The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Flavia's sister, Feely, is finally getting married. But at the wedding, as Feely and Dieter cut their cake, Feely slices into a human finger! How very Flavia! It's certainly a case for Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, with Flavia being the main associate, of course. And, not long after, the two are hired by a Mrs. Prill to help track down some missing letters. Flavia and Dogger barely know where to focus first. Then someone else winds up dead--with Flavia and Dogger in the thick of things--and things spiral from there..

"Aside from that-except for the human remains-it was a beautiful occasion."

So says Flavia of Feely's wedding, in very Flavia fashion. By now, if you've read the first nine books in this series, this one will feel quite familiar and sweet to you. Flavia is her usual fun, clever self, and I can't help but love her to pieces. She's up to her usual tricks in her laboratory and busy working away with her beloved Dogger, who may be the best butler/sidekick/friend in the history of mystery novels.

"I'd like to remark at the outset that I'm a girl with better than an average brain."

These books are always wonderfully descriptive, and I love seeing the world from Flavia's unique point of view:

"I don't know if you've ever dissected a rat, but to me, there was only one word for it: exhilarating."

Flavia and Dogger have two cases to solve here--and they intersect quickly. We get plenty of Flavia and Dogger time, which is great. Unfortunately, Feely is shipped off on her honeymoon, and we barely see any of Daffy. I missed the usual sarcasm and biting wit that comes with de Luce sister time. There is more of Flavia's cousin, Undine, who I admit is growing on me (and perhaps Flavia?). She will be a good companion Flavia, I think.

Sadly, though, I've read in several places that this is the last of the Flavia de Luce series. If so, this book felt woefully unresolved on several fronts for me. The mysteries felt underwhelming, as if the loose ends didn't really tie together; I was confused about how it all wrapped up in the end. And if this is really the last book, it just didn't seem as if it did our amazing heroine justice. Flavia went out with a whimper, not a bang. I would have liked to see more finality, more resolution somehow, instead of some partially ended cases and no real conclusion. It just didn't feel like a satisfactory end to what has been an amazing series featuring such a plucky girl who has been through so very much.

Still, I'm really glad I've had a chance to read this series, and I certainly enjoyed this book and all of Flavia's adventures. She's such a fun, unique character, and I can't recommend this lovely series enough. 3.5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia's big sister Feely is getting married, a procedure that bores Flavia until a severed finger shows up in the cake. Then her new agency, Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, gets an even better chance to practice their deductions when they get a real customer. Anastasia Prill's purloined letters lead Flavia and her associate Dogger down a path littered with skulduggery. Though the story is supposedly Flavia's, it is Dogger who actually solves the case; Flavia contributes chemistry and shameless nosiness. She makes a charmingly morbid narrator and her relationship with Dogger is delightful, but making Flavia second fiddle in her own book lessens both the narrative and the mystery.
Was this review helpful?
I have come to see Flavia, Dogger, Mrs. Mullet, and Buckshaw as such warm, comfortable friends. The mystery in this one was as well-designed as always, and the writing, impeccable. I did miss the sisterly dynamic, but Undine provides a new spin on that thread. Another Flavia hit!
Was this review helpful?
"Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. "A church is a wonderful place for a wedding," muses Flavia, "surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar." Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve - not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger."

The highlight of a new year for me is a new Flavia de Luce book!
Was this review helpful?
I’ve enjoyed every book that I have read in the series. I was captivated by the character of Flavia de Luce right from the very first. Her character has grown considerably even though she is still only twelve years old.

She is still working with her poisons which continue to captivate her but she is also actively solving mysteries as part of the Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, Discreet Investigations group (of two – Dogger and herself.) With the maturing of the group, there has been a change in how the mysteries are being solved.

Dogger has emerged as a kind of Sherlock Holmes type character. He seems to the the individual who comes up with conclusions while Flavia is more of a Watson type who has access to her laboratory for testing bits and pieces for poison, et al. She sits in admiration as Dogger states the case, proposes action, and comes up with solutions. He also seems to know the chemical essentials of what Flavia will be testing, so Flavia is relegated to almost a technician status.

