Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd - A Flavia de Luce Novel

By Alan Bradley

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ellen hinrichs
Flavia is growing up, and realizing that life does not revolve around her chemistry experiments and murders. Fans of Winnie the Pooh may be thrilled or horrified by the brief verses penned by Oliver Inchstead, a dead author who turns out to have been a bad father. Flavia is surrounded by friends new and old, as she sleuths old disappearances and fresh death. The book ends with a stunning development, promising more Flavia to come.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
mustafa wemoun
Tried this out because the synopsis looked intriguing. It's a mystery novel, and I found the story eventually revealed to be too complex to be credible, and it was also rather hard for the reader to anticipate any aspects of it (which is one of the reasons some people read these). I won't be reading any more by this author.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kowsar
Man... I love this series, but I was disappointed by this book. Bradley has apparently decided Flavia needs to mellow and mature. That may be realistic for an aging protagonist (though really, nobody I know was so self-consciously restrained at her age), but the main draw of the series for me has always been Flavia's quirky exuberance, and the adolescent brooding that Bradley has now introduced is a poor substitute.

Aside from that, I found the mystery in this book, and the eventual solution, hard to follow and sometimes poorly explained. I often feel like Bradley doesn't give the reader enough information to work things out as Flavia does. That's fine by me--I don't need to solve everything myself. But I do expect to understand the solution and see how the sleuth got there when it all comes out, and here that never happened. I get the main gist of what happened, but am still quite fuzzy around the edges.

Bradley is a delightful writer, and there were still many parts of this book that I liked. But I'm not particularly interested in watching one of my favorite mystery characters of all time get progressively duller and sadder. I hope Bradley will have her snap out of it in the next book, but I admit I'm not particularly optimistic.
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place - A Flavia de Luce Novel :: A Flavia De Luce Novel (Flavia De Luce Mystery) - As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust :: From the Ashes (Ravenwood Mysteries Book 1) :: The Secrets of Wishtide (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery) :: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag - A Flavia de Luce Novel
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jahnelle
Flavia is still Flavia however she is aging mentally and dealing with it. One could also include her sisters and the local police inspector with learning how to deal with them. There is also the usual convoluted murder with a most interesting set of characters.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
thaddeus mccollum
To avoid a spoiler I'll just say that I guessed what the so-called "cliffhanger" ending would be and I was right. But more than that, it was the drop of a guillotine; I turned the page,expecting more, and there was Alan Bradley's Dedication.

I agree with my fellow reviewers who wrote that they enjoy the Flavia books for the interplay between the regular characters and we see so little of them in BRINDED CAT. I particularly missed Dogger.

I also felt that it lacked the enchantment and creativity of the earlier entries. (Well, let us acknowledge the unusual method of death by being hung upside down on a bedroom door!) However, I respect that an author gets tired of writing the same thing over and over and has the right to do as they please with their characters. I just won't be pouncing the next Flavia de Luce mystery the instant its available.

Fortunately, we have the earlier books to go back and enjoy!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katy punch
Flavia's character remains intriguing, thoughtful, and complex. Flavia's thoughts are the real story-other characters and situation, however quirky and complicated, are the backdrop to the story's high points and tragedies.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joe rubel
I always enjoy Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce novels. He makes Flavia quite funny and a likable personality. He keeps things mysterious for a long time. I have difficulties, usually, figuring out "who done it."
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elinor
This is another series that I have enjoyed since first listening to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie as an audible book. Flavia de Luce is a delightful character, along with her stalwart companion/bicycle Gladys. If you are not familiar with Alan Bradley's series, I highly recommend all of them. I am unsure how this book would be as a "stand alone" as much of the familiarity with the characters comes from reading the series as a whole.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tone
Whether or not you enjoy this latest installment of the Flavia de Luce novels is going to depend on whether you read them for the plotted mystery in each book or if you read them simply for the enjoyment of Flavia herself. If you read them looking for sophisticated mystery plots, you'll likely be disappointed. But if you're like me and fall into the latter category, you'll love this new installment.

Flavia is back home at Buckshaw and the town of Bishop's Lacy where she belongs! After a short foray over to Canada in the last novel, our favorite girl detective is home and all of my beloved peripheral characters are back in force (with one notable exception, but no spoilers). It probably goes without saying that of course Flavia stumbles upon a corpse and a mystery ensues. I long ago stopped expecting great mystery plots in these novels and just learned to enjoy Flavia, one of the most quotable characters in literature today. And Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd serves up Flavia-observations in spades. Our young protagonist never seems to age but she does indeed mature. And she'll need all the maturity she can summon for the next book....Bradley delivered quite the cliff hanger once again.

If you haven't read this series yet, start at the beginning please. These books fall in the "cozy mystery" sub-genre and are one of the cutest series to be published in a long, long time. Highly recommended.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
patty melin
I feel a bit cheated when an author "copies and pastes" whole passages repeatedly. It feels like an easy filler tactic so less creativity is required. And sadly, after much anticipation to learn how Flavia succeeded being away from home at her mother's alma mater, we learned her Canadian adventure was over almost immediately. And from that point on everything was, also sadly, fairly predictable.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
alexee schrantz
I think Alan Bradley has lost his steam on this one! This leads me to believe that this is the last we will hear of poor Flavia.
Hope not, but is Mr. Bradley instead concentrating on the proposed new Flavia TV series?
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
tiffany wightman
Still struggling to finish this book. No humor to this one like the previous books in the series. Too bad...I enjoyed the other books, but will not continue with this series if this is the new style.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
alex tell
I LOVED THIS BOOK (AS USUAL), BUT I WAS DISAPOINTED BY THE ENDING. I WISH FLAVIA HAD GOTTEN TO SPEAK TO HER FATHER BEFORE HE PASSED AWAY. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW HIS DEATH AFFECTS HER IN THE NEXT EPISODE. I WILL BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO BUY THE BOOK.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
anthony
The original book in the series was delightful. However, the endearing charm and youthfulness of Flavia has eroded steadily through the sequels. The previous book (Flavia goes to Canada) was a clear dud. This current Brinded Cat volume has slumped even more into the unacceptable range for me. The first quarter of the book seemed more intent on spouting quotes from Shakespeare and English children's book authors than in rekindling the Flavia of old. No witty repartee with her sisters. I quit reading at this point, I was so bored. Won't be buying any succeeding installments of this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mahmodology
Another terrific volume in the story of Flavia and her wacky post-war England world. Just back from her exile in Canada, Flavia has matured in the course of the year, and is expecting certain improvements in the state of the family homestead of Buckshaw. It won't be surprising to Flavia fans to hear that she is disappointed on arrival. But Flavia, as always, plays through her pain and is at her best as she does so.

Bradley has crafted a masterfully subtle progression of Flavia's development. Having spend a year interacting with non-family members beyond her small town, one would expect her perspective to have shifted, which it has significantly, only to be clothes-lined by the reality of living with her sisters again. But some progress is permanent: she shows signs of controlling her tongue on occasion, a growing a sense of compassion, occasionally she's even appreciative of her sister Daffy. She's still delightfully naive in some areas, and just as scientifically and investigatorily precocious as ever.

Having been such an avid fan, it's inevitable that I'd pick out the odd small inconsistency or repetition in reading this eighth installment. I was most bothered by a point of discovery that sees to be glossed over entirely during the unfolding of the case. However, overall, it is still an exquisite read, and I thank Alan Bradley from the bottom of my highly amused heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
nicolas tsamis
I have been accused of revealing too much when I review one of Alan Bradley's books, because he packs so much into the first ten pages that someone reading the review would assume the reviewer had just given away every precious detail. My warning is this: nothing I say as part of the synopsis comes from anything past page 30. If you read that as a spoiler alert, so be it.

In THRICE THE BRINDLED CAT HATH MEW'D, Flavia returns (banished) from Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada. Dogger, her father's faithful manservant and closest friend from the war, awaits with bad news: Father is in the hospital, gravely ill, with pneumonia. When she rides her faithful bicycle (Gladys) to visit the vicar's wife, Flavia is sent on an errand and discovers a dead body. And so the 8th book of Bradley's series begins.

If you've not read the first seven, I urge you to do so before embarking on the 8th. The background, history, character interactions, murder, mayhem and fun in the prior books make this book all the more enticing.

What's great about THRICE THE BRINDLED CAT HATH MEW'D? Here's the top ten list.

10. Alan Bradley gets better and better. The first book was a delight, but over the course of the series he has added so many layers of personalities and past histories and relationships and disasters. This, I think, is a much denser book than the first.

9. Flavia finally has some friends. As an incredibly smart and perceptive adult-in-a-child's-body, this has been a challenge.

8. Another bizarre death for Flavia to (secretly) investigate, hopefully leaving no telltale signs that she has again done some forensic investigating on her own.

7. You'll learn some chemistry. And it will be painless.

6. Trouble in paradise. Flavia's sister and her fiance, the German pilot who was so in love with English literature that he was captured because he did a flyover of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's home, are not the blissful couple they were when Flavia left for Canada. What's going on??

5. Flavia's character. She's a precocious chemist (who inherited her chemist talents and lab from her long deceased Uncle Tar). As the youngest of three daughters, she is in a constant battle with her two older sisters. Though her mother Harriet died when Flavia was just a baby, she has much of her mother in her. She lives to discover and investigate murders... and torment her sisters.

