The Grave's a Fine and Private Place - A Flavia de Luce Novel

By Alan Bradley

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
simplybrenee
I have read each book. In order. They continue to not disappoint. They are a fast read but one I which I do not skip one word nor one sentence. They are serious and funny when Flavia describes her sister’s or her observations of adults. CS
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
ewelina jakuszko
Great story with interesting literary references. You can’t help but love the characters. The growing relationship among the sisters and between Flavia and Dogger made me, as a fan, really appreciate the talent of Mr. Bradley
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
dwayne melancon
A transition piece, I get it, Flavia is growing up. Disappointed, as I thought the last book was the transition that would take Flavia to her new life. I hope the next book sets Flavia back on a firm path.
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) :: A Flavia de Luce Story (Kindle Single) - The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse :: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd - A Flavia de Luce Novel
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
blagomir petrov
Another wonderful installment. Getting to know Dogger a bit more is keeping things fresh and will help keep Flavia on her toes and sharpen her tools. Once again, there is a plethora of interesting characters to think about. I hope we get to read about Flavia's adventures for a long, long time to come.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
devan raj
The witty & insightful Flavia de Luce and her ever present supporter, Dogger, forge an even stronger bond in this caper than ever before. The story is well developed & the family characters are brought closer to Flavia, and the rreader, through the death of their father.
A good read, for sure!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
damian
It's a quick and enjoyable read when your mind just can't bear another missive from "the real world".
Nice to learn a bit more about Dogger and also tantalizing hints of how the next few books will unfold.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kourtney w
I enjoyed parts of this book, but overall I was a little disappointed. This is the 7th book in the series and Flavia has aged only a year, while one of her sisters is now old enough to be getting married. At this point, her character is becoming less believable and slightly annoying. I think it’s time for Flavia to age like everyone else. She does show signs of emotionally maturing and I liked that. Her relationship with one of her sisters is evolving, and Dogger’s role is more prominent.

The mystery itself was muddled and slow at times. Some of the situations that occurred were simply not plausible. The solution to Orlando’s murder left me scratching my head. Too much was left unanswered, but I realized I wasn’t sympathetic enough about the victim to really care. This book seemed to be a vehicle to set the stage for the next one, as well as help Flavia, her sisters, and Dogger adjust to the tragedy that occurred in the previous book. There are hints that the series is moving into a new phase that could be very interesting. This wasn't the best book, but I do look forward to finding out what happens next.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
akshaya
I love Flavia and yes I have read them all. But what happened to Hob? Did I fall asleep while reading and miss a page? I liked his character and interaction with Flavia and then he disappeared never to be heard from again. And when did Dogger become handsome? Perhaps I missed some description in past books but my mind's eye never pictured him as particularly handsome--handsome enough for Flavia to notice and almost crush on. Don't get me wrong--I still enjoyed the read and think how much I would have loved these stories when I was a kid. Betsy, Tacy and Tib for today's readers.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
samin
I can't believe I just gave Flavia de Luce 3 stars. This last book lost me most of the middle of the book. A bit too much Anglican Church. Slogged through thinking, surely, surely, this will get better. .
Issues with this book:
1. Our beloved Inspector Hewitt does not appear until the last chapter.
2. I am not liking Flavia growing up. Love Flavia and Gladys. Worried she is losing some of her spunky innocence.
3. Just too much church-y stuff. really hard time paying attetion.
4. Mrs. Mullet is mentioned, but miss her sturdy self.
Loves of this book:
1. Dogger. Who doesn't love Dogger. He is more fleshed out. A love interest could be in the offing....
2. Feely and Daffy are also more developed. They Flavia some love and affection.
3. Is little Hob to be taken in by the de Luce family?

Not my favorite. Will never pass up a Flavia de Luce novel.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
zeth
I LOVE Flavia de Luce, but I was so disappointed in this book. The whole thing seemed very contrived and there was no flow to the story. I always share new Flavia books with a friend, and we both were of the same opinion. Hope the next one is better!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
rey mehr
Flavia (FLAY-vee-uh) de Luce, now twelve, uses her wisdom and wit to solve yet another perplexing conundrum. An enigmatic, fast-paced story that came to an end much too quickly, there is something for everyone in this book, and in the entire series. A younger audience may not understand all that transpires, but everything is presented in a way that is appropriate for them to read. A good read for the entire family! We especially enjoy the sweet relationship between Flavia and her mentor, Dogger.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
lesley
When this ninth book about intrepid young chemist and crimesolver Flavia de Luce opens, sorrow has invaded the de Luce family, and family retainer Dogger has taken Flavia and her sisters on a boating trip to cheer them up. Flavia is indeed cheered up and back to her usual form very quickly when she literally gets her hands on a corpse she finds floating in the water. Of course, she resolves to find out how and why the man died, and before long life gets even more interesting for the young sleuth when she finds herself with four murders on her hands.
If you have not yet met Flavia, you are in for a real treat, but this is definitely a series to be read in order, and I do NOT recommend you begin with this book. So I will assume you have the background and plunge in with reassurances for Flavia fans.
The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place is quintessential Flavia , especially her love for chemistry (She moved me to Google references more than once.). In this book the faithful but normally taciturn Dogger plays a more active role than ever, and Flavia meets young Hob Nightingale, the son of an undertaker, Mrs. Palmer, the landlady who also is a poet of some repute, and Poppy Mandrill, a former actress who lost a leg and now enjoys the role of mentor to an attractive young man. The rest of the family are not very much in evidence, except for some notable action by sister Feely and her fiancé Dieter at the climactic scene.
It is Flavia at her finest up to the very end. At that point I was a bit disappointed and felt that the resolution of the murder was a somewhat weak and disorganized, which cost the book one star. But it certainly is not so weak that I would not recommend it.
On the very last page, though, the book picks up when we get a tacit promise that Flavia’s adventures will continue. As long as there’s an England, there will be crime, and Flavia will be bringing the misdeeds to light. Forever Flavia!
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
bagas
I bought this as a gift for my 9 year old great granddaughter. I started reading it after it arrived and was immediately put off by the gloom of the author. I find that I cannot in good conscience give this to a child. The book opens as the children’s father has died leaving them orphans, okay, but....it goes on and on about one of daughter’s daydreaming of ways to commit suicide! Then as she is riding along in a boat with her hand trailing in the water she grabs into something in the water, thinking she has caught a fish....in her hand...but it turns out she’s dragging a body by its mouth. I found it to be depressing and certainly not for a nine year old. I plan to return the book.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
sheehan
Y’all, I’ve loved Flavia from the start. The first five books were great! I couldn’t put them down. The next two were ok, tolerable. I enjoyed the most recent installment (Brindled Cat), but maybe not as much as the first few. I had hoped that now that we were back at Buckshaw we’d see a return to the original fun and wit.

I was wrong.

I reserved this at the library to get it on release date... two weeks later, I gave up and returned the book half-read. My husband was worried he wouldn’t see me much once I got the book... instead, I found myself doing housework to avoid reading. I just could NOT get excited.

Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe the book gets good later on. But if you don’t have my attention in the first HALF of a book, you’ve failed.

One of the joys of the earlier books was the vivid characterization. The characters in this one just seem bland.

We all love Flavia for her chemistry. With this book being set in an inn, away from Buckshaw and her lab, the few chemistry scenes seem more unbelievable than I’m willing to overlook. And we’ve known Dogger to be a fount of random knowledge, but now suddenly he’s an even bigger chemistry expert than Flavia?

I also found Flavia’s thought patterns hard to follow this time.

Overall, this just didn’t work for me... to the point that I won’t bother with future Flavia deLuce novels... the magic has run out.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lydia kiesling
My wife and I are big fans of this intriguing series. It's is somewhat hard to define as it features a 12-year-old girl but is not a kid's book (although precocious teens might enjoy it). There is lots of comedy, yet it certainly fits into the detective genre. For me, the uniqueness of the stories and the character of Flavia is a huge draw. Maybe this is a cross between Harry Potter and Agatha Christie's books?

In this caper, Flavia is away from home and we get to see her in a different light. We get to know Dogger better and Flavia's relationship with her sisters is expanding. But the fun is all here and I highly recommend this continuation. If you are new to the series you will get a different perspective on Flavia but it will be enjoyable nevertheless. Have fun!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
becky ferrer
I'm always eager to read the next Flavia installment. My favorite books are series because I love character development. This was a very strong outing in moving Flavia's maturity forward, but I did find the mystery to be a little lacking. However, the lovely writing in the character area makes it very well worth the read.

Dogger has suggested a holiday, and of course, Flavia finds a mystery. They are away from home, so there's no real help from Hewitt, but Dogger takes on a rather unexpected (to me, anyway) role. Daffy is examined a little more, and Feely & Dieter have a shining moment. People are changing. This is a good thing.

But, the actual mystery mattered very little to me, and I felt the denouement was a little short and sparse. I did read it in fits and starts, which is my own failing, but I had a hard time keeping track of some of the townspeople, since they're not familiar, and I didn't really care who did the deed.

Overall, though, I'm very happy to have been able to read it and will eagerly await the next!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
scott hefte
"Have you ever stuck your hands into the pockets of a corpse? Perhaps not. I myself have done it on only a couple of occasions, and I can tell you that it's not always the most pleasant of occupations."

Flavia and her sisters are enjoying a lazy river trip (actually, they're bored to death by it) when they happen to float by the church where 3 elderly spinsters were poisoned by their priest two years earlier. As Flavia drags her hand in the water, she catches something large and heavy. Pulling it to the surface, it turns out to be a body, and thus begins a new Flavia adventure.

