Review: As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

as-chimney-sweepers-come-to-dust“Flavia de Luce: part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (The New York Times Book Review) takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.

Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.
No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.” – Publisher Summary/Goodreads

Flavia de Luce has been cast out of her beloved Buckshaw and sent away on a ship to a cold and unwelcoming Canadian boarding school.

“’Banished!’ the wild wind shrieked as it tore at my face.

‘Banished!’ the savage waves roared as they drenched me with freezing water.

‘Banished!’ they howled. ‘Banished!’”

Miss Bodycotes Female Academy – also the alma mater of Flavia’s late mother, Harriet – is no ordinary boarding school. Beneath its façade, Miss Bodycote’s has been training young women for nearly half a century to serve in a mysterious agency known only as The Nide. Aunt Felicity has made it clear that this is Flavia’s legacy, as well. Yet when she arrives, no one will speak of it or tell her anything – about anything! The only plus that Flavia can see is that her idol, the poisonous murderess Mildred Bannerman will be her chemistry teacher.

A Flavia de Luce novel would be nothing without a corpse, and one arrives quickly in the form of a skeleton wrapped in a Union Jack flag, dropping out of the chimney in Flavia’s room on her first night at Miss Bodycote’s. Instantly, the hunt is on as Flavia pockets a clue and begins investigating. Meanwhile, Flavia is also roped into searching out the answer to why certain girls at the Academy have been going missing over the years. Plenty of mystery here in Canada for our dear Flavia!

I was concerned about this novel, before reading it, because of my fondness for Buckshaw and the standard cast of characters I’ve come to know and love – but not to worry, y’all. There is plenty of mystery, suspense, fresh blood, personality, and fun to go around here at Miss Bodycote’s! Things are a tad disjointed at times because of the new setting and characters, but that Flavia de Luce magic is present in full force – and who can fight this girl’s quirks, charms, and personality? Not I, folks, not I.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley, the seventh installment in the Flavia de Luce series, is yet another shining star to add to the constellation of beloved novels Bradley has gifted us with over the last several years. Run, don’t walk, to grab this read for yourself.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley: At a bookseller near you on January 6, 2015!

4 stars

Source: Delacorte Press {via NetGalley}

 

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