The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Superb! Bradley continues to provide one of the most fascinating series of the past decade. A new release of the adventures of the formidable preteen Flavia de Luce is cause for joyous celebration among the new and old fans of this series.  I'm not one for precocious children but this series smacked me out of that prejudice with the very first story - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  Flavia is a budding chemist, an awkward genius in an impoverished noble family, post WWII.  Bradley has an almost eerie sense of the age-old conflict between childhood and adulthood, and he ably navigates that with Flavia's scientific curiousity and childish desires.  In this new story, Flavia finds two deep mysteries to solve through chemistry and her incessant poking - this time with the help of faithful Dogger.  Readers will be glad to find more of the intriguing Dogger in this story, as well as the inevitable maturing of Flavia. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley (A Flavia  deLuce novel)

Ok, picture this.  You’re at your sister’s wedding and as she takes the first cut in the wedding cake she finds a severed finger.   No one else sees the finger, her sister is carried out of the hall and people are allowed to believe the poor bride was just overcome.   The reception goes on and the cake is served. Yuck.

Flavia and Dogger are the only other ones who saw the finger and after extracting it from the cake take on the task of solving the mystery of whose finger and who put it in the cake and why and when.  

This is pure Flavia. Following the death of her father she has inherited Buckshaw, their home, and has teamed up with Dogger, devoted friend of Flavia’s father, and now Flavia’s partner in their new detective business.  To be honest, I thought Dogger’s powers of perception a little supernatural as he figures out whose finger it could be after a cursory look.   Is anyone really that perceptive??  Maybe it’s just me.

The mystery takes Flavia and Dogger into new territory but it’s her powers as a chemist specializing in poisons where she shines.  Oh, and Flavia?  She’s twelve years old. 

Now, I’ve said in my last blog post about a Flavia deLuce story that we aren’t giving her the due she deserves by delivering her to adults.  Flavia needs to be read by our girls.  If Flavia is twelve years old (and was much younger when we were introduced to her) then your twelve year old girls should be reading her.  

Please don’t think you are protecting your girls from the bad things out there by not letting them read about solving a murder.  Let’s get real.  What do they hear on their own, on their social media, on the television, in the movies, in the news?  Let’s look at it another way.  How about letting her read about a smart girl, one who embraces science, chemistry, deductive reasoning, persistance.  You may have enjoyed Nancy Drew at that age, and yet you didn’t solve murders nor drive a roadster at twelve.

Read a Flavia deLuce novel for yourself, of course, but please pass it on.
Was this review helpful?
Although a new title in the series is always a joy, I was a little disappointed in The Golden Tresses of the Dead...I just didn't feel that it was a strong as others in the series, especially the "finger in the cake" portion of the mystery. I was pleased to see Dogger taking a larger role in the story, and to see burgeoning signs of emotional maturity in Flavia. In all, I enjoyed the book. We're told that this is the final book in the Flavia de Luce series. and I'm sorry to see it end. Much gratitude to NetGalley and Delacourt Press for access to the eARC in return for an honest opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I received this e-book ARC of The Golden Tresses of the Dead through Net Galley from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine in exchange for a truthful review.

This is the tenth installment of the Flavia de Luce series and I tried to make it last as long as possible, with the hopes that this won't be the final installment!
In trying not to give away any spoilers, I'll just say that this is a bit older and bit wiser, but still classic, Flavia. You'll get a bit of color from family and friends and Gladys, but the main focus is Flavia (and Dogger) doing their best investigative work together with murder and lots of cool chemistry involved.
Was this review helpful?
The last Flavia De Luce book felt a bit flat but this one was a return to form.
Flavia and Dogger have opened a detective agency and have their first customer. But she ends up dead. And it seems that her death may be connected to the object found in Ophelia's wedding cake. Add in two missionaries and you have connected mysteries.
Undine is starting to get more involved but she is feeling an awful lot like a plot moppet. And I'm not sure that this book was fairly clued though it felt like it was supposed to be.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out January 19
ARC kindly provided by publisher and NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
"There is no cozier place on earth to discuss body-snatching than a gently-rocking railway carriage in the rain."