Flavia is back to her old self in this latest book (I wasn't as impressed by the last 2 books) and chemistry is once again a considerable part of the story. What I enjoy most, however, is the absolutely hilarious comments she makes, and it's the kind of book I'd love to read slowly and savor... but unfortunately, I keep reading as quickly as I can to find out what happened. I thought the end was a bit abrupt (and slightly vague, but maybe that's because I've been reading too many Agatha Christie novels lately) but it was still an enjoyable return to the old Flavia.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mardi
With mother and father now dead, the three girls are taken on a low-key vacation by Dogger. While punting on the river, Flavia dangles her hand in the water and thinks she has caught a fish. It turns out her hand is in the mouth of a corpse. The story holds the reader’s interest, but Bradley seems unsure how to handle his characters. Aunt Felicity is brought in to play the family antagonist, but she disappears early on. Daffy, once Flavia's tormentor, is developing into co-conspirator. Lovelorn Feely is extraneous to the story. Bradley has removed Flavia’s joie de vivre and needs to replace the likes of Gladys-the-bicycle and Esmerelda-the-chicken to bring her adventures back to life. The ending disappoints with too many loose ends and a reveal of the murderers that totally falls flat.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
natalie pinedo
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley is a very highly recommended mystery and the 9th book in the popular Flavia de Luce series.

Set in England in 1952, twelve-year-old Flavia and her family hare trying to recover from the family tragedy in the last book. Concerned that she will soon have to live under the iron rule of her Aunt Felicity, it is a pleasant relief when Arthur Dogger, the long-time and loyal family servant, suggests an extended boating trip to Volesthorpe for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt passes the church where Canon Whitbread poisoned three of his parishioners, Flavia is discussing the poisoning with Dogger while trailing her hands in the water. When her fingers hook on something in the water, she imagines she has just caught a fish with her bare hands. Instead, as she struggles to pull the object closer, she sees that her fingers have snagged the open mouth of a head, attacked to a body. Dogger poles the boat to shore and the murder investigation begins.

The body is identified as that of Orlando Whitbread, the son of the notorious poisoner. Constable J.R. Otter is sure it is a suicide, but Flavia and Dogger are quietly working on their own investigations. Flavia has a chance to use some of the investigative techniques she has learned from Inspector Hewitt. She and Dogger get to rig up a lab for some private testing. The two also uncover other clues. In the meantime, Flavia's older sisters, Feely and Daffy, are actually not quite as truculent and, dare I say, even a bit helpful this time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest Flavia de Luce adventure and appreciate that she is solving a mystery here, using her knowledge of chemistry and sleuthing skills to figure out what exactly is going on. This is a strong addition to the series with memorable supporting characters, strong clues, and some real growth and development in the characters we know. Dogger shines in his role. I really think that you could jump in and read this one on its own, although in a long running series it is nice to read the books in order to follow the character development and the relationships between people.

Bradley has always been an excellent writer and all the books in the series are interesting, but I liked this one a bit more than some of the previous installments. The actual ending was very satisfying and gave me something to look forward to in the future.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Random House via Netgalley.070182401
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
luke wilson
If you were to look up the word ‘precocious’ in an illustrated dictionary, you would most likely find a picture of Flavia de Luce, the eleven year-old heir to Buckshaw Manor with a passion for poisons. She is also the star of nine previous mysteries set largely in an English village in the years following World War II. She has a healthy appreciation of her own intellect and a morbid curiosity that gets her into trouble more often than not. As she describes it:
“To me, an unexamined corpse is a tale untold: a knotted ball of a tale that is simply crying out to be unraveled until the last strand has been picked free. The fact that it is was also a study in progressively putrid chemistry simply made it all that much more lively and interesting.”

With such an attitude it should come as little surprise that she maintained her sang froid when her hand, dangling over the side of a rowboat, fished up the fish-nibbled remains of a young man. This is, after all, a mystery and dead bodies seem to pop up quite regularly in English villages inhabited by amateur murder enthusiasts.

Those of you who have read previous Flavia de Luce novels will know pretty much what to expect as Flavia sets out to solve the murder, all the while frustrating the constabulary and enraging her two older, less gifted, sisters. New readers will find a delightfully strong-willed character who may cause a few eye rolls. She does tend to get full of herself.

As mentioned previously, this is the tenth book in what was originally intended to be a ten-book series. There is no indication that the author is going to retire Flavia and I certainly hope he does not. Using the UTSR scale (*See note below) I give this a series rating of three. There is an evolving story arc that runs through the series that gives readers a greater appreciation for the lives of the characters but it has little impact on the mysteries themselves. New readers can therefore read and appreciate this book without missing much although I recommend that you eventually go back and read the series from the beginning.

*[Note regarding the UnkleTom Series Rating (UTSR) Scale: Some people insist on reading series in order starting at the beginning. I believe that this is absolutely necessary with some series and unnecessary in others. In my reviews I assign books in a series a score of one to five in which the higher score denotes increased importance of reading the book in order. A series with returning villains, an ongoing story arc, and evolving family dynamics will rate higher than one where the plot in each book is totally unrelated to the others. As an example, a Nancy Drew book would be a one. There is no evolving story arc. Nancy hasn’t grown any older in fifty years and, face it, Ned is never going to propose to her. The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, is a five. Reading the trilogy in order is essential to fully understanding and appreciating the story. One book picks up right where its predecessor leaves off and Fellowship of the Ring contains information that readers of The Two Towers really need to know. Besides, Tolkien originally wrote it as a single volume.]

Bottom Line: I really like the Flavia de Luce books and this one is no exception. I find them clever, funny and endlessly entertaining. I have assigned this book four stars, but will not say exactly why other than to say it is related to the mystery itself. To say more would risk getting into spoiler country.

**Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
*1 Star – The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
julie edwards
While I enjoyed reading this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as previous Flavia books in the series, all of which I've read in order. In the first half of this book, there's way too much chemistry as Flavia spouts poison lore aided and abetted by Dogger in their experiments. The conceit of the whole book fails because the author just wastes time filling the book with characters who aren't necessary to the outcome and are just filler. What roles do Vicar Clemm, Poppy Mandrill and all her details, Claire, and Hob play? What's the point of the visit to the St. Mildred's roof, Hob's photographs, the circus and its owner and her artwork, Orlando's costume, Ms. Parker's poetry book, and Dieter's sudden appearance? It seemed to me Bradley was cheating when he had a vision overtake Flavia in the church so she could solve certain elements of the mystery. The wrap-up with Inspector Hewitt making a sudden appearance was a quick way to tie together the story, but just telling the resolution wasn't satisfying. I didn't find this book riveting; I put it aside regularly during my reading and could easily have waited to pick it up again. Flavia's a little more obnoxious than cute in her constant self-praise. Nevertheless, I will order the next book in this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
anjeanette gunter
Alan Bradley has created a wonderful post WWII world with the Flavia de Luce mystery series. As the 9th book in the series, THE GRAVE IS A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE follows the exploits of Flavia, her sisters, and Dogger as they try to take their minds off of the events of book #8 by punting up the river on a lazy summer day. Of course, Flavia finds a body in short order and the entourage is stuck in a small river town as authorities attempt to sort things out. Flavia, as usual, is a step ahead.

Flavia de Luce has always been one of my favorite detectives. That she is a child prodigy only added to her charm. But, alas, time marches on, and Flavia is growing up, almost a teen at this point, and dealing with some very grown-up stuff. I am sad to see the precocious kiddo begin to fade. I am, however, overjoyed to see Dogger take such a central role in this book and the sisters’ relationships mature. Away from her home turf this time around, I miss the crumbling manor, her home village and its inhabitants, and Gladys (her bicycle).

The mystery within the pages concerning the former vicar’s son, an actor, is interesting enough, and the subplots dealing with somewhat recent murders and the tavern owner’s wife help to fill out the tale. All of the plot threads tie together nicely in the end, and I impatiently wait to see what Flavia gets into next. My only problem is that it seems that Flavia lies more than ever.

I recommend THE GRAVE IS A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE to fans of the series and readers who enjoy quirky characters and a talented young sleuth.

I received an ARC of this title through NetGalley and voluntarily share my thoughts here.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
mariann
Alas, poor Flavia has grown to be a bore. All of 12 years old now, the formerly charming and precocious sleuth has somehow become a self-satisfied braggart. In this latest outing in “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” the author prefaces every smirk, feigned innocent look or show of bravado with so much conscious cunning and premeditated manipulation that Flavia becomes downright unsavory.

The central mystery is also less than compelling—-the murder of three gossips, seemingly by the pastor of a rural village—-and the subsequent drowning of the curate’s son.

What kept me reading to the end was the revelations about the character of Dogger, and the heroine’s growing detente with her siblings—-the bookworm Daphne and the vain though musically gifted Ophelia. But these hardly make up for the weak plotting and nebulous ending—-along with incomprehensible bits of poetry thrown in to give Flavia some moments of much-needed puzzlement leading to humility.

Perhaps Buckshaw and its immediate environs have always been necessary for the enchantment of the Flavia de Luce series. Alan Bradley should haste to return his crew there, unless indeed he has gotten bored with his heroine as his careless prose in this latest installment shows.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
micki macdevitt
"The Grave's a Fine and Private Place" is a historical mystery set in June 1952 in England. This book is the ninth in a series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one and this novel didn't spoil any previous mysteries.

The main character is a 12-year-old girl who loves chemistry. She has her own chemistry lab at home and can improvise (with the help of a loyal adult servant, who helps her investigate) when away from home. She also enjoys investigating a murder, and she sees it as a competition with the adults. She's manipulative and lies freely to get what she wants because she feels like, as a kid, that's what she has to do to learn what she needs to know. She has quite the imagination, but she puts it to good use. For example, she imagines what the murder must of looked like as it happened.

She's so enthusiastic that it's hard not to like her. She followed up on various clues and put her mind to work until she discovered whodunnit. The scene where she gathered clues from the drowned body was a little gory. There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of British bad language. Overall, I would recommend this interesting and fun mystery

I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
brittany
I’ve read a number of the Flavia de Luce Novels and this most recent one is right in keeping with the rest. Lots of sleuthing with chemistry and poison being a big part of the story.