4. Flavia might have a plan to save her beloved Buckshaw, a rambling estate deep in arrears on taxes and upkeep.

3. Antlers as a weapon of destruction.

2. Flavia's bending of the truth and impersonations would put Kinsey Millhone to shame.

1. There's another Flavia book in the works.

Thank you, Alan Bradley.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kate young
Poor Flavia! She's becoming a victim of emotional child abuse. Nobody but Dogger, the vicar's wife and her oldest sister's boyfriends seems to take the slightest interest in her. Nobody welcomes her home, takes her to see her father, even seems to care if she exists! Where is her aunt if her father's so ill? Doesn't she or her sisters ever go to school? I figured out most of the mystery of the story long before Flavia did, although the mysteries have never been the draw of these stories. I had always enjoyed the stories of the plucky, precocious little girl with a joy for life and chemistry. But with the last three stories, it seems all the joy is being squeezed out of her life, and she is being left in a dark, unhappy, unkind world. It's only Dogger, who's emotionally crippled himself, who seems to love and encourage her. I'll probably read the next book just to see what happens to the poor girl, but if the descent into darkness continues, I'll be opting out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brendab
Okay, hands up if you've been waiting (and not patiently) for the next entry in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. Well, the wait is over - the eighth book - Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd has just released. I've devoured it and will be waiting (and not patiently) for the ninth book in this absolutely wonderful series.

Early 1950's. Twelve year old Flavia has been drummed out of Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada and sent packing back to England. She arrives home in time for the Christmas holidays, but much has changed in the few short months she's been gone. But what hasn't changed is Flavia's penchant for finding dead bodies. Or should I say that the bodies find Flavia? On an innocent errand for the vicar's wife, Flavia stumbles across yet another. And her reaction?

"It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one's spirits."

I'm drawn to the time period, the crumbling mansion the de Luces live in, the small village of Bishop's Lacey, the quirky inhabitants of the village, the characters and the whole idea of a very clever amateur girl detective.

A younger cousin has been introduced in the storylines of the last two books. I'm not completely sure yet how I feel about her (and either is Flavia), but Undine is beginning to grow on me. The enigmatic family retainer, Dogger, is my favourite supporting character, turning up at just the right moment with just the right (or no) words. He sees past the clever front Flavia presents, to the sometimes lonely little girl often left to her own devices. (Did I mention the chemistry lab in the moldering east wing? Flavia is quite adept at poisons....)

Lonely enough that her best friend is Gladys - her bicycle. Flavia often attributes her own feelings and thoughts to Gladys.

"Gladys gave a little squeak of delight. She loved coasting as much as I did, and if there was no one in sight, I might even put my feet up on her handlebars: a bit of bicycle artistry that she loved even more than ordinary free-wheeling."

"Gladys loved to pretend she was being abducted. She was being amusing, I knew, and because it helped pass the time until we reached the road, I did not discourage her."

I enjoy the mysteries that Bradley concocts and this one is fairly complex - woodcarvers, witches, childhood storybooks and more, but it is Flavia that's the main event for me. I love her mind, her deductions and her outlook on life:

"Life with my sister Daffy had taught me that you could tell as much about people by their books as you could by snooping through their diaries - a practice of which I am exceedingly fond and, I must confess, especially adept."

"Thanks to my Girl Guide training, I was able to bluff convincingly when required. All those wet and windy Wednesday evenings spent in cold, drafty parish halls were paying off at last."

"There is an art to staging a convincing accident. It is not as easy as you may think - particularly on short notice. First and foremost, it must look completely natural and spontaneous. Secondly, there must be nothing comical about it, since comedy saps sympathy."

I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book." I always wanted to be a detective (like Nancy Drew or Harriet the Spy) when I was younger. In Flavia I get to imagine it all over again.

"The world can be an interesting place to a girl who keeps her ears open."

The mystery is solved by the final pages, (and really with Flavia on the case, was there ever any doubt?) and the door has been left open (a bit of a shocking ending really) for the next entry in this series. Each entry in this series answers question, but (happily for this reader) leaves just as many unanswered.

The titles for Bradley's novels are always curiously interesting. This latest, if you've not already recognized it, is a line from the witch's scene in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Double, double, toil and trouble......
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bill l
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
ISBN: 9780345539960
(Hardcover & Kindle versions available beginning September 20, 2016)

Our precocious young sleuth, Flavia de Luce, is at it again. She lives in Buckshaw, a fading manor house, in the British village of Bishop’s Lacey with her father, two sisters, and, this time, cousin Undine. The cook, Mrs. Mullet and her father’s handyman, Dogger make up the rest of the residents of Buckshaw. Her favorite spot in the huge, drafty house is her great-uncle Tarquin de Luce’s laboratory where she has acquired a prodigious knowledge of chemistry.

Things get off to a quick start. In the very first chapter, Flavia discovers a body in an empty house. The rest of the book involves her sleuthing — Who is it? Why there? How did he die? Whodunit? Flavia and her trusty bicycle, Gladys, are off on another adventure that has her interacting with the local police constable, traveling by rail to London, interviewing odd new people, and knitting facts, rumors, and suspicions together to solve the many puzzles involved.

Part of the charm of the Flavia de Luce series is the fact that Alan Bradley has set them in the early 1950s - aeroplanes, motor cars, and no electronics. The book’s title is taken from the Double, Double, Toil and Trouble poem in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It fits Flavia’s personality and moodiness. She is relentlessly inquisitive. She never could be a successful sleuth without her penchant to snoop and ask embarrassingly direct questions.

This is the eighth book in the Flavia series. I’ve read ‘em all and enjoyed every one. What Flavia knows and the depth of her reasoning requires some suspension of reality but she’s such an engaging character none of that matters. These little gems are such fun. Read just one and if you enjoy it, you’ll become as hooked as I am.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
emma mekinda
I am so disappointed in this dark, depressing book.

I have been a big fan of the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley. After reading "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", I was hooked. I loved the feisty prodigy and her portrayal by Jayne Entwistle was spot on. I have listened to all 7 and while not every one was as good as the first, at least I could say they were good.

With this latest book, I can say it was not good. It deals with the subject of child abuse. And this is a tricky subject to handle well. It has been apparent from the start that Flavia is able to overcome her dysfunctional family by dint of her unique personality and her superior intelligence. But this book is so disconnected, the story line so dark, frightening, and horrific, the resolution so incomplete, the writing so uneven, and the reader so unself-aware and far removed from the realities around her, that I cannot recommend it. Here you have a child taking care of all the dysfunctional adults around her. It made me sad and depressed to have lived through the book. The writing is at times very good. At others, I felt the author was told to pad the text by adding strings of cliques all saying the same thing. Or maybe he could not choose the best among different similes. But to leave so many plot lines incomplete, to leave Flavia in such a sad, lonely, and hopeless place is just not acceptable. I cannot imagine what was going on in the author's mind. If he wants us to understand child abuse at a visceral, realistic level, he has succeeded. Still, it does not make for a pleasant listening experience.

One would wish for a happier outcome for our heroine or even some resolution to this the horrors we the listeners have endured. But Mr. Bradley has decided not to give us even those few crumbs.

I have now put this series in my "do not go there" again list.
You are the author of this review
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
julie watanabe
If you haven’t read one of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels previously, I don’t recommend that you start with this one. While it is a complete story in itself, there are a lot of references to earlier ones in the series which you should read in order.
That being said, when THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D opens, Flavia is returning to her home, Buckshaw, in England, from her forced stay in Canada. She expects a huge greeting at the train station. Instead, she is met by only Dogger, her father’s friend and factotum. He tells her that her father is hospitalized with a severe case of bacterial pneumonia and everyone else in the household, her sisters, cousin, and cook, are with him. Unfortunately, before she can get to see him, his condition worsens and the doctor says he cannot have any visitors.
She is a bit older and wiser and in for quite a change. She is very much aware of how much she has grown as well as apprehensive about her future: Referring to her cousin Undine while trying to get away from her, Flavia explains, “Because she was still a child–whereas I was twelve, and much more knowledgeable about the ways of the world....” She is uncertain about her future because she is uncertain about her present: “I want to know who I am before it is too late–before I am no longer the same person–before I become someone different. Although there are days when this seems a furious race against time, there are others when it seems to matter not a tinker’s curse.”
Flavia rides Gladys, her trusty bicycle, to visit a friend and is asked to deliver a message on her way home. When she gets to the house, no one answers the door, but it isn’t locked and so she enters. She soon discovers the body of a man hanging upside down on the door frame of his room.
As is her wont, she uses her deduction and chemistry abilities to try to learn who he was and the circumstances of his death. Comparing crime solving in the real and fictional worlds, she observes “Brains, in reality, do not go clickety-clickety-clickety-click from A to B to C to D and so forth, rushing forth, rushing like a train along the rails, until at the end, with a happy “Toot-toot!” they arrive at their destination, Z, and the case is suddenly solved.
In the process, she tries to get information before the police and meets several rather unusual people in some unusual circumstances and learns some contradictory information.
Bradley has a wonderful way with words to observe both the world and Flavia’s own personality. The story takes place in late December and, while riding Gladys in perilous road conditions, he notes: “The wind was still well-up, polishing the icy road to the glossy sheen of black crystal.”
Flavia is an intelligent, serious child (though she would hate being called a child). Her social skills are limited, not surprising considering her upbringing, but she knows how to use them to get what she needs. In one case, she engages in small talk, describing it as “...prattling on about the stupid weather in some godforsaken corner of the ocean simply in order to give artificial respiration to a dying conversation?”
Among her observations are “Clowns...are placed on earth solely to fill the needs of others, while running perilously close to ‘Empty’ themselves.” A pet peeve is described as: “People who turn pages with licked fingers area as bad as those who wipe their noses on the table linens.”
THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D has more repetition than the previous books and less interaction with some of the other characters. The situation seems to be forced at times. The way the family accepts the fact that they cannot visit her father and that they continue to treat her the way they did before she went to Canada seems a bit much.
The end of the book promises a great deal of change in the future. Everyone will be forced to change. How they do so is the question: “When you come right down to it, we are each of us our own creation.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
andrew haskins
This is the 8th in the Flavia De Luce series of cozy mysteries. Since there is a very strong overall story arc to this series the books should be read in order as much as possible, beginning with THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE.

