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Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: A Flavia de Luce Novel    by Alan Bradley order for
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
by Alan Bradley
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Alan Bradley has set the bar so high with this series featuring the irrepressible Flavia de Luce that when he stumbles a bit, his many fans are taken a bit by surprise. If you follow baseball you know it isn't really possible to hit a home run every time you step up to the plate and the same holds true for writers too.

Bradley has a remarkable batting average and has had more than his fair share of best sellers that sailed over the fence so I'll cut him a little slack if this latest novel is just a double or perhaps a triple. It is still an entertaining read and, as usual, Flavia is worth the price of admission no matter what sleuthing task is set before her.

Back from her short adventure in Canada at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, the twelve-year-old finds her homecoming isn't as happy as she might have hoped. Her father is very ill, her two sisters are still a challenge, plus the addition of a cousin now living at Buckshaw is also a trial.

Of course, it doesn't take Flavia long to stumble upon the corpse of a local wood carver which launches her on another of her investigations. And, as we know, this young amateur detective never shies away from the unsavory aspects of life. In fact, just the opposite!

Upon her discovery Flavia tells us that for her finding a dead body is anything but dreadful. 'On the contrary,' she observes. 'It was exciting; it was exhilarating, it was invigorating; to say nothing of electrifying and above all, satisfying ... murder made me feel so gloriously alive.'

We'll meet some more of the local inhabitants of Bishop's Lacey plus some of the regulars, such as the local vicar's wife and Police Inspector Hewitt but, as usual, the focus is on the residents of Buckshaw.

Although the case Flavia tackles isn't as compelling as some that have gone before it, the young heroine still unquestionably holds our attention and her personality and commentary are what make this series so enjoyable and fun to read.

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