Flavia de Luce is a young girl with a penchant for chemistry. She and her sisters are away from home, taking a break, after the heartbreaking loss of their father. Their dedicated servant, Digger, is along to take care of them and to provide Flavia assistance with her investigation.

Investigation of what? Well, it seems that everywhere Flavia goes, a death is sure to happen. In this case, she not only takes on the current death but starts looking into the deaths of others a few years before.

There are ups and downs, red herrings and more, through the story. While I think the ending could have been tightened to explain the why of the whodunnit a little bit more, I still enjoyed the story and the ending.

I’m looking forward to the next book to see how Flavia deals with the personal issues that are becoming more and more serious.

I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
spencer knowlton
I'm always eager to read the next Flavia installment. My favorite books are series because I love character development. This was a very strong outing in moving Flavia's maturity forward, but I did find the mystery to be a little lacking. However, the lovely writing in the character area makes it very well worth the read.

Dogger has suggested a holiday, and of course, Flavia finds a mystery. They are away from home, so there's no real help from Hewitt, but Dogger takes on a rather unexpected (to me, anyway) role. Daffy is examined a little more, and Feely & Dieter have a shining moment. People are changing. This is a good thing.

But, the actual mystery mattered very little to me, and I felt the denouement was a little short and sparse. I did read it in fits and starts, which is my own failing, but I had a hard time keeping track of some of the townspeople, since they're not familiar, and I didn't really care who did the deed.

Overall, though, I'm very happy to have been able to read it and will eagerly await the next!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
clifton
Leave it to 12 year old sleuth Flavia de Luce, to hook a dead body, on a boating trip with manservant Dogger and her two sisters. This installment of the ever so popular series, takes place six months after the death of their father. Dogger taking a more active role in both the sister's lives and the central mystery itself, suggests this much needed respite from the difficult times which have befallen the de Luce family. What they come to learn in the quaint English countryside they are forced to dock in.... is that the floating body was of a male thespian... who was the estranged son of a church canon accused of poisoning three of his female parishioners. The ensuing mystery proves to be a much needed diversion, for our clever chemistry genius...Flavia. More importantly, the trip also binds the sister's together, as they attempt to deal with their loss. The push and pull of family was poignant as the de Luce sisters used to fighting like demons, learn to appreciate and rely on each other. The plotting of the mystery was well conceived, the cast of quirky characters all hiding something and once again our complex heroine manages to capture both my respect and my heart.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
chellsea
"Have you ever stuck your hands into the pockets of a corpse? Perhaps not. I myself have done it on only a couple of occasions, and I can tell you that it's not always the most pleasant of occupations."

Flavia and her sisters are enjoying a lazy river trip (actually, they're bored to death by it) when they happen to float by the church where 3 elderly spinsters were poisoned by their priest two years earlier. As Flavia drags her hand in the water, she catches something large and heavy. Pulling it to the surface, it turns out to be a body, and thus begins a new Flavia adventure.

Flavia is back to her old self in this latest book (I wasn't as impressed by the last 2 books) and chemistry is once again a considerable part of the story. What I enjoy most, however, is the absolutely hilarious comments she makes, and it's the kind of book I'd love to read slowly and savor... but unfortunately, I keep reading as quickly as I can to find out what happened. I thought the end was a bit abrupt (and slightly vague, but maybe that's because I've been reading too many Agatha Christie novels lately) but it was still an enjoyable return to the old Flavia.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
aliyah l
With mother and father now dead, the three girls are taken on a low-key vacation by Dogger. While punting on the river, Flavia dangles her hand in the water and thinks she has caught a fish. It turns out her hand is in the mouth of a corpse. The story holds the reader’s interest, but Bradley seems unsure how to handle his characters. Aunt Felicity is brought in to play the family antagonist, but she disappears early on. Daffy, once Flavia's tormentor, is developing into co-conspirator. Lovelorn Feely is extraneous to the story. Bradley has removed Flavia’s joie de vivre and needs to replace the likes of Gladys-the-bicycle and Esmerelda-the-chicken to bring her adventures back to life. The ending disappoints with too many loose ends and a reveal of the murderers that totally falls flat.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
emily clark
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley is a very highly recommended mystery and the 9th book in the popular Flavia de Luce series.

Set in England in 1952, twelve-year-old Flavia and her family hare trying to recover from the family tragedy in the last book. Concerned that she will soon have to live under the iron rule of her Aunt Felicity, it is a pleasant relief when Arthur Dogger, the long-time and loyal family servant, suggests an extended boating trip to Volesthorpe for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt passes the church where Canon Whitbread poisoned three of his parishioners, Flavia is discussing the poisoning with Dogger while trailing her hands in the water. When her fingers hook on something in the water, she imagines she has just caught a fish with her bare hands. Instead, as she struggles to pull the object closer, she sees that her fingers have snagged the open mouth of a head, attacked to a body. Dogger poles the boat to shore and the murder investigation begins.

The body is identified as that of Orlando Whitbread, the son of the notorious poisoner. Constable J.R. Otter is sure it is a suicide, but Flavia and Dogger are quietly working on their own investigations. Flavia has a chance to use some of the investigative techniques she has learned from Inspector Hewitt. She and Dogger get to rig up a lab for some private testing. The two also uncover other clues. In the meantime, Flavia's older sisters, Feely and Daffy, are actually not quite as truculent and, dare I say, even a bit helpful this time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest Flavia de Luce adventure and appreciate that she is solving a mystery here, using her knowledge of chemistry and sleuthing skills to figure out what exactly is going on. This is a strong addition to the series with memorable supporting characters, strong clues, and some real growth and development in the characters we know. Dogger shines in his role. I really think that you could jump in and read this one on its own, although in a long running series it is nice to read the books in order to follow the character development and the relationships between people.

Bradley has always been an excellent writer and all the books in the series are interesting, but I liked this one a bit more than some of the previous installments. The actual ending was very satisfying and gave me something to look forward to in the future.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Random House via Netgalley.070182401
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
loripdx
If you were to look up the word ‘precocious’ in an illustrated dictionary, you would most likely find a picture of Flavia de Luce, the eleven year-old heir to Buckshaw Manor with a passion for poisons. She is also the star of nine previous mysteries set largely in an English village in the years following World War II. She has a healthy appreciation of her own intellect and a morbid curiosity that gets her into trouble more often than not. As she describes it:
“To me, an unexamined corpse is a tale untold: a knotted ball of a tale that is simply crying out to be unraveled until the last strand has been picked free. The fact that it is was also a study in progressively putrid chemistry simply made it all that much more lively and interesting.”

With such an attitude it should come as little surprise that she maintained her sang froid when her hand, dangling over the side of a rowboat, fished up the fish-nibbled remains of a young man. This is, after all, a mystery and dead bodies seem to pop up quite regularly in English villages inhabited by amateur murder enthusiasts.

Those of you who have read previous Flavia de Luce novels will know pretty much what to expect as Flavia sets out to solve the murder, all the while frustrating the constabulary and enraging her two older, less gifted, sisters. New readers will find a delightfully strong-willed character who may cause a few eye rolls. She does tend to get full of herself.

As mentioned previously, this is the tenth book in what was originally intended to be a ten-book series. There is no indication that the author is going to retire Flavia and I certainly hope he does not. Using the UTSR scale (*See note below) I give this a series rating of three. There is an evolving story arc that runs through the series that gives readers a greater appreciation for the lives of the characters but it has little impact on the mysteries themselves. New readers can therefore read and appreciate this book without missing much although I recommend that you eventually go back and read the series from the beginning.

*[Note regarding the UnkleTom Series Rating (UTSR) Scale: Some people insist on reading series in order starting at the beginning. I believe that this is absolutely necessary with some series and unnecessary in others. In my reviews I assign books in a series a score of one to five in which the higher score denotes increased importance of reading the book in order. A series with returning villains, an ongoing story arc, and evolving family dynamics will rate higher than one where the plot in each book is totally unrelated to the others. As an example, a Nancy Drew book would be a one. There is no evolving story arc. Nancy hasn’t grown any older in fifty years and, face it, Ned is never going to propose to her. The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand, is a five. Reading the trilogy in order is essential to fully understanding and appreciating the story. One book picks up right where its predecessor leaves off and Fellowship of the Ring contains information that readers of The Two Towers really need to know. Besides, Tolkien originally wrote it as a single volume.]

Bottom Line: I really like the Flavia de Luce books and this one is no exception. I find them clever, funny and endlessly entertaining. I have assigned this book four stars, but will not say exactly why other than to say it is related to the mystery itself. To say more would risk getting into spoiler country.

**Quotations are cited from an advanced reading copy and may not be the same as appears in the final published edition. The review was based on an advanced reading copy obtained at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. While this does take any ‘not worth what I paid for it’ statements out of my review, it otherwise has no impact on the content of my review.

FYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:
*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.
*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.
*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending.
*1 Star – The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shannon 2003
While I enjoyed reading this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as previous Flavia books in the series, all of which I've read in order. In the first half of this book, there's way too much chemistry as Flavia spouts poison lore aided and abetted by Dogger in their experiments. The conceit of the whole book fails because the author just wastes time filling the book with characters who aren't necessary to the outcome and are just filler. What roles do Vicar Clemm, Poppy Mandrill and all her details, Claire, and Hob play? What's the point of the visit to the St. Mildred's roof, Hob's photographs, the circus and its owner and her artwork, Orlando's costume, Ms. Parker's poetry book, and Dieter's sudden appearance? It seemed to me Bradley was cheating when he had a vision overtake Flavia in the church so she could solve certain elements of the mystery. The wrap-up with Inspector Hewitt making a sudden appearance was a quick way to tie together the story, but just telling the resolution wasn't satisfying. I didn't find this book riveting; I put it aside regularly during my reading and could easily have waited to pick it up again. Flavia's a little more obnoxious than cute in her constant self-praise. Nevertheless, I will order the next book in this series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ben sternke
Alan Bradley has created a wonderful post WWII world with the Flavia de Luce mystery series. As the 9th book in the series, THE GRAVE IS A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE follows the exploits of Flavia, her sisters, and Dogger as they try to take their minds off of the events of book #8 by punting up the river on a lazy summer day. Of course, Flavia finds a body in short order and the entourage is stuck in a small river town as authorities attempt to sort things out. Flavia, as usual, is a step ahead.