As this novel opens Flavia has managed to arrange the of her exile to a Canadian boarding school and is eagerly awaiting the warm welcome she knows will await her when her ship lands. She should have known that her family was not given to such displays so expected that only Dogger would be there to greet her. When Flavia learned that her father had been hospitalized with pneumonia her disappointment was replaced with concern. If her father was ill enough to be hospitalized might he too die leaving 12 year old Flavia an orphan? She knew that she would not rest easily until she could see him for herself and so was even more impatient for the long train rides needed to reach Bishop's Lacey to end.

Even after she returned home, to the disappointing welcome from her sisters, Flavia found that she was still kept from visiting her father because he was deemed too weak to be disturbed. In typical Flavia style though she soon filled her time by finding a dead body. As she went into detective mode, carefully making many observations before reporting her discovery. Aided by various members of the community, often without their knowledge, Flavia manages to ferret out the truth and bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately her more personal issues do not end so happily.

Throughout this series there is an intriguing feeling of something being just a bit 'off'. The de Luce's are certainly a dysfunctional family but that is more the norm than the exception in either detective fiction or stories involving children. There is usually some alluded to sad back story, or a lonely, often orphaned or semi orphaned, child who has too little supervision to keep them out of harm's way. In these stories though there seem to be some more deep dark secrets that have not yet been revealed. Were there more to Flavia's parents than she knows? Are there others around her withholding secrets from her? And since the only point of view we have been given so far is Flavia's are the answers just out of her reach or within her?

This is an excellent series, and even though this is not the funniest or most charming of the stories it does move the over all story arc forward and so, should not be missed.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
margeaux
Twelve-year-old, super-sleuth and genius, Flavia de Luce is back in England after attending school in Canada, only to find that her father has been hospitalized with pneumonia. While visiting her friend, Flavia is asked to deliver a note to the local carver, Roger Sambridge. The task quickly turns ghastly when she finds Roger’s body pinned upside down to the back of a door.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is the 8th installment in this cozy series, although the first one I’ve read. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the upside, I love the author’s sophisticated, eloquent use of language. It’s far above the simple, grade-five sentence structure and word usage produced in bulk these days. The descriptions of landscapes and people are terrific, and the frequent and varied references to chemistry were interesting.

My main issue is with Flavia. As hard as I tried to suspend disbelief, her thought process, language development, and eccentricity was simply too farfetched. For example, she literally stands on her head so she can get a close look at the victim’s face. In fact, she examines as much of him as she can before calling the police. This from a twelve-year-old—even a smart one—had me shaking my head. Others might find it funny, but for me it was kind of creepy.

I wanted to give the book a five-star rating for the descriptive, rhythmic language, yet a two-star rating for character development, so I settled on three. Certainly, the book wasn’t a waste of time, and fans of British cozies, set in the aftermath of WWII will likely enjoy the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
charlotte
Classic Flavia, back from her banishment to Canada with a vengeance. For fans of Flavia, there’s much to relish. Bradley does an admirable job of squeezing out every last ounce of enjoyment from the exuberant, precocious Flavia fans have come to know and love, including wonderful scenes of communion with her beloved bicycle Gladys.

And it’s a good thing too, because Flavia is, after all, growing up. By the end of the book, it’s clear that should Flavia return in a new adventure (as her fans undoubtedly hope she will), she will be different in some important ways.

As this latest installment charts Flavia’s continuing transmogrification from young girl to young woman, navigating her way through often confusing emotions and situations, where even familiar old settings can feel suddenly infused with new and confusing layers of meaning, there are a few tantalizing glimpses along the way of what that young adult Flavia might be like. As usual with Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, it leaves the reader hungry for more.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
doruk
Poor Flavia! She's becoming a victim of emotional child abuse. Nobody but Dogger, the vicar's wife and her oldest sister's boyfriends seems to take the slightest interest in her. Nobody welcomes her home, takes her to see her father, even seems to care if she exists! Where is her aunt if her father's so ill? Doesn't she or her sisters ever go to school? I figured out most of the mystery of the story long before Flavia did, although the mysteries have never been the draw of these stories. I had always enjoyed the stories of the plucky, precocious little girl with a joy for life and chemistry. But with the last three stories, it seems all the joy is being squeezed out of her life, and she is being left in a dark, unhappy, unkind world. It's only Dogger, who's emotionally crippled himself, who seems to love and encourage her. I'll probably read the next book just to see what happens to the poor girl, but if the descent into darkness continues, I'll be opting out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kosha
Okay, hands up if you've been waiting (and not patiently) for the next entry in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. Well, the wait is over - the eighth book - Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd has just released. I've devoured it and will be waiting (and not patiently) for the ninth book in this absolutely wonderful series.

Early 1950's. Twelve year old Flavia has been drummed out of Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada and sent packing back to England. She arrives home in time for the Christmas holidays, but much has changed in the few short months she's been gone. But what hasn't changed is Flavia's penchant for finding dead bodies. Or should I say that the bodies find Flavia? On an innocent errand for the vicar's wife, Flavia stumbles across yet another. And her reaction?

"It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one's spirits."

I'm drawn to the time period, the crumbling mansion the de Luces live in, the small village of Bishop's Lacey, the quirky inhabitants of the village, the characters and the whole idea of a very clever amateur girl detective.

A younger cousin has been introduced in the storylines of the last two books. I'm not completely sure yet how I feel about her (and either is Flavia), but Undine is beginning to grow on me. The enigmatic family retainer, Dogger, is my favourite supporting character, turning up at just the right moment with just the right (or no) words. He sees past the clever front Flavia presents, to the sometimes lonely little girl often left to her own devices. (Did I mention the chemistry lab in the moldering east wing? Flavia is quite adept at poisons....)

Lonely enough that her best friend is Gladys - her bicycle. Flavia often attributes her own feelings and thoughts to Gladys.

"Gladys gave a little squeak of delight. She loved coasting as much as I did, and if there was no one in sight, I might even put my feet up on her handlebars: a bit of bicycle artistry that she loved even more than ordinary free-wheeling."

"Gladys loved to pretend she was being abducted. She was being amusing, I knew, and because it helped pass the time until we reached the road, I did not discourage her."

I enjoy the mysteries that Bradley concocts and this one is fairly complex - woodcarvers, witches, childhood storybooks and more, but it is Flavia that's the main event for me. I love her mind, her deductions and her outlook on life:

"Life with my sister Daffy had taught me that you could tell as much about people by their books as you could by snooping through their diaries - a practice of which I am exceedingly fond and, I must confess, especially adept."

"Thanks to my Girl Guide training, I was able to bluff convincingly when required. All those wet and windy Wednesday evenings spent in cold, drafty parish halls were paying off at last."

"There is an art to staging a convincing accident. It is not as easy as you may think - particularly on short notice. First and foremost, it must look completely natural and spontaneous. Secondly, there must be nothing comical about it, since comedy saps sympathy."

I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book." I always wanted to be a detective (like Nancy Drew or Harriet the Spy) when I was younger. In Flavia I get to imagine it all over again.

"The world can be an interesting place to a girl who keeps her ears open."

The mystery is solved by the final pages, (and really with Flavia on the case, was there ever any doubt?) and the door has been left open (a bit of a shocking ending really) for the next entry in this series. Each entry in this series answers question, but (happily for this reader) leaves just as many unanswered.

The titles for Bradley's novels are always curiously interesting. This latest, if you've not already recognized it, is a line from the witch's scene in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Double, double, toil and trouble......
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shahad
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
ISBN: 9780345539960
(Hardcover & Kindle versions available beginning September 20, 2016)

Our precocious young sleuth, Flavia de Luce, is at it again. She lives in Buckshaw, a fading manor house, in the British village of Bishop’s Lacey with her father, two sisters, and, this time, cousin Undine. The cook, Mrs. Mullet and her father’s handyman, Dogger make up the rest of the residents of Buckshaw. Her favorite spot in the huge, drafty house is her great-uncle Tarquin de Luce’s laboratory where she has acquired a prodigious knowledge of chemistry.

Things get off to a quick start. In the very first chapter, Flavia discovers a body in an empty house. The rest of the book involves her sleuthing — Who is it? Why there? How did he die? Whodunit? Flavia and her trusty bicycle, Gladys, are off on another adventure that has her interacting with the local police constable, traveling by rail to London, interviewing odd new people, and knitting facts, rumors, and suspicions together to solve the many puzzles involved.

Part of the charm of the Flavia de Luce series is the fact that Alan Bradley has set them in the early 1950s - aeroplanes, motor cars, and no electronics. The book’s title is taken from the Double, Double, Toil and Trouble poem in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It fits Flavia’s personality and moodiness. She is relentlessly inquisitive. She never could be a successful sleuth without her penchant to snoop and ask embarrassingly direct questions.

This is the eighth book in the Flavia series. I’ve read ‘em all and enjoyed every one. What Flavia knows and the depth of her reasoning requires some suspension of reality but she’s such an engaging character none of that matters. These little gems are such fun. Read just one and if you enjoy it, you’ll become as hooked as I am.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
roman colombo
I am so disappointed in this dark, depressing book.

I have been a big fan of the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley. After reading "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", I was hooked. I loved the feisty prodigy and her portrayal by Jayne Entwistle was spot on. I have listened to all 7 and while not every one was as good as the first, at least I could say they were good.

