I shall simply fall asleep and they will never find so much as a trace of what it was that did me in. How clever of me to have hit upon it!They’ll be sorry, I thought. They’ll all be sorry.But no! I mustn’t let it end like that. Mustn’t let it end with such a commonplace expression. That was the kind of platitude milkmaids died with—­or match girls.The death of Flavia de Luce demanded something greater: some great and noble words to hold in my mind as I stepped across the threshold of the universe.But what were they to be?Religion had been done to death.Perhaps I could conjure up some great insight into the peculiar electron bonding of diborane (B2H6), for instance, or the as yet unsolved atomic valences of Zeise’s salt.Yes, that was it!Paradise would welcome me. “Well done, de Luce,” the vast crystal angels would say, flickering with frozen fire as I set foot upon their doorstep.I hugged myself, cuddling in my own warmth.How comfortable death was when properly done.“Miss Flavia,” Dogger said, breaking in upon my pleasant thoughts. He had stopped rowing the skiff for a few moments and was pointing.I snapped out of my reverie in a split second. If it had been anyone but Dogger, I’d have taken my sweet time about it.“That’s Volesthorpe over there,” he said, pointing. “St. Mildred’s is just to the left of the tallest elm.”He knew I wouldn’t want to miss it: St.-­Mildred’s-­in-­the-­Marsh, where Canon Whitbread, the notorious “Poisoning Parson,” had just two years ago dispatched several of his female parishioners by lacing their Communion wine with cyanide.It had been done for love, of course. Poison and Passion, I have discovered, are as closely connected as Laurel and Hardy.“Looks a harmless enough place,” I said. “Like something from the pages of Picturesque England.”“Yes,” Dogger said. “Such places often do. Horrific crimes can sometimes bleed a location of all feeling.”He fell into silence as he gazed across the water and I knew he was thinking of the Japanese prisoner-­of-­war camp in which he and Father had been so badly abused.As I have said, Father’s death, six months ago, was the reason we were now adrift on the river: my sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and, of course, me, Flavia.Undine, as originally planned, had already gone up to London with Aunt Felicity.In the bow, her face damp with mosquito repellent, Feely lay languishing on a couple of striped pillows, staring down at her own reflection in the still water just ahead of our punt. She had not spoken since we set out this morning. The fingers of her right hand hammered out a tune on the gunwales—­one of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words: I recognized it by the rhythm—­but her face was a perfect blank.On the raised wicker seat, Daffy sat hunched over a book—­Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy—­oblivious to the glorious English landscape sliding slowly by on either side.Father’s sudden and unexpected death had knocked our family into a kind of coma, brought on, I believe, by the fact that we de Luces are constitutionally incapable of expressing our grief.Only Dogger had broken down, howling like a dog in the night, then silent and impassive in the long and tortured days that followed.It was pitiful.The funeral had been a shambles. Denwyn Richardson, the vicar and one of Father’s oldest and dearest friends, had been seized at the outset by uncontrollable sobbing, unable to continue, and the service had to be halted until a stopgap clergyman could be found. In the end, poor old Canon Walpole was located in the next village, dragged from his sickbed, and rushed to St. Tancred’s, where he finished what his colleague had begun, barking from a rattling chest cold at the graveside like a hundred hounds.It was a nightmare.Bent on taking charge, Aunt Felicity had (as I have said) swooped down from London, the death of her only—­and younger—­brother having driven her into a frenzy, during which she treated us all like particularly dim-­witted galley slaves, slinging orders about like a grill cook:“Straighten those magazines, Flavia. Put them in alphabetical and then in chronological order, right side up, in the cupboard. This is a drawing room, not a jackdaw’s nest. Ophelia, fetch a mop and pull down those spider’s webs. The place is like a tomb.”

Editorial Reviews

National BestsellerA New York Times Bestseller"This is another top-notch installment in a mystery series that manages to be both funny and creepy. More, please." —People "Outstanding. . . . As usual, Bradley makes his improbable series conceit work and relieves the plot's inherent darkness with clever humor." —Publishers Weekly, starred review"There's only one Flavia. . . . Series fans will anticipate the details of this investigation, along with one last taste of Flavia's unorthodox family life." —Library Journal, starred review"Fans of the precocious sleuth who share her unapologetically enthusiastic sense that 'an unexamined corpse was a tale untold' will rub their hands gleefully, confident that her resolution will unleash a dazzling barrage of innocent-seeming questions, recherché chemical and pharmacological tidbits, fibs and whoppers, and the most coyly bratty behavior outside the pages of Kay Thompson's chronicles of Eloise. . . . Bradley's unquenchable heroine brings 'the most complicated case I had ever come across' to a highly satisfying conclusion, with the promise of still brighter days ahead." —Kirkus ReviewsPraise for the Flavia de Luce series:• "[Bradley] has created one of the most endearing protagonists the traditional mystery genre, typified by the works of Agatha Christie, has seen in a very long time. . . . Bradley secures his position as a confident, talented writer and storyteller." —The Globe and Mail• "Flavia de Luce [is] perhaps contemporary crime fiction's most original character." —Maclean's• "There is such a thing as willing suspension of disbelief brought on by sheer outlandish charm, and that's what [Alan] Bradley and some delicious writing have tapped." —London Free Press• "Flavia de Luce [is] one of the most original and charming sleuths to appear in recent memory." —Quill & Quire• "Flavia, on the page, remains one of the most original and endearing characters around." —Calgary Herald• "Utterly beguiling." —People• "Flavia walks right off the page and follows me through my day. I can hardly wait for the next book. Bravo." —Louise Penny, acclaimed author of Still Life