However, she is still front and center as the character of note in the fun and funny happenings that seem to surround this area of England. The character of her cousin, Undine, was a taste of the first Flavia but on steroids. Undine is even younger, is rather obnoxious at times, is incredibly smart (with a photographic memory) and has, for her age, a rather regrettable knowledge of the bad elements of the world.

The story is interesting but the solution is just a tad off. While the whodunnit is solved, there is no reference to punishment or proof other than Dogger and Flavia’s say so. Without going into the end, I wish that it was a bit more expanded upon. While it may be that it would be done in the future, the books do not seem to capture what is decided in the courts at later dates.

Still, this is a series that I enjoy and I look forward to the next book. If it is the eleventh book in the series or the first in a new one, I will certainly be reading it.

I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley is the very highly recommended 10th Flavia de Luce novel. Twelve-year-old Flavia has formed a private detective agency with Dogger and the two take on their first case and client.

Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, Discreet Investigations, is now in business at Buckshaw. Flavia and Dogger discover their first case at her sister Ophelia's wedding in the chapel at Bishop’s Lacey. How did a severed finger end up in the wedding cake and who does it belong to? Then they take on their first client when Anastasia Prill asks them to find some stolen letters belonging to her father. The case deepens when something happens to Miss Prill and two missionaries, Doris Pursemaker and Ardella Stonebrook, end up staying at Buckshaw. While Flavia and Dogger are applying their detective skills to the cases, Flavia's cousin, Undine, seems intent to be in the way.

Flavia is well established as a chemistry prodigy in the series set in 1950s England. It's always nice to see a strong female character with a gift for science featured in a novel. At this point she is a well-developed character and it is entertaining to follow along the plot as she deduces clues, works in her lab, and follows leads to solve the case. Flavia and Dogger work great together and it's nice to see him gently helping Flavia. I would predict that Undine is going to begin to play a much larger role in the books and will take over Flavia's former bratty persona, as in this outing Flavia is definitely maturing and growing up. It almost seems that she is older now and might need another birthday soon.

These are all well-written novels and are Bradley inserts a fair amount of humor in the narrative that makes these novels even more enjoyable than simply a who-done-it.  While not YA, all of the Flavia novels are suitable for teens to adults. They should be read in order so you have Flavia's whole backstory and family history.  The word is the Bradley will be continuing the series, so expect more cases for Arthur W. Dogger & Associates, Discreet Investigations in the future.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/01/the-golden-tresses-of-dead.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2676774683
https://www.librarything.com/work/21906287/reviews/164553630
https://twitter.com/SheTreadsSoftly/status/1085669437745909760
Was this review helpful?
I love getting to return to this world and spend more time with Flavia! If you aren’t already a fan of the series, this is the tenth book in the Flavia de Luce series that started with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. 

Flavia is a 12 year old who is very interested in chemistry, poisons and crime investigation. It’s hard to describe what’s so wonderful about this series because for me it isn’t much about the individual cases but really is about getting to spend time with Flavia. She reminds me of a pre-teen Veronica Mars living in 1952 England - always ready for the next case she stumbles across! 

Delightful isn’t a word I normally use but it’s the best word to describe this reading experience - I so often find myself smiling at the pages as I read. I love that Flavia can move in the span of a few pages from a serious crime investigation to speeding down the road on her trusty bike Gladys, pretending to be in a submarine. 

