Friday, February 20, 2015

Flavia Saves the Day!

Did you ever spend moments of childhood imagining you were a great detective on the verge of solving a notorious crime and delivering justice to all involved?

Do you enjoy mysteries? Nostalgia? Kid geniuses? Quaint English villages?

Do you enjoy picking through the clues as you read, in an attempt to discern the true from the red herrings?

Do you appreciate scientific evidence combined with literature, art, music, hymnody, political intrigue and social mores?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, I urge you to get a hold of one of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce mysteries, ASAP!

One of the sanity saving devices I have for making it through the bitter temps of winter is my public library's electronic book lending program. From the warmth and comfort of my own home, I have been checking out and downloading books straight to my computer and on to my Nook. It's a miraculous godsend when the howling winds come biting! I have read my way through Alan Bradley's series of novels in precisely that way the past few weeks.

Bradley's Flavia series takes place, mainly, in Bishop's Lacey, England in the early 1950's. Flavia is the youngest daughter of Col. Haviland de Luce, a free-spirited girl with a penchant for chemistry and a well-stocked laboratory to back her passion. The girl is a genius. And the adults in her world, for the most part, adore her precocious nature. (Her sisters, however, are another story.)

Flavia finds herself in the company of a dead body at some point in each book. Through clever sleuthing and an eye for detail, Flavia (always a few steps ahead of the local police) helps to piece together the details of the crime and catch the villain.

There are many wonderful things about this series in my opinion. Here are my reasons, in no particular order: first, the books are hard to put down. Bradley keeps readers turning pages as quickly as Flavia cycles around the countryside on Gladys, her faithful bicycle. Secondly, as the series progresses, Bradley's writing is consistently good. I never seem to tire of the characters, nor of watching Flavia grow and relationships blossom. Thirdly, the books are quick reads. Finally, Bradley's Flavia makes me laugh out loud sometimes. That makes the books such a delight to read!

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