Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun trip with these characters
Cons: Usual pacing issues
The Bottom Line:
Finger and letters
Open Flavia’s latest
Which is fun visit
The Curious Case of the Clue in the Cake
The last couple of books in the Flavia de Luce series have been rather somber, so I was ready for Flavia’s life and the series to return to the lighter tone some of the earlier books had. That’s exactly what we get with The Golden Tresses of the Dead, and I really enjoyed it.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure yet, Flavia is a young chemist who has a special affinity for poison. And she manages to find herself involved in one mystery after another in her small English village. This book takes place in the fall of 1952, and Flavia herself is now thirteen. It’s a unique choice for a series aimed at adults, but it works.
The day has finally arrived – Flavia’s oldest sister is getting married. Considering how rocky her romantic life has been over the years, this is a bit surprising. The wedding is beautiful, but when the newlyweds go to cut the cake, they find a finger in the cake. How did it get there? Who did it belong to?
Before Flavia can really dig into this case, she and Dogger get their first client for their new Arthur W. Dogger and Associates Discreet Investigations. A local woman has come in asking them to find some missing letters that would be damaging to her father if they got out. Only Dogger isn’t so certain that their client’s story is true. What is really going on?
Since this is the tenth book in the series, we are very invested in these characters, and that also means the wedding. Those new to the series might find the first chapter boring, but I was loving it. Heck, since the last book took place away from Flavia’s village of Bishop’s Lacey, it was fantastic to be spending time with all the series regulars again. I’ve come to really love all of them, and the smiles I got when Flavia spent time with so many of them was proof of that. The exception continues to be Undine, Flavia’s young cousin. She continues to be the most uneven character in the series. I get that she is supposed to be as annoying to Flavia as Flavia is to her sisters, but still, I find her over the top at times. Yet that is more tempered here than in previous books, so I’m hoping she grows some in future books.
The plot? It’s strong, although it does get sidetracked at times with Flavia’s soliloquies on chemistry and poison and her musings on life in general. I didn’t find them any worse than other books in the series, so if you enjoy the series, you know what to expect. The solution is a bit over the top, but it worked for me. The suspects are all strong and add to the fun of the story.
I continue to listen to this series, and if you haven’t experienced Jayne Entwistle’s excellent narration, you are missing out. I’m not sure I could read one of the books. I certainly couldn’t do it without hearing Jayne’s voice in my head. She brings the story to life with so much joy and fun that they make these books so much more delightful.
Fans will be happy to revisit Flavia and the rest of the cast in The Golden Tresses of the Dead. If you haven’t found this unique character yet, you owe it to yourself to give her a chance to win your heart.
You'll want to check out all of the Flavia de Luce Mysteries.