Flavia de Luce has always been one of my favorite detectives. That she is a child prodigy only added to her charm. But, alas, time marches on, and Flavia is growing up, almost a teen at this point, and dealing with some very grown-up stuff. I am sad to see the precocious kiddo begin to fade. I am, however, overjoyed to see Dogger take such a central role in this book and the sisters’ relationships mature. Away from her home turf this time around, I miss the crumbling manor, her home village and its inhabitants, and Gladys (her bicycle).

The mystery within the pages concerning the former vicar’s son, an actor, is interesting enough, and the subplots dealing with somewhat recent murders and the tavern owner’s wife help to fill out the tale. All of the plot threads tie together nicely in the end, and I impatiently wait to see what Flavia gets into next. My only problem is that it seems that Flavia lies more than ever.

I recommend THE GRAVE IS A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE to fans of the series and readers who enjoy quirky characters and a talented young sleuth.

I received an ARC of this title through NetGalley and voluntarily share my thoughts here.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
jamila fitzpatrick
Alas, poor Flavia has grown to be a bore. All of 12 years old now, the formerly charming and precocious sleuth has somehow become a self-satisfied braggart. In this latest outing in “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” the author prefaces every smirk, feigned innocent look or show of bravado with so much conscious cunning and premeditated manipulation that Flavia becomes downright unsavory.

The central mystery is also less than compelling—-the murder of three gossips, seemingly by the pastor of a rural village—-and the subsequent drowning of the curate’s son.

What kept me reading to the end was the revelations about the character of Dogger, and the heroine’s growing detente with her siblings—-the bookworm Daphne and the vain though musically gifted Ophelia. But these hardly make up for the weak plotting and nebulous ending—-along with incomprehensible bits of poetry thrown in to give Flavia some moments of much-needed puzzlement leading to humility.

Perhaps Buckshaw and its immediate environs have always been necessary for the enchantment of the Flavia de Luce series. Alan Bradley should haste to return his crew there, unless indeed he has gotten bored with his heroine as his careless prose in this latest installment shows.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
celena
"The Grave's a Fine and Private Place" is a historical mystery set in June 1952 in England. This book is the ninth in a series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one and this novel didn't spoil any previous mysteries.

The main character is a 12-year-old girl who loves chemistry. She has her own chemistry lab at home and can improvise (with the help of a loyal adult servant, who helps her investigate) when away from home. She also enjoys investigating a murder, and she sees it as a competition with the adults. She's manipulative and lies freely to get what she wants because she feels like, as a kid, that's what she has to do to learn what she needs to know. She has quite the imagination, but she puts it to good use. For example, she imagines what the murder must of looked like as it happened.

She's so enthusiastic that it's hard not to like her. She followed up on various clues and put her mind to work until she discovered whodunnit. The scene where she gathered clues from the drowned body was a little gory. There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of British bad language. Overall, I would recommend this interesting and fun mystery

I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
madeleine
I’ve read a number of the Flavia de Luce Novels and this most recent one is right in keeping with the rest. Lots of sleuthing with chemistry and poison being a big part of the story.

Flavia de Luce is a young girl with a penchant for chemistry. She and her sisters are away from home, taking a break, after the heartbreaking loss of their father. Their dedicated servant, Digger, is along to take care of them and to provide Flavia assistance with her investigation.

Investigation of what? Well, it seems that everywhere Flavia goes, a death is sure to happen. In this case, she not only takes on the current death but starts looking into the deaths of others a few years before.

There are ups and downs, red herrings and more, through the story. While I think the ending could have been tightened to explain the why of the whodunnit a little bit more, I still enjoyed the story and the ending.

I’m looking forward to the next book to see how Flavia deals with the personal issues that are becoming more and more serious.

I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
andrea harbison
our intrepid crime-solver and connoisseur of poisons par excellence is back and ready for trouble. grieving the loss of her father, the grave's a fine and private place, kicks of with flavia on her deathbed. or really on a boating trip with dogger and her sisters.

unlike previous installments of the series, this time when they happen upon a dead body everyone is on hand to solve the crime. the deepened relationship between the sisters, and the increaased maturity of flavia's outlook allows the series to grow in an organic way, while maintaining those traits that make her so quintessentially flavia. the wit the humor and the precociousness of our young detective is as enjoyable as always.

this is a series that can go on as long as bradley wishes to write them, because every chance i have to spend some quality time with flavia and the de luce family, i'm pretty happy.

**the grave's a fine and private place will publish on january 30, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing group - ballantine (delacorte press) in exchange for my honest review.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
missmaj
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place is the 9th Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley. I don't think that Flavia is really an acquired taste, though I seem to be more delighted by each addition to the series. Flavia is wickedly wryly funny (and clever) and Bradley is a gifted author. She and her dogsbody/batman, appropriately named Dogger are a force to be reckoned with and outmaneuver, outflank and outwit all comers.

I wouldn't recommend this book as a standalone. I do think that all the necessary background info is provided for doing so, but there are a number of spoilers/plot twists from previous entries which are referred to in this book. Much more fun to find a rainy fall weekend and binge read the whole series.

For readers who are unfamiliar with Flavia, she's not your average adolescent. She's self contained and prodigiously interested in chemistry and crime. Dogger does the heavy lifting.

I don't often laugh out loud at books, but I have done so with every single one of the Flavia books.

I have recommended these books to my circle of crime-reading friends and the verdicts seem to be almost evenly split between 'wonderful' and 'no, thanks'. Definitely worth a try if you appreciate very well crafted mysteries with a touch of the absurd and/or slightly gallows humor.

Info:
Release date: 30 Jan 2018.
384 pages, available in hardback, paperback, audio and ebook formats.

Five stars in my appreciative estimation. Long may she reign!

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
becky keeler
I'm a big fan so I was excited to receive this newest book but Flavia has lost some fizzle in this caper. On holiday, away from the family home but in the company of her two sisters and her now departed father's faithful friend Dogger, Flavia of course encounters a corpse. As usual, there are many side plots and red herrings along with some of Flavia's signature wit but this storyline, the characters, and the new ways in which Flavia interacts with her sisters and Dogger, though signaling a shift for the series, was not familiar terrain, and so for me, not nearly as entertaining.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
melania
This is the ninth addition to 'The Flavia de Luce' series, set in 1950s England. You could read the book as a standalone, but for maximum enjoyment (and minimum spoilers) the series is best read in order.

Flavia de Luce is a supremely self-confident twelve-year-old girl who's deeply interested in two things: chemistry and detective work. In her young life Flavia has frequently used her scientific expertise - and native smarts - to solve murders.

*****

As the book opens, Flavia is on holiday with her two older sisters, Ophelia (Feely) and Daphne (Daffy), and the family manservant Dogger - who's been with the de Luce clan for years. The little group is punting down a river near the village of Volesthorpe when Flavia, trailing her hand in the water, closes her fingers over what she thinks is a fish. Delighted, Flavia pulls up the catch.....only to discover it's the corpse of a young man.

The cadaver is deposited on the shore, and - while the authorities are being summoned - Flavia takes the opportunity to carefully examine the body. She also takes a mysterious scrap of paper from one of the pockets. This is standard operating procedure for Ophelia, who's always hiding evidence from the police so she can solve cases first.

The dead man is identified as Orlando Whitbread, an up-and-coming actor with the local 'Puddle Lane Little Theater.' Orlando is the protégé of Poppy Mandrill, a once famous actress who - after losing a leg - became a director. The dead man is best known, however, for being the son of Canon George Whitbread of Volesthorpe's 'St. Mildred's-in-the-Marsh Church.' The Canon was hanged a few years before for poisoning three female parishioners at Holy Communion.

The town's police officer, Constable J.R. Otter, quickly calls Orlando's death a drowning.....and orders Flavia to stop her nosy probing. This only heightens Flavia's suspicions, since she's SURE Orlando was poisoned. Thus, Flavia continues to vigorously pursue her inquiries, with Dogger's invaluable help. Moreover, the amateur sleuth decides to re-investigate the case of Canon Whitbread....who she thinks might have been innocent.

As Flavia flits around Volesthorpe she meets the undertaker's son, Hob Nightingale - who provides valuable information, a helping hand, and a smidge of friendship that Flavia badly needs.

In previous books, Flavia has always been at odds with her sisters, and once even doused Feely's lipstick with poison ivy. However, the girls are more mature now, and on better terms. Thus, Flavia's inquiries are greatly assisted by Daffy's extensive knowledge of literature and poetry. As for Feely, she's still vain and self-absorbed, but she plays the organ beautifully at St. Mildred's-in-the-Marsh Church. In addition, Feely's fiancé plays an important part in the story.

In the course of the tale, Flavia makes important discoveries that put her in grave danger, but she eventually discovers the truth about everything.

I enjoyed the book, which has the usual mix of interesting characters, fun science, and a creative mystery. One chapter, though - where Flavia has a 'psychic vision' of the female parishioners being poisoned - is not credible and should have been left out (IMO).