The case in this book wasn’t my favorite - but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment at all. I can’t wait for the next book and the opportunity to continue seeing what Flavia, Dogger, Undine, Gladys and the rest get up to next! Thank you to Netgalley and Delacorte Press for the advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 stars
THE GOLDEN TRESSES OF THE DEAD by Alan Bradley is a brand new Flavia de Luce mystery. This one starts with a wedding for Flavia's sister and then delves into the partnership between Flavia and Arthur Dogger (family retainer who was valet to her late father) as they work to try and solve their first official case. The missing letters they seek soon are entangled with a homicide. As readers of this blog know, Flavia is a beguiling, precocious teen sleuth and a definite personal favorite. After all, who can possibly not be charmed by her observation abilities, such as: "There is no cozier place on earth to discuss body-snatching than a gently rocking railway carriage in the rain." OR "As no mean dissembler myself -- oh, all right, as a downright filthy fibber when the occasion and circumstances required -- I know all too well the liar's tendency to stitch and embroider the truth until it resembled the winner of the Best Tea Towel Award at the church fete." Alan Bradley exhibits a masterful tendency to transport his mystery readers to Bishop's Lacey, rural England in the 1950s. He entertains humorously along the way. THE GOLDEN TRESSES OF THE DEAD received starred reviews from both Booklist and Publishers Weekly.  Enjoy!
Was this review helpful?
Intrepid 1950s English girl sleuth and chemist Flavia de Lucia returns in Alan Bradley's The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Ballantine, digital galley), suitably devastated that older sister Ophelia is getting married and suitably delighted when a severed finger shows up in the wedding cake. She immediately whisks it away for testing, and she and sleuthing partner Dogger, her late father's valet, conclude it's the embalmed digit of a recently deceased woman reknowned for her skill on the guitar. How this ties in with the homeopathic remedies of Dr. Augustus Brocken (confined by his infirmities to Gollingford Abbey), his daughter's search for stolen letters, and two missionary ladies recently arrived from Africa makes for one of Flavia's most interesting and macabre investigations. A train trip to visit a Victorian cemetery and the surprising help of Flavia's snarky cousin Undine are among the highlights, although Flavia might choose the dissection of a poisoned rat.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce has joined forces with her late father's valet Dogger to form Arthur W. Dogger & Associates and that can only lead to trouble. As Flavia's sister is cutting her wedding cake, she shrieks and discovers a finger in the cake slice. Flavia quickly makes the finger vanish and convinces her sister there was nothing to see. Of course Flavia has other ideas of how to handle to finger and races to study it in her laboratory.

Hijinks and adventure for Flavia and her new sidekick, Undine, her younger cousin.
Was this review helpful?
Word is that this will NOT be Flavia's last adventure!!! *phew*

Now that that is out of the way! I haven't listened to a Flavia audiobook since [book:Speaking from Among the Bones|13642963] but I still have Jayne Entwhistle's charming Flavia voice in my head. :) She's delightful, listen to the audiobooks!

Arthur W. Dogger & Associates. *swoon* I LOVE Dogger and Flavia so so much. Everyone seems to have moved on fairly well from the traumatic events of [book:Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd|26194013]. Feely's getting married, Daffy's working on her "memoirs," and Flavia, along with Dogger, has opened an amateur investigative firm! Oh and Undine is still hanging around. But she may have potential... There was a whole lot of sleuthing going on in this book! I didn't know which end was up, it was very  convoluted. There are some beautiful quotes that I will share on pub day, from my uncorrected proof. I hope they still made it into the finished product!
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce continues to be a top-notch detective but her circumstances are changing. Dogger has become her partner in a detective agency. This should allow the series to continue on with a new vitality. Dogger has always been a favorite character and it is good to see him investigating with Flavia. The book starts with Feeley's wedding, but she and Daffy are mostly absent from the plot. I was glad to see Flavia thaw a little towards Undine. She, like Flavia, has had a tough young life and needs some nourishing of her own. The mystery is a little confusing, but that's not why I read these books. I will await Flavia's next adventure with anticipation.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia is back. After a couple of more maudlin books dealing with Flavia's family tragedies I feel like things are back to a new normal at Buckshaw. Flavia and Gladys are off to find more bodies and solve more crimes in Bishop's Lacey and surrounding areas. 

I always enjoy seeing Flavia in her element and this book was no different. The downsides? Feely off on her honeymoon in the second chapter and very, very, very little Daffy. And very, very, very much Undine. I confess that this is the first time I've liked Undine. But I didn't need this much Undine. Nobody needs this much Undine. Plenty more Dogger, too. That, however, is a welcome addition. Dogger and Flavia together? Always gold. 