With this latest book, I can say it was not good. It deals with the subject of child abuse. And this is a tricky subject to handle well. It has been apparent from the start that Flavia is able to overcome her dysfunctional family by dint of her unique personality and her superior intelligence. But this book is so disconnected, the story line so dark, frightening, and horrific, the resolution so incomplete, the writing so uneven, and the reader so unself-aware and far removed from the realities around her, that I cannot recommend it. Here you have a child taking care of all the dysfunctional adults around her. It made me sad and depressed to have lived through the book. The writing is at times very good. At others, I felt the author was told to pad the text by adding strings of cliques all saying the same thing. Or maybe he could not choose the best among different similes. But to leave so many plot lines incomplete, to leave Flavia in such a sad, lonely, and hopeless place is just not acceptable. I cannot imagine what was going on in the author's mind. If he wants us to understand child abuse at a visceral, realistic level, he has succeeded. Still, it does not make for a pleasant listening experience.

One would wish for a happier outcome for our heroine or even some resolution to this the horrors we the listeners have endured. But Mr. Bradley has decided not to give us even those few crumbs.

I have now put this series in my "do not go there" again list.
You are the author of this review
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
debbi gurley
If you haven’t read one of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels previously, I don’t recommend that you start with this one. While it is a complete story in itself, there are a lot of references to earlier ones in the series which you should read in order.
That being said, when THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D opens, Flavia is returning to her home, Buckshaw, in England, from her forced stay in Canada. She expects a huge greeting at the train station. Instead, she is met by only Dogger, her father’s friend and factotum. He tells her that her father is hospitalized with a severe case of bacterial pneumonia and everyone else in the household, her sisters, cousin, and cook, are with him. Unfortunately, before she can get to see him, his condition worsens and the doctor says he cannot have any visitors.
She is a bit older and wiser and in for quite a change. She is very much aware of how much she has grown as well as apprehensive about her future: Referring to her cousin Undine while trying to get away from her, Flavia explains, “Because she was still a child–whereas I was twelve, and much more knowledgeable about the ways of the world....” She is uncertain about her future because she is uncertain about her present: “I want to know who I am before it is too late–before I am no longer the same person–before I become someone different. Although there are days when this seems a furious race against time, there are others when it seems to matter not a tinker’s curse.”
Flavia rides Gladys, her trusty bicycle, to visit a friend and is asked to deliver a message on her way home. When she gets to the house, no one answers the door, but it isn’t locked and so she enters. She soon discovers the body of a man hanging upside down on the door frame of his room.
As is her wont, she uses her deduction and chemistry abilities to try to learn who he was and the circumstances of his death. Comparing crime solving in the real and fictional worlds, she observes “Brains, in reality, do not go clickety-clickety-clickety-click from A to B to C to D and so forth, rushing forth, rushing like a train along the rails, until at the end, with a happy “Toot-toot!” they arrive at their destination, Z, and the case is suddenly solved.
In the process, she tries to get information before the police and meets several rather unusual people in some unusual circumstances and learns some contradictory information.
Bradley has a wonderful way with words to observe both the world and Flavia’s own personality. The story takes place in late December and, while riding Gladys in perilous road conditions, he notes: “The wind was still well-up, polishing the icy road to the glossy sheen of black crystal.”
Flavia is an intelligent, serious child (though she would hate being called a child). Her social skills are limited, not surprising considering her upbringing, but she knows how to use them to get what she needs. In one case, she engages in small talk, describing it as “...prattling on about the stupid weather in some godforsaken corner of the ocean simply in order to give artificial respiration to a dying conversation?”
Among her observations are “Clowns...are placed on earth solely to fill the needs of others, while running perilously close to ‘Empty’ themselves.” A pet peeve is described as: “People who turn pages with licked fingers area as bad as those who wipe their noses on the table linens.”
THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D has more repetition than the previous books and less interaction with some of the other characters. The situation seems to be forced at times. The way the family accepts the fact that they cannot visit her father and that they continue to treat her the way they did before she went to Canada seems a bit much.
The end of the book promises a great deal of change in the future. Everyone will be forced to change. How they do so is the question: “When you come right down to it, we are each of us our own creation.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wave
This is the 8th in the Flavia De Luce series of cozy mysteries. Since there is a very strong overall story arc to this series the books should be read in order as much as possible, beginning with THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE.

As this novel opens Flavia has managed to arrange the of her exile to a Canadian boarding school and is eagerly awaiting the warm welcome she knows will await her when her ship lands. She should have known that her family was not given to such displays so expected that only Dogger would be there to greet her. When Flavia learned that her father had been hospitalized with pneumonia her disappointment was replaced with concern. If her father was ill enough to be hospitalized might he too die leaving 12 year old Flavia an orphan? She knew that she would not rest easily until she could see him for herself and so was even more impatient for the long train rides needed to reach Bishop's Lacey to end.

Even after she returned home, to the disappointing welcome from her sisters, Flavia found that she was still kept from visiting her father because he was deemed too weak to be disturbed. In typical Flavia style though she soon filled her time by finding a dead body. As she went into detective mode, carefully making many observations before reporting her discovery. Aided by various members of the community, often without their knowledge, Flavia manages to ferret out the truth and bring the case to a satisfactory conclusion. Unfortunately her more personal issues do not end so happily.

Throughout this series there is an intriguing feeling of something being just a bit 'off'. The de Luce's are certainly a dysfunctional family but that is more the norm than the exception in either detective fiction or stories involving children. There is usually some alluded to sad back story, or a lonely, often orphaned or semi orphaned, child who has too little supervision to keep them out of harm's way. In these stories though there seem to be some more deep dark secrets that have not yet been revealed. Were there more to Flavia's parents than she knows? Are there others around her withholding secrets from her? And since the only point of view we have been given so far is Flavia's are the answers just out of her reach or within her?

This is an excellent series, and even though this is not the funniest or most charming of the stories it does move the over all story arc forward and so, should not be missed.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lisa dale
Twelve-year-old, super-sleuth and genius, Flavia de Luce is back in England after attending school in Canada, only to find that her father has been hospitalized with pneumonia. While visiting her friend, Flavia is asked to deliver a note to the local carver, Roger Sambridge. The task quickly turns ghastly when she finds Roger’s body pinned upside down to the back of a door.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is the 8th installment in this cozy series, although the first one I’ve read. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the upside, I love the author’s sophisticated, eloquent use of language. It’s far above the simple, grade-five sentence structure and word usage produced in bulk these days. The descriptions of landscapes and people are terrific, and the frequent and varied references to chemistry were interesting.

My main issue is with Flavia. As hard as I tried to suspend disbelief, her thought process, language development, and eccentricity was simply too farfetched. For example, she literally stands on her head so she can get a close look at the victim’s face. In fact, she examines as much of him as she can before calling the police. This from a twelve-year-old—even a smart one—had me shaking my head. Others might find it funny, but for me it was kind of creepy.

I wanted to give the book a five-star rating for the descriptive, rhythmic language, yet a two-star rating for character development, so I settled on three. Certainly, the book wasn’t a waste of time, and fans of British cozies, set in the aftermath of WWII will likely enjoy the series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kaleena carroll
Classic Flavia, back from her banishment to Canada with a vengeance. For fans of Flavia, there’s much to relish. Bradley does an admirable job of squeezing out every last ounce of enjoyment from the exuberant, precocious Flavia fans have come to know and love, including wonderful scenes of communion with her beloved bicycle Gladys.

And it’s a good thing too, because Flavia is, after all, growing up. By the end of the book, it’s clear that should Flavia return in a new adventure (as her fans undoubtedly hope she will), she will be different in some important ways.

As this latest installment charts Flavia’s continuing transmogrification from young girl to young woman, navigating her way through often confusing emotions and situations, where even familiar old settings can feel suddenly infused with new and confusing layers of meaning, there are a few tantalizing glimpses along the way of what that young adult Flavia might be like. As usual with Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, it leaves the reader hungry for more.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kim ranney
This is the eighth Flavia de Luce novel; the eighth time I've REVIEWED a Flavia de Luce novel; and the eighth time i've tried to finde enough superlatives to convey how much I love Flavia de Luce and her adventures.

I've run out of words.

Sure: "Clever", "Fascinating" "marvelously written" yadda-yadda-yadda.

If you're not a fan by now, I weep for you.

(The book DOES have a most moving final passage that I won't, I hope, spoil)

So

Rather than repeat myself for the eighth time, let's use this for a teachable moment: The title is a quote from "Macbeth" and is part of the three weird sister incantation that contains the far more famous "double, double, " etc.

The word IS "brinded" and not "brindle", and means "streaked" or "striped"

And one of our better directors, Sam Mendes, is apparently planning a mini-series based on some of the books

A word, Mr. Mendes: Do this right and all the perfumes of Arabia shall be thine; Do this wrong and the wrath of Harry Potter fans shall be as nothing compared to the "Flavia Buds". THEY only knew magic, we have far more diabolical info at our disposal
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
enoch
After only a few months in Canada at a girl's boarding school, Flavia de Luce is on a ship bound to England, her home, Buckshaw, and the village of Bishop's Lacey. Accompanying her is Mrs. Bannerman, an acquitted murderess, who was also Flavia's Chemistry Mistress. The two have formed a firm friendship. Flavia will need that friendship before the end of the novel. Upon her arrival at Buckshaw Flavia learns that her father is in the hospital, gravely ill with pneumonia. Indeed, he is so ill that neither she nor any of her family is allowed to visit. Therefore Flavia is more than happy to visit an elderly woodcarver, on the request of the Vicar's wife. It being Flavia, however, when she arrives she finds the body of the woodcarver, murdered in a particularly gruesome manner. After forming her own conclusions, Flavia determined to unmask the guilty party.