I'd recommend the book to mystery lovers, especially fans of Flavia de Luce.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
sulyn
“The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” by Alan Bradley
The Flavia de Luce series continues, and Alan Bradley once more manages to keep enough of the same old conflicts to keep us happy, but at the same time moves the overall plotline of the De Luce family forward to keep us entertained. Character development is his watchphrase. In this case, the poisonous relationship between the sisters, exacerbated by the death of their father, seems to fade and mature. Likewise there is good news for Dogger, Flavia’s devoted servant, who actually develops a past and even an old friend.
The rest of the book is populated with the usual slew of oddball personalities, all neatly dissected by the incisive wit of our heroine.
Flavia’s ghoulish obsession with poisons and their effects on the human body still remains an action-stopper, but we have gone from loving it in the first book to hating it through succeeding volumes, and now we almost welcome it as we do the familiar twinge of an old injury. It reminds us that the world is going its usual course. Like the man banging his head against the stone wall, we know it will feel so good when she stops.
The mystery itself is complex and quirky, cross pollenated with a two-year-old crime of greater magnitude and fame. Action, as already mentioned, meanders at an uneven pace, but the final, suspenseful heroine-in-peril scene is enough to raise the hairs on your neck.
Not the best Flavia de Luce novel, but definitely a keeper.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
lianne barnard
First Sentence: I am on my deathbed.

Flavia de Luce, her two sisters and Dogger, their loyal family servant, go on holiday to the hamlet of Volesthorpe. Drifting in a boat on the river, hand in the water, Flavia becomes snagged on what she imagines is Hemingway’s great marlin from “The Old Man and the Sea.” Even more to Flavia’s style, is the discovery that her hand caught in the mouth of a corpse. The dead man was the son of the local church’s Canon, who was hanged for poisoning three of his parishioners; the church ladies. But was the Canon really guilty? And who killed his son? What better than a murder investigation to take Flavia’s mind off her troubles?

The first thing one should remember about Flavia is that she is 14 years’ old, brilliant and highly dramatic. She is also wonderfully written by Bradley who has created the perfect voice for her, and the perfect opening. As with most series, one does best to read the books in order. However, Bradley ensured first-time readers are fully introduced to the characters, their roles, and are brought quickly up to date.

Some may find Flavia’s viewpoint a bit uncomfortable—“Most people probably never stop to think about why our burial places are so green. But if they ever did, their faces might turn the very shade of that graveyard grass… For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return,” the Bible tells us. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” says The Book of Common Prayer. But both of these books, having been written mostly in good taste, fail to mention either the stinking jelly or the oozing liquids and the gaseous phases through which each of us must pass on our way to the Great Beyond.” Yet for others of us, it is that perspective which makes her unique and delightful, and the way in which Flavia comes across the first body is very bit Flavia.

Bradley’s use of humor shows through in most situation, including his metaphors—“But, believe it or not, at that very instant, an idea came flying out of nowhere and landed on my head, like a pigeon on a statue of Lord Nelson.” The inclusion of rare and unusual bits of information, such as how one can cause oneself to blush, add to that which makes Bradley’s writing so delightful.

We do see changes and growth in the characters. It is nice that we see a new side of Flavia’s sister, Feeley, at the same time as does she. We realize that Dogger is, in some ways, an older and more experienced version of Flavia. Although set in the 1950s, we are made aware of how recent was WWII, and of its impact through Dogger’s incidence with PTSD. It’s nice to see him develop as a character who is coming into his own. He is observant, rather wise; a father-figure, friend and advisor to Flavia—“I love it when Dogger talked like this. It made me feel that we were partners.” Flavia is gaining some self-awareness and is maturing, yet Flavia is a character one either loves, or finds rather terrifying, or both.

In spite of the title and the humor, this is no cozy. The mystery, and the investigation, is well-plotted and executed, with red herrings and well-done suspense. Bradley always plays fair with the readers, laying out the clues as we read.

“The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” is a captivating and delightful read, with a maturing Flavia, and a wonderful ending that leaves one very anxious for the next book.

THE GRAVE’S A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE (Hist Mys-Flavia de Luce- England-1952) – VG+
Bradley, Alan – 9th in series
Delacorte Press, Jan 2018
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bob1947
Dogger, the de Luce family’s faithful servant, has decided to take the family – Flavia and her sisters, Daffy and Feely - on a boating trip after the recent family tragedy. Their lives will soon be changing as Feely will be marrying soon, Daffy is going off to college, and Buckshaw, the family’s ancestral home, may be sold. As the family boats past St-Mildred’s-in-the-Marsh, where Canon Whitbread, the “Poisoning Parson,” killed some of his female parishioners, Flavia drags her fingers in the water and brings up a skull. Soon the entire de Luce family is involved pursuing a murderer.

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place is the 9th book in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. I received a copy from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review. Although this book may be read as a standalone, there is so much background in the previous stories that the reader would be doing themselves a disservice to start with this book.

I have been eagerly, but warily, awaiting this book after the events of the 8th book in the series, as I knew that Flavia’s life and those of her family would be forever changed. I am thrilled with the story and the turn of events. With few exceptions, the majority of this series has taken place in the village of Bishop’s Lacey; however, I think Bradley made a great decision to take the action to a different location. The murder was very interesting and unique, but it was possible to follow along with Flavia to discover whodunit. However, I read this series just as much for the characters as I do for the mystery. Flavia is a lively and intelligent young girl, and her antics are delightfully humorous. This series has become one of my favorite series.

I highly recommend this book and this series to anyone who likes a fun and interesting murder mysteries.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
brenda delgado gallagher
Flavia, as always, is previous, sassy, and clever – and too nosey for her own good. But then, would be love her if she wasn’t?
In this installment, we find her and her sisters, along with Dogger, on a required holiday, intending to heal them from the unthinkable tragedy at the end of the previous installment.
But Flavia, like a magnet, draws in a dead body. From there she begins the investigations. As with the previous few, these stories are less about Flavia solving a murder and more about Flavia growing up. The murder is secondary. This book highlights that in a particular way. With her future changing, Flavia searches for her own place in the world, as much as she does for the murderer.
This brings me to my main complaint about the book. So many of the things Flavia did to solve the murder seemed filler for the story and not actually relevant to the plot. Nor did they seem to enhance our understanding of Flavia.
In the end, this wasn’t my favorite of the Flavia de Luce series. I would have preferred a tighter plot and less fluff. However, Flavia herself is the same as always, precious, smart, and hilarious. I will continue to read these for no other reason than to spend more time with this character.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
delores
Flavia de Luce and her older sisters, Daphne and Ophelia, are devastated by the sudden loss of their father. He has, in his vague manner, held his warring daughters together at Buckshaw, the ancient and decaying mansion towering over their small village. Upon his demise, their tyrannical Aunt Felicity has swooped down from London to sort them all out.

Auntie declares that the mansion (which is willed exclusively to Flavia) shall be sold and the two elder sisters dispatched --- Ophelia in marriage to her fiancé, Daphne to read English at Oxford. Eleven-year-old Flavia shall return to London to live with her and her despised cousin, Undine. Dogger, their father’s faithful valet, chauffeur and companion --- the quintessential “Jeeves” to their father --- shall be pensioned off along with Mrs. Mullet, who had run the household after the mysterious disappearance of their mother when the girls were babies.

Dogger decides that the period of mourning should come to an end and arranges a holiday to get away from Aunt Felicity’s invasion. We find Dogger and the girls languorously punting down the river toward Volesthorpe, a quaint English village straight from the pages of PICTURESQUE ENGLAND to attend an annual festival. An unimpressed Flavia daydreams of how to do herself in. Life as she knows it is over. Since poisons are her forte, she contemplates the methods that will be quickest, and least painful and messy, as she trails her fingers in the water.

Suddenly, a dark shape under the surface interrupts her reverie as her hand connects with what she thinks might be a large fish. It’s a body…a human body! Her heart leaps in joy. Nothing can bring her back to the present like a mystery to be solved. Could she be lucky enough for it to be a murder? Thoughts of her own demise vanish like vapor on a breeze.

With no laboratory in the attic of the Buckshaw Mansion to rely on, Flavia enlists Dogger’s seemingly endless knowledge of physics and ingenious tinkering with items at hand to outsmart the local constabulary who treat the victim’s death as an accidental drowning. Flavia, our irrepressible, precocious and indefatigable young sleuth, will not give up the hunt. Not only does she seek the truth of how he died, she also tries to determine who killed him and why.

Meanwhile, we are treated to some of the most entertaining characters we’ve encountered in prior Flavia de Luce novels. A traveling circus group of caravans brings actors, acrobats and charlatans on their annual trek through Volesthorpe. While the victim is a local villager, there seems to be a connection that Flavia must pursue.

Alan Bradley appears to have a vast store of historical, biblical, literary and chemical knowledge that could be overwhelming in lesser hands. His use of similes, Bible verses, Shakespearean and other literary figures, metaphors and chemical formulae could be just that, but we can forgive this overdose of references to enjoy the mere delight that Flavia brings to the page.

A whole new chapter of Flavia’s life opens as she approaches adolescence. Will she become the Madame Curie of crime?

Reviewed by Roz Shea
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
celeste ng
The Grave's a Fine and Private Place is the ninth entry in Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series - a series that I absolutely adore!

1952 England. Tragedy struck in the last book and Flavia and her sisters are still coming terms with the new direction their lives have taken. When faithful family retainer Dogger suggests a small getaway trip to help, they (unusally) all agree to go. The four are drifting down the river near Volesthorpe, with Flavia dangling her hand in the water when....she snags something.

"My fingers were inserted firmly in the corpse's open mouth, locked behind it's upper teeth."

Voesthorpe also just happens to have been the scene of a triple murder two years ago. And suddenly things don't look quite so bleak for our twelve year old detective.

Bradley's mysteries are always well planned and executed, but it is the irrepressible Flavia who is the main draw for me. Her curiosity, her quick cleverness, her inner dialogue, the way she views herself and the world around her. And her desire to solve the crimes before the local constabulary does have me reliving my desire to be Nancy Drew. Her skill with poisons is always helpful as well. ;0)

"I cannot pretend that it was unpleasant to be questioned by the police. I had in the past become quite accustomed to occasion quiet chats with Inspector Hewitt: chats during which, as often as not, I was able to set the inspector straight on some of the finer points of chemistry and even, on one or two occasions, certain other matters as well."