Yes, we are back in the world of Flavia de Luce as she travels with her late father's valet (and now partner in a detective agency) Dogger to Gollingford Abbey, which looks "like nothing so much as a London railway station that had hoisted its skirts one night in the dark of the moon." Why?

It all begins with a wedding cake, crafted six months early by Mrs. Mullet, the family cook. It was baked with hawthorne twigs (which once hid the stench of death) and hazel (for fertility). Although said cake was locked in a cabinet and guarded during its transit to sister Ophelia's wedding to Dieter, there to be iced and guarded anew, somehow a severed finger has found its way into the very first slice. Once Feely's hysteria subsides, Flavia and Dogger soon deduce that the finger once grew on the hand of a recently-deceased left-handed woman who played Spanish guitar, and who studied with Segovia. How did she die? Poison, of course, and the detectives are off!

Some characters from previous episodes are back, including Inspector Hewitt, Antigone, and Undine, but they play minor roles. Flavia's bookish sister Daphne remains hidden in her beloved library, where (according to Mrs. Mullet), she is reading Useless by some woman named Joyce.

Longtime readers will note that Flavia, who can still say "personally, I delight in deliquescence" with the best of them, is growing up. At twelve, she remains a child whose anthropomorphic care of her bicycle Gladys is meticulous. However, she also begins to experience sincere outbursts of compassion and empathy for fellow humans. Our little near-feral genius child is beginning to grow into her vocabulary. What a treat it will be for her readers.

Highly recommended. Minus one star if you are not familiar with the series, since not enough backstory is provided to fully introduce the characters and setting.

Thanks to NetGally for the review copy.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce is once again right in the middle of a huge mystery! I love Flavia, the twelve-year-old chemist, sleuth, child extraordinaire! You'll love this great story about Flavia investigating a severed finger that is found in her sister's wedding cake! Add murder, more mystery and a cast of zany characters to bundle together for a great story that will have you reading and laughing into the night! This book is number 10 in the series (not the first that I've read) and I love reading Alan Bradley's well-written and delightful prose. 

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley will be available January 22, 2019 from Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine. An egalley of this book was made available by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a new author for me and I understand it is the end of this series. I was lost with the characters as I was unable to connect with them. Regular readers will enjoy the book.
At the wedding of Flavia older sister, Flavia finds a finger in the cake. This started a new adventure for the team of Dogger and Flavia. She learned about the various abilities of the chemicals. They managed to visit an elder person in a retirement home to look for some missing letters. Flavia meets a couple of missionaries from Africa. Her cousin Undine plays an important role in the case. I recommend this book.

Disclosure: Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballentine. The opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I just love Alan Brandley's Flavia de Luce series! Everyone of them is so good! While you should read them in order, I have skipped a few, and it doesn't seem to affect your ability to follow what is happening, as each story is a stand a lone mystery. This one, again, did not disappoint!!

I would LOVE to see these made into a PBS TV series! I can just picture it so well in my head!

Thank you NETGALLEY for an ARC of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce, the twelve-year-old chemist and amateur detective "with better than an average brain," is eager to turn professional. She and her father's valet, Dogger, have founded a detective agency, Arthur Dogger & Associates, and unexpectedly cut into their first case during the revelry at her sister Ophelia's wedding reception. 

After an eventful ceremony with a missing best man and spontaneous ventriloquist act, spirits are high as Feely and her new husband head for the towering and beautifully iced wedding cake. But as Feely slices into the first piece, a scream rings out--the bridal cake contains a severed human finger. Delighted, Flavia wraps the finger in a napkin and whisks it away to her chemical laboratory. By studying the embalmed skin, the indentation of a ring, and the slope of the fingernail, she'll not only be able to determine the identity of the victim--but also point a finger at a killer