All of the people we have grown to love (or at least tolerate) are present in the novel, the loyal Dogger, Mrs. Mullet, and Flavia's obnoxious sisters, Daffy and Feely. Added to the mix is her cousin, an exceedingly odd little girl. The household is so distraught by her father's illness that Flavia is able to fly around the countryside on her beloved bike, "Gladys", with no one paying any attention. Flavia has always been somewhat neglected by the family, but not even Dogger is paying her much mind this time. She can at least call on Mrs. Bannerman's help in her investigation and it is gladly given.

I only discovered the Flavia De Luce novels this year and read them in rapid succession. Flavia is a unique voice in fiction, truly one of a kind. She is intelligent, enterprising, strong-minded and, now that she is growing up, developing an adult empathy that makes her even more attractive. However, I was shocked somewhat and saddened by the book's ending. After reading the seven previous books the wait for the next seems very long. Thanks to Delacorte Press and NetGalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review. I highly recommend Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd, with a further recommendation to start the series at the beginning with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

RATING- 4.5 Stars
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
maribeth gedatus
The indefatigable and unconventional twelve year old Flavia De Luce is up to her shenanigans again in THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D. Flavia has just returned home after a term at a Canadian boarding school only to find that things on the home front are grimmer than usual. Deciding to escape for a few hours she hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, and heads down the road to visit the vicar’s wife who requests that Flavia deliver a message to a local woodcarver. That errand results in her discovery of the man’s corpse displayed in a rather unusual way.

Set in 1950’s England, this novel continues the tale of Flavia and her family and friends. Each of the preceding books by Alan Bradley only covers a few months in this family saga, so dear Flavia, a scholarly and scientific child, never really progresses past adolescence. As usual, Flavia will do anything to solve the crime, even if it means jeopardizing her safety or getting on the wrong side of the local constabulary.

Be warned that reader’s must be willing to “go with the flow” and not examine situations too closely for if they did they might come to the conclusion that for a small village, Bishop’s Lacey and its neighboring villages have managed to provide our miniature Sherlock with an unusually high body count on which to ply her scientific knowledge.

My advice is to abandon logic and just settle back and enjoy riding along with Flavia in this quick, amusing read that’s just perfect for a lazy afternoon.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kristenhaynes2
Like many Flavia fans, I have been waiting (not very) patiently for the next segment of her on-going adventures. I have to say that, in my opinion, it was well worth the wait! Once again all my emotions have been engaged and at times I have tossed my head back for a loud laugh at one of the many "Flavia-isms" that I have come to love. What a turn of phrase she has :-)

We are left with a cliff-hanger ending, one that I saw coming early on, but continued to be in denial over until the last page. Mr. Bradley, you must write faster. I can't wait an entire year to see what happens next to the forever changed de Luce family.

In this outing, I saw Flavia mature as a character, become somewhat more wide ranging in her travels (going by train to London a couple of times by herself in pursuit of clues), as well as more bold in the telling of fibs and impersonating others in the interests of sleuthing, more insightful in reading herself, yet vulnerable in many ways and still craving love and acceptance from those whom she cares about the most.

I seldom express a wish to meet an author, but it would be quite a treat to get to know Mr. Bradley I think. He must have a wicked sense of humour as well as a bright twinkle in his eye to have brought to birth such an irrepressible and endearing character as Flavia. I read this series for the joy of Flavia herself and if there is an interesting mystery as well, that's just icing on the cake.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
carolyn florey
Once again in book #8 of this series, Flavia DeLuce is stumbling upon a dead body. If you have read my other reviews of books in this series, you know that Flavia is a precocious 12 year old genius with a particular interest in chemistry and crime solving. She has been compared to Eloise and Sherlock. For me she is just delightful. The mystery here wasn’t as interesting as some of the past books but Flavia’s crime solving and interactions with adults is absolutely joyous. The series is set in post WWII Britain and I’m guessing the early 1950’s or late 40’s. There is still a recovering economy and no fancy crime solving helps like DNA testing, etc. The crimes need to be solved by ruthless investigation and brilliant deduction, both of Flavia’s star qualities. Flavia’s family consists of a hospitalized father, a book addicted reader sister Daffy and a boy crazy older sister Feely. Her only emotional support comes from a family retainer, Dogger, who appreciates her genius and comes to her aid without condescending to her age.
Each book in The Flavia De Luce Series is a standalone novel. You may enjoy later books in the series by reading the ones that went before for background but each mystery is solved in each book.
I highly recommend this book and the entire series.

I received this book free for review from the publisher.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
chanda
3.5 stars

In this eighth book in the series, 12-year-old Flavia de Luce, budding chemist and amateur detective, is sent home to England from Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Toronto. Flavia's father, Colonel Haviland de Luce, is in the hospital with pneumonia and Flavia's sisters (Ophelia and Daphne) and cousin (Undine) are at Buckshaw - the house Flavia's mother left her. The girls are being looked after by Dogger (the caretaker/guardian), and Mrs Mullet (the culinarily challenged cook).

When Flavia is asked to do an errand for the vicar's wife, she discovers the dead body of ecclesiastical wood-carver, Roger Sambridge, hanging upside-down on his bedroom door. Most people would be put off by such a discovery, but Flavia is thrilled. She adores solving murders, and hopes to get the jump on Inspector Hewitt - whom she considers her competitor in the crime-solving arena.

Flavia examines the body and the contents of the room, being careful not to leave fingerprints. Her investigation reveals a lottery ticket and a set of children's books by deceased author Oliver Inchbold. Moreover, one of the books is inscribed to Carla Sherrinford-Cameron, a girl Flavia knows. When Flavia leaves the house she sees a curtain twitch across the street, and knows she's been seen. So Flavia hustles back to the vicarage, and - pretending to be distraught - announces Sambridge's death.

The wood-carver's demise is considered suspicious and Flavia uses all her 'abilities' - sneakiness, lying, impersonation, chemistry knowledge, etc. - to try to identify the perpetrator. Some of Flavia's escapades stretch credibility - like when she passes herself off as a biographer to a London publisher (a 12-year-old kid.....really??) - but this is a humorous cozy after all.

During her inquiries Flavia asks Carla about the inscribed book at the crime scene, and learns that Carla's late aunt, Louisa Congreve, was close to the author - Inchbold. Flavia also learns that Inchbold - whose stories were supposedly about his adorable young son - was actually abusive to the boy.

Further investigation discloses that the house with the twitching curtain belongs to Lillian Trench, who's reputed to be a witch. Flavia is warned to stay away from her - but of course she does no such thing - and finds an eccentric middle-aged man staying at Lillian's house.....along with a cat! Could this be a diabolical witch's familiar?

It's not clear how all this is connected to the unfortunate victim, Roger Sambridge, but Flavia carries on to discover the truth.

Between investigative exploits Flavia tries to visit her hospitalized father, but Dogger reports that the Colonel is too ill for visitors. So Flavia makes do with Gladys, her bicycle, which she rides everywhere and regards as a friend. According to Flavia, Gladys likes to pretend she's being abducted and takes in the ambiance when she's waiting outside for her owner.

We don't see Flavia do many chemical experiments in this book, though she does fix bacon and eggs in her laboratory, using beakers and such. LOL

I admire Flavia's genius, but she's a bit too conceited to be totally likable (for me). Flavia is just SO gleeful when she's manipulating and fooling people - it puts me off. Still, it's fun to read about Flavia's investigations; her sisters and their beaus; Mrs. Mullet's not-so-tasty meals; and Dogger's devotion to his charge. I'll be interested to see what Flavia does in the next book.

Though the story could be read as a standalone, it would be better to have read at least a few of the previous books - to fully appreciate the characters. I'd recommend the book to fans of Flavia de Luce.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jason pyper
This is the third Flavia de Luce book I have listened to on CD, unfortunately all out of order since that's how I've run into them, and I must say, I found this book disappointing at times compared to the other two books I have listened to, which I enjoyed immensely. There is a certain pleasure in listening to the books as opposed to reading them. Jayne Entwistle, who reads the books, does a fabulous job of putting Flavia's feelings into her reading which is just delightful! It's so much better than listening to the news when I drive to and from work!

Flavia is going through a very difficult time in this book and while she is still the intrepid sleuth from the other books, there is much that I found depressing in this book. It makes me wonder if Alan Bradley, who I think is a marevelous author with his wonderful turn of phrase that makes these books so much fun to listen to, has grown weary of the series. I hope I'm wrong, but I found certain sections of this book, and particularly the ending, very depressing and disappointing. Flavia, her father, Dogger, her sisters, and other on-going characters may technically just be characters in a series of books, but Mr. Bradley had made them come alive to the point where I think they have taken on a life of their own, so to speak. While I personally would have like to see Flavia grow older and become a fabulous British spy in league with 007, one must remember that authors have rights too and cannot willy-nilly pander to their readers expectations. I must say, however, that my heard did break for Flavia upon the ending of this book. I just noticed from the listings on the store that there will at least one more Flavia de Luce novel coming out next year. I am glad about that, but I hope it will be happier times for Flavia than she had in this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
samantha mclaughlin
Flavia de Luce is finally back at Buckshaw after her misadventures in Canada, but all is not well with the family: her father is in hospital, battling pneumonia, and her sisters and cousin are just as unbearable as ever. Flavia is happy to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, who has become a good friend, but when she tries to deliver a letter, she instead discovers the body of a man hanging upside down on the back of a door! Can Flavia find the culprit before Inspector Hewitt shuts her down? And why did the man have a first edition of a beloved children’s book in his otherwise non-descript home?...."Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d" is the eighth in Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, and it’s as delightful as ever. There’s a bit less chemistry than usual in this one, but Flavia is just as determined and resourceful as she has ever been, although she is beginning to wonder if she is turning into someone else as she grows older (she’s 12 now) and some of her reactions to people surprise even her. It’s definitely necessary to read these books in order, but having once made the acquaintance of Flavia de Luce, I can’t imagine that anybody would not want to do just that; recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
amanda c
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is not your traditional Christmas novel. Flavia de Luce returns home to England (hopefully for good,) "disgraced" from Canada's Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. Sadly, all is not bright back at home. With her father in the hospital and a household that has moved forward in her absence, Christmas is far from the merry reunion Flavia had hoped for. Thankfully, it's not long before she stumbles upon a rather intriguing murder scene to give the story a spark and summon the return of Flavia's spunk.