The best book in the series? It is not. A worthy read for fans of Flavia? Yes. 

If this is the last in the series? I hope it isn't.

Thanks to Net Galley and Random House Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I thoroughly enjoyed The Golden Tresses of the Dead. I'm a huge fan of Flavia de Luce, and I think this is the only long-running mystery (or really any) series that I've read every installment. This is the tenth book!

This time, a human finger is found in Flavia's sister's wedding cake. Ugh. And, then a mysterious woman comes to talk to Flavia and Dogger (the first client of Arthur W. Dogger & Associates) about some missing letters. Of course, these two situations are in no way connected ;)

Flavia, now twelve-years-old, is her usual astute and precocious self, but the addition of Dogger to the mix (he's much more talkative in this one) is splendid. Their banter, which as usual adds irrelevant and absolutely enchanting detail to the story, is priceless. I'm predicting we see more of Flavia's cousin, Undine, and her talents in future books too. I can't wait.

We don't see much of Flavia's sisters in The Golden Tresses of the Dead, and I missed their acrimonious relationships. All of the other standard characters make appearances. The other niggling thought I have is that there were several loose ends left hanging. There is closure, but Flavia and Dogger don't have all the details worked out. They leave it to Inspector Hewitt to fill them in! And we as readers are left.

But that is a small thing, and overall The Golden Tresses of the Dead is an excellent addition to the series. It isn't necessary that you read all of the books, but the background helps, I think. At least read the first one, which I think will always be my favorite, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. And if you are at all interested in chemistry or forensics, this series is a must!
Was this review helpful?
I love this series!!! This one starts out with Feely finally getting married but things don't go as planned when a finger turns up in the wedding cake. Luckily Arthur W. Dogger and Associates: Discreet Investigations are on the case.
Was this review helpful?
Bradley does it again.  I'll be sad to see Flavia go when he finishes this series.  I can't wait to see how the series ends, though, in the next book.
Was this review helpful?
The much-loved Flavia is back for the tenth installment, and as with each previous book, she's grown a little. Sure, she's still unsettlingly precocious, but the more responsibility and weight that's settled on her shoulders, the less annoying I find it. There are a lot of characters and elements to the investigation in this book. The ending and the putting together of all the pieces was done really quickly, and I had to go back a couple of times to make sure I was catching all the bits of the rapidly assembled ending, but it's entertaining to watch Flavia and Dogger at work in their newly "official" capacity.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. The latest Flavia De Luce story has a slight change of cast. Feeny’s wedding and departure starts the book, Daffy is virtually unheard, but Dogger steps into a starring role. Dogger and Flavia have started a detective agency. Drama starts early with Feeny cutting into a human finger that had been stuck into her wedding cake! A couple of poisoning deaths occur and Flavia and Dogger are on the case. It’s not my favorite of the series, but Flavia is such a delight!
Was this review helpful?
Here’s to Flavia deLuce, my new Nancy Drew. As much as I loved the girl detective then, I am even more delighted to know this new incarnation. The books just keep getting better and Bradley keeps the series fresh with the plot and injection of new characters. I am also pleased to see cousin Undine coming into her own.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. Flavia is an expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, .

For all of us fans who have devoured every Flavia book, it was nice to have a copy of this one to read over my Christmas holidays.  And Flavia did not disappoint.  Nor did Dogger for that matter.  I was drawn right into the book from the first with the discovery of the finger in the wedding cake.  While Flavia has always been solving murders, I really like the fact that they have set it up as a business.  And I especially got a chuckle out of the Inspectors reaction. I did miss having her sisters interacting in the book.  The wedding seemed to take Ophelia away completely.  But maybe they will be more a part of future books.  My only complaint would be that it is much too long between Flavia books since I enjoy them so much.

I received a free copy of this book.  The review is my very own.
Was this review helpful?