"To me, an unexamined corpse was a tale untold: a knotted ball of a tale that was simply crying out to be unraveled until the last strand had been picked free. The fact that it was also a study in progressively putrid chemistry simply made it all that much more lively and interesting."

I've always been fond of the enigmatic Dogger. Bradley gives him a larger role in this latest and we learn a bit more about him and his background. Flavia's relationships with her sisters are also growing and changing, in a direction Flavia couldn't have predicted. They too play a larger role in this ninth entry.

With these changes comes a new avenue for Flavia - one I think is going to open up all sorts of new possibilities for our intrepid sleuth.

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."

Absolutely, positively recommended! If you haven't read any of this series yet, I encourage you to start at the beginning. For established Flavia fans - you won't be disappointed
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie jacobs
>Book Review – The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place
>I am an independent reviewer. This book is the 9th in the Flavia de Luce series and ends with the mystery solved and the story line continuing. Flavia, her sisters and Dogger are all dealing with the death of Mr. De Luce. Amidst all of the mourning and fighting, Dogger decides to take all 3 girls on a small holiday. They rent a boat and row down a river, past a church with murder in its past. As is usual in this series, Flavia discovers a body and solves the murder, while discovering even more information. There are the usual cast of quirky characters, that may or may not be dangerous to Flavia.
>As Flavia is getting older (in this book she is now 12), she is being introduced to some more grown up topics, such as men who are popular with the ladies and how such a thing could be a reason for murder. The book is still YA, but Flavia is discovering feminine whiles and how they can work for her. Dogger plays more of a role in the solving of this mystery, as does both sisters. I enjoyed discovering more about Dogger and how he handles three very different sisters with ease.
>There is a lot of interesting chemistry used to solve the murder. The chemistry is used without a lab. Everyday objects and supplies are used instead to conduct the science experiments that Flavia and Dogger use to come to their conclusions. I especially liked how Flavia used all 5 senses in her scientific interrogations.
>This book is appropriate for a young adult (16+) to adult audience. I am giving this book 5 stars. The series is evolving with the age of Flavia and doesn’t disappoint.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
khette cox
Flavia is probably my favorite teenager. I love reading about all of her exploits and this books was not exception. But as a single older lady, I don't have to deal with them. That is best left to Dogger. In this book Flavia is enjoying the summer, spending her days punting along the river with her reluctant family. Languishing in boredom, she drags a slack hand in the water, and catches her fingers in the open mouth of a drowned corpse. Brought to shore, the dead man is found to be dressed in blue silk with ribbons at the knee, and wearing a single red ballet slipper. And of course, Flavia must solve the mystery of his death.

I find the Flavia well written and entertaining. One or two have been a little draggy but not this one. The keenly hold my interest. I often wonder how the author comes up with all of the ideas in the book including those about chemistry. And then weaving the music in also. And I liked the ending which told me there had to be more Flavia books in the future.

I also like that the author is trying new settings and introducing new characters to give the books flavor. But I missed some of the ones from previous books this time. I especially like her relationship with the Inspector. On the other hand, I see the need to introduce someone who Flavia does not immediately get along with.

This book was a copy provided for my review. The comments are my own and I was under no agreement to provide only a positive review.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
karen souza
I was surprised at how good this book was rated. I was a little disappointed. In this 9th installment (following Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd), we find Dogger, Flavia, and family dealing with the ramifications of the last book. They are taking a lovely ride on the water when Flavia finds her hand caught in the mouth of a dead man floating just under the surface. Maybe this won't be such a bad holiday after all! A dead body AND a mystery to solve? Yaroo! I do enjoy Flavia, and I certainly enjoyed the renewed focus on Dogger, but I feel like the books dropped off after the first five. I am so glad Flavia is back with her family, but there were two sections of the book that left me saying "what?" It was rather a lot of narration when I would have rather spent more time looking at the relationships - both of Flavia and her family, as well as the relationships of the other characters introduced in the book. As other reviews have said, it felt as though sections of the book were missing and the reader is left to tie up several loose ends in whatever way they feel appropriate. I do like the end and the way it sets up future books, but I have felt disappointed by at least the last three books, so I'm not sure how much longer I can keep the faith.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
maggie wear
After their father's death, Flavia and her two older sisters find themselves with heavy hearts and empty days. To get them all a needed break, Dogger suggests a boating trip, a quiet float with little to do but relax. Those plans go awry when Flavia, dangling her hand in the water, discovers a dead body. If anything could take her mind off of the loss of her father for the young chemist, it would be a nice murder.

This book seems a big departure from the rest of the series. Bradley has changed it up before, taking Flavia away from Buckshaw, but I didn't much enjoy that story. Flavia is better at home. Flavia usually does her sleuthing on her own, with help here and there from Dogger, but in this book Dogger and her sisters play a part in finding clues. Dogger especially; and although it was great to see him playing a larger role, he seemed to suddenly become as knowledgeable about science and chemistry as Flavia, perhaps more so. And also he suddenly has great detection skills as well. All this didn't quite add up to me, and generally there seemed to be great leaps of logic and deduction, and the denouement was reached with a lot of questions left unanswered or answered only in the vaguest manner. I will admit, as much as I love the series, this one totally disappointed me.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
keenan
In order to help her family deal with their grief, Flavia, her two older sisters, and the family’s servant Dogger have been shipped off on holiday. They are supposed to be enjoying several peaceful days of boating, and Dogger has just happened to pick a location where a vicar poisoned three ladies in his congregation with the communion wine. While Flavia is thinking about this crime, she is letting her hand drift in the water and suddenly grabs something. Instead of the fish she thinks it might be, she discovers it’s a body. Was there foul play? Can Flavia figure out what happened to the corpse?

Series fans, like myself, will be anxious to get this book to find out what is happening to Flavia and her family. We get those updates quite early and then settle in for the latest mystery. The characters are in top form; I loved the develop on Dogger especially. The new characters are sharp, and Flavia charms as always. However, the mystery was poor. We get a strange portion of the book where Flavia is imaging something that happened a few years before. The ending is very weak with guesses instead of facts and deductions. And if Flavia is right on the motive, it is extremely poor. Fans will want to read this one, but definitely start with a stronger book if you are new to the series.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
beth tedford
I enjoyed the previous Flavia mysteries but this one fell far short. It never really pulled together and had a plethora of wild surmises and quotations that didn't seem to add up. I was willing to put up with it since I enjoyed being with Flavia until the absolutely unsatisfactory ending with no explanations worth the bother. What and why the heck happened? By the end - who knows or cares?
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jenny guivens
I started reading Flavia stories shortly after "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" came out. I have shared my love for Alan Bradleys books with many others and have yet to find anyone who does not enjoy them From their delightful titles, to Flavia's determination and spunk, they are a wonderful escape. Fortunately, Bradley has sustained their high quality through his latest Flavia novel. We cheer for Flavia as she dodges her cruel sisters and cheer for her as she finds clues! If you haven't met Flavia yet, you should get to know her right away!
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
arun tejasvi
I purchased the hardcover at a bookstore to enter a drawing to win the whole series. I thought that would be fun for our neighborhood book trading. Did not like it. It is the only one of the series that I have read. It was ridiculous. Not one ounce of believability from the get go. The story relies on adding MANY non fleshed out characters to have many suspects. There is a male "loyal family servant" who repeatedly saves the day in the nick of time. The servant & Flavia are both running around independently trying to solve the crime - but they never discuss it, only trade knowing glances. I understand that earlier books in the series are more enjoyable - but after this - I have no desire to read about this (snotty?) girl & her dull sisters again. I'm not even going to loan the book out. Straight to the thrift shop.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
loolee dharmabum
Review of The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley summons his inner preadolescent girl in narrator Flavia de Luce, who tells a murder suspect, “I am the kind of person who is going to make a difference in the world. . . As soon as I get rid of my braces” (320). She has not yet “discovered” boys except as abstractions, although she has observed her older sister “Feely’s” (Ophelia's) romantic involvements with childlike repugnance. Her own strongest emotional connection is to Dogger, a substitute father-figure.

The year is 1952, King George VI has died a few months earlier, and the atmosphere (as with all nine of the Flavia de Luce mystery novels) is primarily Edwardian. Occasional references to 20th century modernity, such as Dogger’s torture by the Japanese in World War II, seem otherworldly.

Flavia is a genius in the style of Sherlock Holmes with the exception that she is, of course, still a child and a girl, with a particular self-trained interest in chemistry. The unique quality of her mind is well-represented in the following reflections: "How pleasant it is, as you sit in an ancient church, to ponder poisons, surrounded as you are by the towering toxicity of the stained-glass windows. The yellow cloak of that staring saint, for instance, was most likely achieved by adding cadmium, which, with its several compounds is quite poisonous; whereas the startling emerald green of all that glassy grass at Galilee is most likely due to arsenic. To say nothing of the lead" (243-244).

Topical references in dialogue to “Noel” (Coward) and “Larry” (Lawrence Olivier); the characteristic style of Agatha Christie’s mysteries; eccentricities of Queen Mary, the Queen Mother; and the character and taste in jewelry of Wallis Simpson, then Duchess of Windsor, help to establish the social milieu of Flavia’s “vacation” environment.

The novel offers many colorful and surprising moments, beginning with Flavia’s touching and then grabbing the drowned body of a man in 18th century silk floating in the river next to the skiff in which she is a passenger. Another memorable passage describes the calamity that caused theatrical grande dame Poppy Mandrill to fall from where she was “swinging high above the stage on an iron crescent moon when the rigging somehow failed [and] the heavy contraption, in falling, acted like the blade of a scimitar” (292) causing the goddess to lose her leg, “the curtain gliding slowly down to hide the blood” (293); following which “just six weeks after the amputation, Poppy returned to the stage as Long John Silver, the one-legged pirate in Treasure Island” (293).

