Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d: A Flavia de Luce Novel

Written by Alan Bradley
Review by Susan McDuffie

England, 1950s: Flavia de Luce returns from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, in Canada, to her family home in England. She looks forward to a reunion with her father, her sisters, Feely and Daffy, and the intrepid and dependable Dogger. But bad news greets Flavia at the pier, and she learns worse news on her return to Buckshaw. Flavia’s father is hospitalized with pneumonia, and Esmeralda, Flavia’s pet chicken, has suffered a horrid fate. However, this bleak English winter is livened up by Flavia’s discovery of Mr. Sambridge’s corpse. She finds the eccentric local woodcarver hanging upside down on his bedroom door, quite definitely dead, strapped to a strange carved contraption. The only witness is a tortoiseshell cat; amidst the clues are some volumes of children’s poetry on the bedroom bookshelf. Flavia investigates while in the midst of coping with her father’s illness. Her sleuthing leads her to the world of publishing, London teahouses, and the long held midwinter traditions of her English village.

Our little Flavia is growing up, no longer the hoyden who put poison ivy in her sister’s lipstick. Like the theobromine found in chocolate, with which Flavia at times experiments, a Flavia de Luce mystery is a bitter, dark, and thoroughly scrumptious treat. In this book we see a more mature Flavia, who at times surprises even herself. Highly recommended; don’t miss this!