Touching everything from family dynamics to a popular series of children's books, it's an interesting, if not heartbreaking plot. A bit of a slower build, but it was a fun ride; much like what one would expect on the beloved Gladys. I recommend picking up Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd regardless if you've previously been introduced to this pint-sized sleuth or not. There's the perfect balance of backstory for first time readers, without boring those who have already become acquainted. Fair warning, the cliffhanger at the end of this book will have you counting down days until the next Flavia de Luce novel is released. But, we were going to do that anyway, weren't we?
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mandy mcdonough
My daughter bought this and she shared it with me once she was done with it.

StatThrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)s: published in 2016, hardcover is smaller than most hardcover, it's 331 pages.

Blurb: (Goodreads) In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty—and not empty enough. Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene. Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.

What I liked: Flavia is her usual, enjoyable self, even after eight books. Bradley has a good end to the murder mystery. Why he ended the book (not the mystery itself) is a big question, but I'm not going to discuss that so I don't give it away. I listened to part of this (with the talented Jayne Entwistle as narrator, as usual) and read part, which confirmed that listening is more enjoyable to me. I also notice I miss less or remember more (not sure which) with audio.

What I didn't like: This wasn't my favorite Flavia story. It didn't seem quite as tightly written - meaning there were things in the book I didn't know why Bradley put it in and some odd things with the writing. For example - Flavia meets a significant character (a stranger to her) and Bradley doesn't fully describe what he looks like until she meets him (Hillary) the second time. And when she meets him the first time, she ends up rubbing his shoulders. This seems out of character and in addition, an odd thing to do to a stranger. Another odd addition is the Horn Dance that apparently happens in town each year. It just seemed like it was stuck in there just so a character can sing at it (the reasoning of which is part of the plot). I assume Bradley didn't tell the reader why Flavia was ejected from Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada because he's mention this more in the next book, but it was something that felt was missing, along with the secret organization (forget the name) and what that groups goal/work is, which I thought would be discussed. I thought that was a line in his other books that he was working toward, but not with this book.

Rating: 3.5/5 As I said, not my favorite Flavia novel but still entertaining. From the ending, Bradley's obviously going to write another one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
bart francis
When we last encountered Flavia de Luce, she had just turned her back on Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy (a sortof Canadian Hogwarts without the magic), having scarcely arrived there, and was heading back across the Atlantic to Buckshaw (a moldering, decidedly down-at-the-heels Downton Abbey, where female siblings have also long proven equally incapable of getting along). We might have anticipated crime at sea and bodies overboard this time around, but the ship is already docking by page 2.

This latest plot will therefore unravel in the precocious, pre-pubescent chemistry enthusiast’s familiar haunts: the halls of Buckshaw and the icy lanes and streets in and around Bishop’s Lacey. That unraveling once again chiefly offers a happy excuse to bring on old, familiar faces, whose reappearance Flavia-enthusiasts await with a half-smile and sense of anticipation: the loyal, wise, and resourceful Dogger, the salt-of-the-earth cook Mrs Mullet (proffering “sangridges” after a quick trip to the loo for a “vowel movement”), Gladys the trusty bicycle—but not Esmerelda, the Buff-Orpington hen: Mrs. Mullet has gutted and roasted her for the family dinner table during Flavia’s Canadian sojourn.

It’s a bit like being transported back to a 1950s, black-and-white TV sit-com, where audiences awaited the reappearance from week to week of Fred and Ethyl or Ralph Cramden, who did their turns in anticipated ways. (But here, it's without applause as the various characters first step through some door.) Come to think of it, there’s also a bit of Groucho Marx in young Flavia’s steady stream of smart-a$$ remarks.

As a vehicle for the characters, it works happily enough to keep devotees coming back some eight times for more (and that includes me). But what will happen when Flavia hits puberty—Alan Bradley can’t postpone it forever?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
beth kleinman
There are four series I am listening to on audio, and I was trying to rotate them. That fell by the wayside based on availability this year, and I wound up getting up to date on the Flavia de Luce mysteries. Naturally, that meant that I made a point of listening to Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d as soon as it came out, which coincided with as soon as my library got the audio version.

Twelve-year-old Flavia has returned from Canada. However, her welcome home in December of 1951 wasn’t nearly what she’d hoped it would be. She arrives home to the news that her father is in the hospital with pneumonia, and he is so sick that he can’t receive any visitors. Her sisters are as obnoxious as ever, and her young cousin is annoying Flavia as well.

So when Cynthia, the vicar’s wife, asks Flavia to deliver a message to a woodcarver in the next village, Flavia jumps at the chance. She arrives to find the woodcarver hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door dead. Naturally, Flavia is delighted at this turn of events. But can she figure out who would kill an old woodcarver?

Those who missed Flavia’s family and the English village setting while she was in Canada in the previous book will be delighted with the return to Bishop’s Lacey here. Even though I enjoyed the last outing and the different setting, I was glad to get back to the usual characters and setting. These characters are a fun group.

Of course, Flavia is the real star of the series. I’m enjoying seeing some growth and maturity in her. No, it’s not enough to change her character, but it is refreshing to see that she is growing into a young woman who is slightly more sympathetic and mature. And I get a kick out of Flavia’s interactions with her young cousin. Flavia can’t figure out why this girl annoys her so much, but she is so much like Flavia it adds a comic touch to things.

The mystery is much more the focus here than in some of the previous books in the series. It’s not the best element of the series usually, and that’s the case again here since I figured out some of what was happening long before Flavia did. Still, it is interesting and kept me engaged the entire way through.

As always, Jayne Entwistle is fantastic at bringing the story to life. She is engaging and perfect as Flavia without overwhelming the story at all. Seriously, if you are looking for a great audio book to try, this is the series for Jayne’s narration.

The bad part of being caught up on a series is that you now have to wait impatiently for the next in the series to come out, and I will definitely be doing that for the next in this series. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d will please fans of this unique detective.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
pamela crawford
Flavia DeLuce always makes me smile, and while I smiled several times during this one, it definitely wasn't one of my favorites in the series. I was happy that Mr. Bradley brought Flavia back from Canada because I so enjoy her relationships with the other characters like Inspector Hewitt, Daphne. Feely, Cynthia, Mrs. Mullet, and Dogger. This one had Flavia acting too much on her own due to her father's hospitalization. She interacted with Cynthia, Undine and Dogger a bit, but there was too little of the other characters especially on the heels of the last book which had Flavia across the ocean and away from those characters. The mystery of the dead body Flavia found was easy to figure out, but then again, I don't read the series because the mysteries are so intricate. I read them because Alan Bradley has created a post WWII world for a creative, intelligent, and lonely little girl that is so realistic that I feel as if I really know these people. This one was no exception to that, but I did find it disappointing that although Flavia was back home, she may as well have still been on her own at the boarding school. Flavia's stubbornness and her desire to find out whodunit caused most of her isolation from her family. As several other reviewers have mentioned, the ending was disappointing as well, but I'm holding out hope that there is more to it. I will definitely be back for the next Flavia book. I'm just going to hope that there is more of Flavia's friends and family in it.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thaddeus mccollum
Flavia de Luce is a teen aged chemist and detective with a wonderful vocabulary. How many teens use words like lipidoptera and Colophons. In this outing she’s investigating the death of w woodcarver. Outside of chesistry, her major interest is in solving crimes. Its good to have her back at Bishop’s Lacey; she spent the last novel in Canada. I do enjoy all of her outings. But it is hard to believe anyone can stumble over so many dead bodies.
The writing and the plotting are both so good, and I have to give the book five stars, but the author has Flavia realizing that the winter solstice fall so on December 22 of the year the story takes place. It falls on December 22 every year. There’s also the presence of the male calico cat named Thomas More. Calico cats are always female. Surely Flavia knows these things. Nitpicking, I know, but I had to point them out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie hoener
Flavia de Luce rides again! Her banishment from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, a Canadian finishing school for young ladies, ended almost as abruptly as it began. Flavia is far beyond the need of the sort of finishing meant for the average 12-year-old girl, so after polishing off yet another scandalous murder, she has been expelled to return to Buckshaw Manor after a brief but adventurous three months.

Arriving at Southampton Seaport at Christmas time, Flavia looks forward to a warm welcome from her sisters and household, banners and balloons waving. Instead she finds her father’s man of all arts, the faithful Dogger. His sad face reflects only mournful news: her father, Colonel de Luce, lies gravely ill in the hospital with pneumonia, and no visitors are allowed. Flavia seeks the solace of her beloved Buff-Orpington hen, Esmeralda, only to find her cage empty. It is more than she can bear. “You’ve eaten her!” she exclaimed. “Cannibals! Cannibals!”