In the denouement we find Flavia regaining consciousness inside a coffin, reflecting: “On the one hand, it was the most terrifying thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life and yet, on the other, the most strangely satisfying. Here I am at last, I thought. Now I know what it is actually like. It was, in one sense, as if I had crossed some mystic finish line and had come home at last in a blaze of great glory, but yet in another, as if I were back at the beginning, tensed, waiting for the starter’s pistol: about to die, yet about to be born again” (332).

Novels really don’t get to be much better than this!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kosta harlan
I love all of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce books. I do kind of wish that he never aged her, though. I realize that if you are going to write a series based on a central character, that that character has to age but I especially loved the early books in which Flavia was a very young girl doing chemistry experiments, solving murders, and giving her snotty older sisters the business.
Flavia is still doing all of those things but she's older, making it slightly less adorable and precocious. In this installment, the family is travelling by barge when they find a dead body floating in the river, as seems to be rather common for Flavia. And, of course, Flavia will not rest until she has solved the mystery of the dead body.
While this book is as well-written and well thought out as all of the other Flavia de Luce novels, I prefer the books that take place at Buckshaw, with Flavia riding Gladys around the little hamlet and causing outrage wherever she goes.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alvin
Following the tragedy detailed in "Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d," Dogger suggests that Flavia, Feeley and Daffy take a boating trip together, to escape their current woes. Flavia being Flavia, it’s not very long before she comes across a corpse - this time while trailing her hand in the river water as the family passes by an old church, one notorious for having a pastor who killed three parishioners with poison! The relationship between the corpse and the older crime, and of course the possibility of more chemical mischief, sends Flavia on a wide-ranging trail to discover the truth…. This is the 9th Flavia de Luce novel and, much like the ones that came before, it is absolutely enchanting. Flavia is still only 12 years old, but her understanding of the world (and in particular of the world’s evil) is quite mature. Set in the early 1950s in an England still struggling with rationing and the loss of its empire, the Flavia de Luce stories are among the most enjoyable reads out there; I only wish I had the opportunity to read them all for the first time once again! Highly recommended - but read all the books in order to get the most out of them!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
imranullah
Flavia DeLuce is one of the most interesting characters in mystery fiction, in my opinion. Flavia and her sisters, along with Dogger, go on a punt to escape the loss of a parent. While gliding on the river, , Flavia latches onto a dead body. As Flavia can not resist a good death, the hunt is on. What I like most of all in these books is the stream of consciousness as we see the world thru Flavia's eyes. A young women with a keen eye, schooled in the classics, with what can be an unhealthy fondness for chemistry. And yet she is still a young girl fearlessly trying to figure out not only a mystery, but the world, especially the people who inhabit her world. And it's that combination that make the books so engaging for me. The mystery of full of twists and turns, and well done, but its Flavia's character within the story that make these mysteries a step above the rest. Write on, Alan Bradley, I will be waiting.
I read this book in return for an unbiased review from Net Galley
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
felicity goodrich
I wish I could write a more positive review of this latest installment in the Flavia de Luce series. I’ve been a fan of Flavia (and Bradley’s) since her first appearance, and have found each new novel satisfying in its way — that is, until now. Unfortunately *The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place* is the first of the series to seriously let me down.

I won’t go into plot details (it is a mystery, after all), but suffice it to say that the conclusion to this mystery lacks coherence and heft. There’s nothing at the core, except the feeling that the author hurriedly dashed together an ending at the last minute in order to meet a deadline.

Again, it pains me greatly to write this, and I heartily recommend the rest of the series. However it does seem as though Bradley has lost some spark of joy or inspiration as the series, and Flavia, has matured. Let’s hope he can find a renewed energy and vision for Flavia moving forward.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
katie bakken
Agreed, something missing, but what? Daphne and Ophelia are almost invisible in this book. No Inspector Hewitt, no Mrs. Mullet and 'Father Will Be Furious' is deceased. I suspect less enthusiastic readers wanted the comfortable familiar and got something quite different.
Bradley would do well to expand Daphne, who has a lovely blend of quirky, snarky and bright. (Yes, I'm a Daphne too, sheer coincidence.)
Of course we would be well reminded that our charming, curious and cunningly sneaky Flavia is growing up, that she's coming into her own, entering the hormonal teens and shouldering the responsibility for saving Buckshaw. Then the denouement, which I think is quite perfect, I am referring to Flavia and Dogger's blossoming new careers. Can't wait for the next one, and the one after, and why the BBC hasn't turned this into a TV series is beyond my comprehension.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mrsmoss86
If more than 5 stars were available I would still want more. I love this series by Alan Bradley. When “The Sweetness at the Bottom of The Pie” was published I was curious about reading this as some thought this was for young people. I found out quickly (as did all readers) it was NOT! It is for everyone who loves life and enjoys wonderful sometimes quirky characters. Flavia is an eleven-year-old – now twelve – precocious young girl who is fascinated by science of every form. She is most inquisitive and thus gets ensnarled in various mysteries happening most often around her village.

Bradley uses humor throughout and soon one finds oneself in the same lovely countryside and British village where Flavia (our sleuth), her sisters, father, their cook and handyman/gardener reside. I lived in a very similar village while living in England and love Mr. Bradley’s descriptions of not only the village but the countryside. I so easily relate to Flavia that she feels like one of my own family members.

I look forward to each book and have purchased every “Flavia” book as it is released so that I have the whole set. His books have won many rewards. As I recall, Mr. Bradley planned on only writing perhaps 6 books in this series as he didn’t want to take Flavia into her teenage years, but he was offered a contact for a British series if he wrote a few more. I do hope that a movie or TV series will be made from this collection as each book would lend itself to a fantastic viewer experience.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
barb
This was another outstanding Flavia DeLuce book by Mr. Bradley. I just can't get enough of his characters, settings, and storylines. Fantastic local scenery -- set on a river journey that Dogger arranged to help the three girls deal with the grief of losing their dad. These poor girls have been so unloved and so isolated from each other, it's nice to see them getting closer in this episode. And I've always loved Dogger, her father's former comrade in arms who shared a prison camp and saved Mr. DeLuce's life long ago... Dogger is also a father figure to Flavia, thankfully, and shows her great support and affection. Love that dynamic!

Please keep writing these novels, Mr. Bradley. They are classics. I listen to them (audiobook versions) over and over again, almost like "comfort food" to me!

Thank you!

Aaron Paul Lazar
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elinore
I've been a HUGE Flavia fan since book one - even though I rarely read mysteries. But there is just something about this young lady, whose fascination with poisons and dead bodies tends to get her in more scrapes than one might expect of a girl with her upbringing.

I was so excited for this book, and it did *not* let me down. In fact, to me this is one of the best Flavia books yet. I love that we get to know the stalwart Dogger better, and that Flavia - while growing up - is still her irrepressible self.

And while I will give no spoilers, I will say that this ending - for me - is one of those rare things where it is simply perfect. Most, I find, are good or decent or fit the story - but few are *perfect* for how the story feels to me. In the end, I closed this book with a huge smile and a warm feeling, like I had just spent time over a cuppa with a very close friend. Not a bad way to spend some time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tuomo
The wait for a new Flavia de Luce novel is over, which is a relief given the heart-rending end of the previous novel.

At the start of this one Flavia is on a trip with her sisters and Digger to get away from Buckshaw and the terrible memories it invokes. They're enjoying a gentle ride in a boat when Flavia manages to snag....something.

The pace of this novel is different to previous ones. Flavia is maturing and realizes her sisters aren't completely terrible. Except for the sisters and Digger the other characters are all new and somehow, perhaps, entangled in the unfolding mystery. Was there one murder, three, four or even five?

I enjoyed this immensely and managed to stretch it out for about four days of enthralled reading. I highly recommend it for FoF, Followers of Flavia.

For others, I suggest you start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and enjoy a lot of binge reading to catch up to this one.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
peter pier
I've been a huge fan of Alan Bradley and his marvelous creation, Flavia de Luce, for five or six years now - I usually devour a new release and have read or listened to my favorites in the series several times over...but: this one truly disappointed, compared to the others and is my least favorite...I'm not even sure I can put my finger on it exactly...it was just ordinary, and Flavia is anything but. The characters in the village they were visiting, with one or two exceptions, were flatly written...there was not much at stake for Flavia or her family...there's just not that much there, there - and it's disappointing...There's still a few marvelous passages...and some very good moments...just have to hope that the next installment is back up to par, and par fr this series is well above average
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kevin buckley
I've read virtually the entire series and was delighted to find another new book for 2018. Flavia is such a cheeky smart young woman that soon forget she is only 12 years old. I have listened to all my books on Audible and find that the reader adds much to the personalities in this series. The same person has read all the books. A true pleasure - pure entertainment ... and oh, did I mention if you are a fan of science, especially chemistry, then the books are double the fun.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
shahab
This novel in the Flavia de Luce series has Flavia, her sisters, and Dogger their faithful servant on a punting trip. When they find the drowned body of a young man in the river, they are forced to stay in the village. It's one that, it turns out, is full of mystery and murder.

With plenty of secrets to discover and plenty of unsuspected allies, Flavia and Dogger are able to solve not only the drowning but past murders as well.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
angela riemer
Although I am always excited to read a book with a strong female protagonist and I admire Flavia's confidence and competence, the trope of incredibly intelligent protagonist who is also unbearably arrogant and believes him- or herself superior to everyone in the vicinity has grown old. Flavia, genius though she is, is obnoxious and, at times, manipulative. And the mystery itself was not, in the end, very interesting.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jessica carlson
I’ve loved the Flavia stories from the first book and always long for the next one to come out. However, the series hasn’t been quite the same since Flavia went off to Miss Bodycote’s. The earlier plots were simpler and had a charm that’s missing in the more recent ones. But this was still an interesting story, and there is no other mystery heroine like Flavia. I only have two criticisms. The first is that the ending was too hurried once the killer was revealed. The other is that the most interesting character- the boy Hob- only had two scenes with Flavia, and I was wishing to see more of their friendship. The ending set up a whole new direction for the next book and I hope it returns to the more carefree storytelling of the first books.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
danielle thomas
Like many other readers, I loved the earlier books in this series, but this book needed some serious editing. Somehow the author has managed to make the wonderful Flavia into a seriously annoying character. If I hadn’t been hooked because of the earlier books, I’d have stopped reading after a few chapters. As it was I had to skim through most of the book and doubt I’ll read another. Such a shame....these books have been great up till now
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
cayt o neal
Don’t get me wrong, I love Flavia novels, every single one of them but the ick-factor in this one was really high. Flavia is still remarkable and really far beyond precocious, she is a genius chemist for such a young girl. She is undaunted by a dead body even as her older sisters are retching and definitely daunted. Flavia’s old family retainer, Dogger, is at her side both protecting her and encouraging her. This is truly another page turning read from a remarkable author.

I received this book free for review from the publisher.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
kim shifflett
Flavia on holiday, with her sisters, yet, still finds a mystery. Some people troll for fish but Flavia manages to catch a corpse. Lots o introspection formulaic and otherwise as she seeks the truth that connects the current death to several in the past. A solid entry in this quite amusing series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
joy cervantes
Flavia and Dogger jump right in to this new mystery and am so glad they did. This was another great adventure for Flavia, but why do I feel that it is her last. It almost seemed to me as if this wrapped up the series - sure hope not. Great book as always from Alan Bradley; that Flavia - she is such a scamp!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
mark sieger
This is definitely the best one yet! My very favorite had been when Flavia decided to try to capture Father Christmas on the reef! This has Flavia becoming more herself and maturing into the woman she will become.

Contains many tongue-in-cheek moments that are just a delight.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
hoora
I HAVE ENJOYED ALL OF THE FLAVIA BOOKS—NO ONE ELSE IN LITERATURE MATCHES HER IN WIT, INTELLIGENCE AND CHEEKINESS. ENJOYED THE BOOK UNTIL THE END, BUT THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK FELL SO FLAT, WAS SO UNBELIEVABLE AND POORLY PLOTTED. IT WAS LIKE “IT’S TIME TO WRAP THIS UP” BUT NO WRAPPING OCCURRED.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
emily walker
I am so very pleased to see that book #10 in the Flavia de Luce series is back to 5 star status for me! Alan Bradley has given readers a twelve year old girl and a mystery situation we can fully accept and enjoy. This story picks up six months after the sad ending of the previous story and Flavia, Ophelia, Daphne, Dogger and Mrs. Mullet are suffering under their grief and the rigid decrees from Aunt Felicity. Everyone's future has been mapped out by that dynamic woman, but nothing says they all have to like it. It is Dogger who manages a holiday, a trip paddling down the river. With lazy days, picnics on the river bank and nights spent in inns along the way. Should anybody be surprised when they come to St.-Mildred's-in-the-Marsh, location of the "Poisoning Parson's" murders, and Flavia finds a dead body?

This story is brimming full of the innocence and inventiveness of that chemist-cum-detective, Flavia. These people need to heal from their tremendous grief and this story gives each of them a way to do that. The improvised chemical experiments are exactly what I always enjoyed so much in most of the previous stories. In addition, the mystery is very much worth reading as well as giving the reader the opportunity to solve along with those involved. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am so glad to have "my" Flavia back.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
antonius
A few words about Flavia. F!avia is an expert on the Catholic saints, particularly those who died horrible deaths. Flavia is an expert chemist, instantly knowing the chemical makeup of any compound. Flavia is an expert at solving crimes, particularly murders. Flavia is twelve years old.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
elichka
Like all of Alan Bradley's Flavia deLuce stories, this one is good but it doesn't have the same feeling that all the others had - the same ease or energy. I still liked it and will eagerly await the next installment but I hope he has a bit more dash and derring do in the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kimiko
Alan Bradley’s latest book in the Flavia de Luce series, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, is another interesting tale. Twelve-year-old Flavia is an intriguing character who once again finds herself in the middle of a mystery. All of the books in this series are well worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
tamra
Flavia de Luce is back! But things are a little different now. The newest installment in her adventures has some differences from the first 8 books.

Flavia is no longer a precocious 8 year old. With her father’s death, she is now the owner of her ancestral home of Buckshaw and needs to make decisions that affect her sisters and the servants she has known her entire life.

To help with the family’s grieving, Dogger, one of their faithful servants and also a longtime companion of their father, suggests a boating vacation. As a result, this is the first of Flavia’s adventures to take place away from Buckshaw.

To me, this move breathes new life into the series. While I have enjoyed the prior books, I found them starting to grow a little stale. But moving the setting, and bringing in Dogger as a more active participant in the stories made this one of my favorites since the very early stories.

Recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
bookworm
Great to see Flavia back in fine form and with such wonderful and unexpected support after the last disturbing installment. The ending sets the scene for many more stories. I've heard that the BBC is making this into a series - so look forward to that!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
husna
Flavia on holiday, with her sisters, yet, still finds a mystery. Some people troll for fish but Flavia manages to catch a corpse. Lots o introspection formulaic and otherwise as she seeks the truth that connects the current death to several in the past. A solid entry in this quite amusing series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
valerie dawson
Flavia and Dogger jump right in to this new mystery and am so glad they did. This was another great adventure for Flavia, but why do I feel that it is her last. It almost seemed to me as if this wrapped up the series - sure hope not. Great book as always from Alan Bradley; that Flavia - she is such a scamp!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kara lee
This is definitely the best one yet! My very favorite had been when Flavia decided to try to capture Father Christmas on the reef! This has Flavia becoming more herself and maturing into the woman she will become.

Contains many tongue-in-cheek moments that are just a delight.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
morningdew
I HAVE ENJOYED ALL OF THE FLAVIA BOOKS—NO ONE ELSE IN LITERATURE MATCHES HER IN WIT, INTELLIGENCE AND CHEEKINESS. ENJOYED THE BOOK UNTIL THE END, BUT THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK FELL SO FLAT, WAS SO UNBELIEVABLE AND POORLY PLOTTED. IT WAS LIKE “IT’S TIME TO WRAP THIS UP” BUT NO WRAPPING OCCURRED.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
alcarinque
I am so very pleased to see that book #10 in the Flavia de Luce series is back to 5 star status for me! Alan Bradley has given readers a twelve year old girl and a mystery situation we can fully accept and enjoy. This story picks up six months after the sad ending of the previous story and Flavia, Ophelia, Daphne, Dogger and Mrs. Mullet are suffering under their grief and the rigid decrees from Aunt Felicity. Everyone's future has been mapped out by that dynamic woman, but nothing says they all have to like it. It is Dogger who manages a holiday, a trip paddling down the river. With lazy days, picnics on the river bank and nights spent in inns along the way. Should anybody be surprised when they come to St.-Mildred's-in-the-Marsh, location of the "Poisoning Parson's" murders, and Flavia finds a dead body?

This story is brimming full of the innocence and inventiveness of that chemist-cum-detective, Flavia. These people need to heal from their tremendous grief and this story gives each of them a way to do that. The improvised chemical experiments are exactly what I always enjoyed so much in most of the previous stories. In addition, the mystery is very much worth reading as well as giving the reader the opportunity to solve along with those involved. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am so glad to have "my" Flavia back.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kwang
A few words about Flavia. F!avia is an expert on the Catholic saints, particularly those who died horrible deaths. Flavia is an expert chemist, instantly knowing the chemical makeup of any compound. Flavia is an expert at solving crimes, particularly murders. Flavia is twelve years old.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
vondaseals
Like all of Alan Bradley's Flavia deLuce stories, this one is good but it doesn't have the same feeling that all the others had - the same ease or energy. I still liked it and will eagerly await the next installment but I hope he has a bit more dash and derring do in the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caylen
Alan Bradley’s latest book in the Flavia de Luce series, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, is another interesting tale. Twelve-year-old Flavia is an intriguing character who once again finds herself in the middle of a mystery. All of the books in this series are well worth reading.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
desmond
Flavia de Luce is back! But things are a little different now. The newest installment in her adventures has some differences from the first 8 books.

Flavia is no longer a precocious 8 year old. With her father’s death, she is now the owner of her ancestral home of Buckshaw and needs to make decisions that affect her sisters and the servants she has known her entire life.

To help with the family’s grieving, Dogger, one of their faithful servants and also a longtime companion of their father, suggests a boating vacation. As a result, this is the first of Flavia’s adventures to take place away from Buckshaw.

To me, this move breathes new life into the series. While I have enjoyed the prior books, I found them starting to grow a little stale. But moving the setting, and bringing in Dogger as a more active participant in the stories made this one of my favorites since the very early stories.

Recommended!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
abd rsh
Great to see Flavia back in fine form and with such wonderful and unexpected support after the last disturbing installment. The ending sets the scene for many more stories. I've heard that the BBC is making this into a series - so look forward to that!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
caitlin corrieri
I have read every Flavia de Luce mystery. The characters are wonderful and the stories engaging. This book does not disappoint. She may be my favorite protagonist of all time. I highly recommend this book and the entire series to anyone who will listen.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
catherine holman
Ms deLuce, that's Flavia
won my heart with first boo "...Sweetness..."
Nine books in she's still as great
A fact to which I must bear witness
Say the world has changed a lot;
say I'm growing coarse and wizened;
say I'm growing way too old
But, one thing's clear... Flavia isn't!

With apologies to Leigh Hunt and confessions that there are just so many ways to declare I love this series and you will too (see my other 8 reviews)
Please Rate The Grave's a Fine and Private Place - A Flavia de Luce Novel
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