Such is Flavia’s life. Her only friends are (or were) a chicken; her beloved bicycle, Gladys; Dogger; and the vicar’s wife, Cynthia. She’s relieved to find that Gladys is faithfully standing just where she left her, tires inflated and ready to ride, so the next morning she pedals off through a drenching rain to visit the vicarage. Cynthia offers her condolences about her father’s health and asks her to perform a simple task: deliver an envelope to a Mr. Sambridge in a nearby village. If there is anything predictable in a Flavia de Luce mystery, it is that Flavia will discover a body. Alas, she finds poor Mr. Sambridge, his body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. This cheers her up immensely --- a challenge to be conquered!

And so begins another adventure in the life of this ingenious young detective, who is wiser than any grownup could hope to be. I shamefully admit that I more or less recognized the line from the book’s title, but was grateful to author Alan Bradley that he kindly quoted it in the front of the book to relieve me of the embarrassment of resorting to Google.

THRICE THE BRINDED CAT HATH MEW’D delivers everything that the Bard portended: a brindle cat, witches, toil and a delightful bit of trouble in this eighth installment of one of the most ingenious and genuinely original mystery series of recent years. Newcomers --- and I suggest that if you haven’t yet dipped into these adventures, you start at the beginning with THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE --- will no doubt enjoy this latest venture. Do not be fooled by our heroine’s young age. Flavia is a grownup in a child’s body and knows more about chemistry, crime deduction and Shakespeare than the average adult.

Reviewed by Roz Shea
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
william myers
I admit, when you read an Alan Bradley book you know exactly what you are getting. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. When I go to my favorite restaurant and order my favorite dish, I want it to taste the same as last time. I expect it to be exactly the way I remembered it. Such is the way with Alan Bradley books, Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew’d is exactly what I expected and that’s why I read it.

When you read a Flavia de Luce mystery, you know exactly what you are getting. Flavia will be feeling put upon by her family. She will stumble across a dead body. The police will begrudgingly work with her. She will use science in fun and quirky ways that you never knew were imaginable. She will follow clues that leave you clueless. There will be humor, mystery, and charm.

This book had all the ingredients that make a Flavia de Luce mystery the mysteries that I turn to time and time again. In this case Flavia has returned home from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy to find, instead of the homecoming that she expected, that her father is in the hospital and her sisters have already gone up to bed.

The next day, Flavia is asked to do a favor, to go visit Mr. Sambridge to deliver a letter. She hops on her trusty bike, Gladys and heads over, only to find him dead.

And with that the mystery begins. I am usually completely lost through most of these mysteries, sometimes putting pieces together before Flavia, but rarely.

This book was everything I expected and I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
erin sutherland
Flavia de Luce is one of my favorite characters. I don't read too many mysteries, but I never miss one of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce books. One of the reasons for this is Flavia's precocity. She is wise well-beyond her twelve years, and now that she has arrived home from a brief stay at a Canadian bording school, she's a bit more worldly as well.

All is not well upon her return to Thornfield Chase. Her father is in the hospital with pneumonia, her older sisters are still pests, and she has to put up with her annoying younger cousin. And on top of all this, she stumbles upon a dead body whilst performing an errand for the vicar's wife. Flavia handles these burdens with her usual aplomb and a growing maturity.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tonimo
Flavia de Luce is an unforgettable heroine.  At 12, Flavia possesses the brutal honesty of youth, along with perceptiveness and intellect.  Her precocious nature and her unique perspective make her a one-of-a-kind investigator. Despite her youth, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is not a children’s book.  It is however a clever mystery that will appeal to a wide range of ages.

When Flavia de Luce returns to England, she does not experience a joyous homecoming.  Instead she discovers that her father has taken ill and is in the hospital.  Even the squabbles with her sisters and annoying cousin are not enough to distract her.  Fortunately, a favor for the vicar’s wife leads Flavia to discover a body - hanging upside down on the back of his door.  The only other being present at the scene is a cat.  Flavia rejoices in the opportunity to investigate.

What connects a witch, a woodcarver, and a deceased children’s book author? Rooting through closets in search of skeletons is the perfect distraction for both Flavia and the reader.  

At once charming and unabashedly forthright, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d is an appealing mystery that will delight readers.

5/5

I received a copy of Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

—Crittermom 
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kofi adisa
After some odd misadventures, Bradley returns Flavia to the scene and tone of her best successes. Unfortunately, much like the last couple of books, there isn't all that much of a plot here. Up to a point, this is what we like about Flavia, but I would bet that the last couple of books lost the series a bunch of readers. Here pretty much all of the familiar characters are reduced to cameo roles or are not present. Flavia wanders all over the place, and for a 12-year-old with no source of money she manages to take trips to London, take taxis, etc. Somehow, she manages to get stuffy businessmen to bare their secrets in a business setting. the entire book seems to be based on the life of A.A. Milne. All in all, I think that it is a step back toward what the readers most liked about these books, but I don't see that Bradley can keep Flavia as a 12 year old with the plot progression he has chosen. We shall see. I'm still reading the next one, although two books ago I was about to give up.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
pam r
>Book Review – Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d

>I am an independent reviewer. This book is the 8th in the Flavia de Luce series. Flavia is now 12 years old and returned from her sojurn to a boarding school. Her return finds her father in the hospital and no one really caring she is back except for Dogger. As these stories are mysteries, there is a mystery for Flavia to solve. Her ingenuity and persistence are remarkable as she talks in a crime scene and pieces together the truth. Flavia seems to get herself into more serious situations as the series goes on.

>The backdrop to the mystery is Flavia and her family. There is humor in her new cousin and her sister’s boyfriends. Dogger once again shows how he is the only man Flavia can count on 100 percent. This book will cause some tears along with the humor. The mystery is always solved, but Flavia has family issues that will carry over into the next book.

>This story is appropriate for a young adult (12+) to adult audience. The mysteries are complex and Flavia’s thought processes amazing to follow. The family dynamics are relatable. All the characters pull the reader in to the story. I am giving this book 5 stars.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brooke romney
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley.

This was the 8th in the Flavia de Luce series and one of my favorites. The author Alan Bradley is the winner of the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award, The Barry Award, the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, the Dilys Award and the Arthur Ellis Award for the Flavia de Luce series.

Flavia has arrived home at Buckshaw after her stay at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada. She arrives to a non existent celebration of her homecoming. That is except for Dogger who is waiting for her at the dock with some sad news. Colonel de Luce is in the hospital gravely ill with pneumonia.

Flavia mounts her trusty Gladys (bicycle) and attempts to fill the boredom by accommodating the Vicar's wife who needs a message communicated to an elderly wood carver Roger Sambridge. Flavia arrives at his home and is ready to deliver the message when she discovers the wood carver hanging upside down on the back of his door imprisoned in a contraption of his won making.

The cast of characters furthers the excitement as Flavia travels on her path deducing each clue a step at a time. My highest recommendation for this book and this series. This is one of my favoites in the flavia de Luce series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
clarissa
Flavia is by far my favorite mystery gal. She's full of spunk and wit and is no stranger to mishaps. In this installment of the series, we find her newly returned from Canada to find that things have changed in the De Luce home. Flavia is on the cusp of growing up and is experiencing all of the awkwardness that accompanies that time in our lives. The mystery is, as always, unique and full of intrigue and plot twists. This one was slightly easier to guess the outcome than previous books. However, the sad cliffhanger at the end was completely unexpected.

I received an advanced free copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
michael powers
Ask and you shall receive!

I've heard cat lovers speak of "Cat Central," a mystical agency that assigns cats to their destined homes, often by opaque or circuitous chains of cause and effect. Sometimes I think there's a version of this for books and authors, bringing a certain volume into your hands at just the right time.

Last month I asked for #AFewGoodMysteries, and Book Central came through.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is my first meeting with Alan Bradley's young sleuth Flavia deLuce, but she won me over instantly. The tweenaged Flavia is not merely precocious, but a full-fledged genius, with all the awkwardness, isolation, and cockeyed perspective that can entail. Mr. Bradley has given Flavia deep insight and an often morbid detachment. He's also given her a heart full of compassion, courage, and longing.

The title is Shakespeare, of course -- the "Cauldron Scene" from Macbeth. The mystery begins with Flavia discovering a corpse in strange, possibly ritualistic circumstances, and we do find a reputed witch (with her feline familiar) nearby. In a larger sense, the epigraph "Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble..." points to Flavia's own situation. Her particular gift, the lens through which she sees the world, is chemistry. Her attic laboratory is the place she takes all her own "toils and troubles," where she mixes up forensic tests, photographic developer, Christmas decorations, and even a hot lunch.

The Macbeth passage also puts us on notice. Someone once said that all Shakespeare's plays end with a wedding or a funeral. If you've never read Macbeth, I'll give you a spoiler: it's not a wedding.

A major trend in contemporary mystery series is the "long arc" of relationships and character development across all the books. This is a departure from classic detective stories which focus on a single episodic problem and leave the detectives' personal lives firmly in the background. Even Sayers' beloved "Peter and Harriet" romance occupies only three* out of eleven books, and never takes precedence over the puzzle. (*Busman's Honeymoon uses their marriage as a given circumstance, not a plotline.)

Mr. Bradley has pulled off a neat sleight-of-hand in Brinded Cat that I hope to learn from. The emotional impact of Flavia's personal story was so engrossing that it was several days before I realized there were (minor) loose ends in the plot.

Just last month, I got feedback from my Beta-reader team on my next book, Mister Mottley and the Dying Fall. They were incredibly helpful in pointing out confusing or unjustified events, and showed me many ways to make the plot seamless. By contrast, Mr. Bradley has left several red-herrings unexplained (or inconclusively explained), and it didn't derail my attention or spoil my enjoyment one bit. He hooked me so thoroughly on Flavia's thoughts and desires that it carried me all the way through without a hiccup. It's exciting to find teachers who make studying the craft so enjoyable!

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is set at Christmastime, but worth enjoying any time of year. I rate it Highly Recommended with 4.5/5 stars.

Squick Factor:

By request, I include a “squick factor” rating on reviews, to give tenderhearted readers a heads-up on graphic or disturbing material.

Booklist describes a prior Flavia book as a "treat for readers of all ages," but I certainly wouldn't consider this one suitable for my preteen children. Flavia examines the murder victim in clinical, though not lurid detail. There's also extensive discussion of a "cold case" body with some gruesome features. To me the descriptions were not so much disturbing, as revelatory of Flavia's unusual perspective. But extremely sensitive readers may want to skim those passages. Squick Factor = 1-2.

Squick Factor Range:
0 – Nil.
1 – Meh.
2 – Kinda.
3 – Oh yah, you betcha.
4 – GAAAHHH! Nuke it from space!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
kristyn
I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and Dellacorte, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would write a review and post it to Net Galley, Goodreads, the store and my blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I was looking for something a little different to read and it had good reviews. This is the first book by Alan Bradley that I have read.

This is the type of book that either clearly resonates with the reader or does not. I fell into the does not category to the point where I had to stop reading half way through the book. Life is too short to spend time slogging through a book that I do not find enjoyable. The author's writing style does not click with me, but obviously has with several other people. I found it uneven and unable to hold my attention.

I will not give a recommendation one way or the other on this book. I would suggest reading the first chapter, if possible, prior to purchasing the book to determine if it is for you.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
shikha sethi
I was so eager for Flavia's return home that the disappointments she encountered when she got back to Buckshaw set a negative tone for me for the whole rest of the book. And the last few pages have me wondering if I'll read any future books in the series.

The mystery and solution is quite odd. "Odd" is not unusual for Flavia, but this one seemed pretty contrived.

There is no additional character development for her sisters or for the other people in town. People pop in and out, but I don't feel like I know anyone at all better than I did before. It's mostly about Flavia and Gladys, her bicycle.

On the positive side, Alan Bradley's writing still pulls you along so you want to keep reading. And you feel the atmosphere of the place ... almost too much, since for me it went from a long standing positive outlook of "Really hope they can find a way to save Buckshaw and the family!" to too much sadness and a "why bother anymore" feeling.

Maybe if the next book is "Flavia and Dogger move to London and work under cover for Scotland Yard" I'll try it. Otherwise, sadly, I don't think I will.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
nsubuga lule
After a stint at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada, Flavia returns to Buckshaw. I found it a relief for Flavia to return to familiar surroundings and characters. It was comforting as the reader to be back among her sisters, Dogger, and Gladys, though Flavia's father is very ill at hospital and she is not allowed to see him. No matter. She soon happens upon a dead body (joy of joys!) and like only Flavia can, revels in the investigation. I did not love the last book (As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust) so I was pleased with Flavia's return. There was very little look into her relationships with her sisters and even Dogger as there had been in previous books which was fine, but there was (possible spoiler) one particularly un-cozy aspect of this book that left me unsettled and I will leave it at that. It is one of those books that stays with you and you contemplate in the days following the last read word. I will certainly be reading Flavia's next adventure.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
ehrrin
As much as it pains me to say (because I love Alan Bradley and Flavia DeLuce) this was NOT at all what I expected.

Buckshaw is devoid of anything. Even Dogger makes a half hearted attempt at connecting with Flavia. Instead of the cool composure of her sisters, who have always seemed to mask their familial love with a stiff upper lip and some snotty sister talk, there is outright disdain. As in they REALLY do hate her or at least would not have shed a tear had she NEVER come back from Canada.

Flavia is not lighthearted or cheeky at all, not one single second. She is melancholy and preoccupied with doing anything other than thinking of her father.

Explicit talk of child abuse and emotional problems.

Alan Bradley strayed so far away from Flavia that I hardly recognize her. And to have "stabbed her in the back" is just heart wrenching.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
susan sommer
Oh, Flavia, how good it is to have you back! Without doubt, Flavia de Luce is my favorite female sleuth ever. (Spare me the Nancy Drew comparisons--not even.) In this eighth Flavia mystery, she is older and wiser, but also smarter. She is sharper of wit, and her macabre sense of humor is still intact, but her good heart still shines through.

This time around she is solving the bizarre and grisly murder of an odd old woodcarver. But does he have another identity? As Flavia winds her way around the case and countryside, she gets herself into and out of scrapes, with the help of her usual pals (my favorite being Dogger).

Alan Bradley writes with wit and warmth and makes not only Flavia, but all of his characters, major and minor, come off the page fully-fleshed. Old friends have returned and new folks are introduced.

I can't even begin to recommend this series enough.

(Thank you to Random House/Ballantine and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel.)
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
jiwa rasa
It is with a heavy heart that I dislike this book.
I was so glad to see Flavia return home, but the puzzle is transparently obvious leaving the real mystery to be why all the characters suddenly seem to have gone flat.
From the moment Flavia arrives home there is a frenetic pace, not s much in plot but rather in that Flavia spends the entirety of the book riding her bike..... on ice & through snow.
While that non stop "action" provides time for soliloquies, it hardly;lends itself towards character or plot development.
The only element of surprise was the killer who ended up being unexpectedly & completely psychotic (think Batman's nemesis the Joker) , which seemed disturbingly out of place in this series

inexplicably I find myself wishing that Flavia might be introduced to Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
karen lapuk
This is not a shocking statement from our narrator. Back at Buckshaw now, Flavia has had both a return to normal life (in the mystery) and a complete upheaval (in her personal life). The discovery of the corpse and the mystery that ensues takes readers back to a premise similar to the first five novels to some degree, and it’s a very welcome return.
The past two books were a bit of a departure from the previous five in that they focused more on Flavia’s internal struggle as she deals with family issues and being away from Buckshaw. Her focus has not been on the mysteries around her so much as on the path given to her by her Aunt Felicity. While it’s nice to have an idea of Flavia’s endgame, there is barely a mention of the Nide in this book, and it was much more enjoyable to give Flavia a bit of a break. As she says upon discovering this volume’s corpse, “I felt as if I had been suddenly possessed by my former self.” It’s something we the readers feel as much as she does.
The mystery surrounding the death of Roger Sambridge is an interesting read. There wasn’t too much chemistry involved, which was a bit of a letdown, but Flavia instead gets to approach both this death and one from years prior using a different skillset, and she mostly does it well. I say mostly because a twist about two-thirds of the way in was a bit obvious. This was my first real disappointment with Flavia’s detective skills because not only did she not infer it or discover the twist, she is actually shocked when someone gives her a major piece of the puzzle. I don’t usually figure out the big mysteries in these novels early on, but again, this seemed obvious.
The other major part of any Flavia de Luce novel is her personal and family life. It’s funny that in this book, that part really takes a backseat, and yet a few things with her family and friends change enough by the end so that her life will never be the same again. Some good things, some less pleasant, but the stories going forward will absolutely be different. To stay spoiler-free, I won’t say anything more specific.
Overall, while this book wasn’t my favorite, it was more in keeping with the spirit of the first five books rather than the last two. If you’ve read the series so far, I would definitely recommend this one—and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shravani
Flavia de Luce is back home in England after her unfortunate exile to a “female academy” in Canada, covered in the previous volume in this series, “As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust.” In fact, this book picks up immediately upon her arrival on native soil. I am happy to report – as ghoulish as it may sound – that she very soon finds a dead body under macabre circumstances and is back not only doing what she does best, but doing it in a grand, clever and entertaining style. Let the guilty beware.

I am doubly happy to report that fact because, although I may be in the minority, I found “As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust” not to be amongst my favorites. I enjoyed this entry, “The Brinded Cat . . .” much more. It kept me engaged, curious and amused from the first page to the last.

How can you not love that title? I immediately had visions of witches and cauldrons, the reference being to the witches in Macbeth. And yes, there is a witch on hand, or so she says. That’s really enough about the plot. Really, I think fans are more interested in the thoughts and actions of Flavia, a young, but brilliant, sleuth, as well as the colorful characters she encounters chasing down the culprit(s). And here, I immediately have visions of Flavia pedaling furiously down a country road on Gladys, her faithful, fiery two-wheeler, intent on investigating the latest clue.

Now, what if you don’t know anything about Flavia? Should you avoid this book? No, I don’t think so. Yes, there are references to her family situation (mother was missing, much later found dead, sisters Daffy (Daphne) and Feely (Ophelia) and invitee Undine are dramatic pains-in-the-neck.), but really, you will learn enough to get by quite comfortably. If someone gifts you with a copy, or you love the title as much as I did and want to click that Add to Cart button, go ahead and read the book. You can catch up on the others later.

Highly recommended for Flavia’s many fans, with a welcome mat out for newcomers.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ivalina vargova
I have been enjoying this series since the beginning and this new one did not disappoint. I was happy that Flavia has returned back home to Buckshaw. This book also has a more traditional mystery than some of the others. The household is present but Dogger and her sisters remain more in the background. Most of the story revolves around her father who is ill. Flavia runs an errand for the vicar's wife and stumbles across another dead body. She of course sets out to solve the crime with her trusty bicycle Gladys. Solving the murder also takes her mind off the domestic problems. Once the murder is solved this book ends with another cliffhanger. This series should be read in order. Enjoy visiting with Flavia again.
Please Rate Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd - A Flavia de Luce Novel
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