I love this series but I have mixed feelings. As usual I enjoyed the writing style and characters. It's always fun to spend more time in Flavia's head. In this case, her confusion over her pendulum of emotions (such as confidence to uncertainty, or joy to deep sadness) felt realistic and relatable. It's also great that Flavia now has Dogger as a full-time partner in crime (solving) that she can confide in. However, I felt rather indifferent about the actual mystery. While the science was fascinating, I never was overly concerned with figuring out what was going on. Even when the mystery was explained, the motives and chain of events weren't very clear to me.
Was this review helpful?
Sigh, where has the time gone! Flavia seems so grown up in this book! She's slightly older than my daughter, but oh so more independent and mature! Not only is she dealing with family upheaval, she and Dogger have an official case to solve, or do they? When their client is no more, suddenly they have more cases than they can handle, or do they have 1 interlinked case? The local police are finally coming around as well to how Flavia's science is what new Scotland Yard espouses. Will the two meet and solve the case before them, before death strikes again? This is a fun page turner, and a welcome addition to the series!
Was this review helpful?
Flavia de Luce is my favorite character of all time.  Alan Bradley has really created something special in the de Luce family.  The Golden Tresses of the Dead was a wonderful surprise.  Since the events of the last book, Flavia and Dogger have built a special bond.  They rely on each other for support and caring.  Two broken people that have had such tragedy that continue on with that quintessential stiff upper lip.  

Flavia as always find a mystery or a mystery finds her.  This time it is a finger in her sister Feely's wedding cake.  Who would do such a thing!!! Flavia has the presence of mind to hide the finger while others calm Feely down and the reception goes on.  The next morning a client show up asking for help from Arthur Dogger and Associates.  It seems some letters have gone missing from Miss Prim's residence.  Could the two mysteries be connected?  

Wonderfully executed mystery with characters you will cherish.  This is a series that I always recommend in reader's advisory interviews.
Was this review helpful?
I always love to read about Flavia's next adventure.  This book did not disappoint.  She is growing as a character and the author gets this point across in a subtle way.  I look forward to,many more adventures with Flavia.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the latest Flavia adventure. I just adore Flavia she is a strong young girl with a love of poisons and solving mysteries! "Golden Tresses of the Dead" did not disappoint...kept me hooked and I totally did not see the ending coming! Thank you to Alan Bradley for Flavia, Dogger, and all the other characters. If only I could spend some time at Buckshaw!
Was this review helpful?
I often find myself handing this series to mystery lovers who are looking for something fresh. It is a delightfully different kind of mystery, and this latest installment does not disappoint.
Was this review helpful?
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of the book in return for an honest and fair review. 
Bradley has written another excellent mystery starring the inimitable Flavia de Luce and her talented butler, Dogger. When a local woman is found poisoned, the investigation team goes into action to find the murderer. The reader is treated to the usual local color found in Bishop's Lacey, as well as a few new characters. As always, a pleasure to read, highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
How can you not love a book with the word "flibbertigibbet" describing someone?!?!  I read the first Flavia de Luce book in 2009, and I have been hooked ever since.  I love Alan Bradley's old school mystery style, and he has created such a character in Flavia.  She is young teen, sleuth, and amateur chemist living in her sprawling family estate in 1950s England.  Her small town of Bishop's Lacey occasionally has a murder or some other mystery pop up that Flavia cannot help but become involved in solving.  She is dry and witty, and at times the things she says and thinks make me laugh out loud.  

In the "Golden Tresses of the Dead", her older sister, Feely, has just been married.  At her reception, she cuts into the cake to find a severed finger.  This severed finger leads Flavia and Dogger, her mentor of a sort, off to solve a mystery which leads them another bigger mystery.  I would recommend these books to adults of all ages plus advanced young readers needing something at a higher level, but without the worry of them reading anything with sex and/or bad language.
Was this review helpful?
Golden Tresses of the Dead  by Alan Bradley
Missionary ladies, odd wicker cages, poisonings, quack remedies — and a finger in Feely’s wedding cake — all perplex the Discrete Investigations by Flavia and Dogger.  Lessons in persistence, cleverness, lying and chemistry are intriguing, as are lessons in life and philosophy. 
I especially liked Dogger’s calm and instructive interactions with young cousin Undine, insights into how he helped Flavia grow into the confident and competent individual she is.  There are hints of an ongoing friendship with Collie, lovely to see Flavia cultivating a friend near her own age and showing such consideration for his feelings.  I also hope for a reconciliation with the inspector’s wife Antigone.  As Flavia is growing, learning a bit of necessary tact, and gaining others’ respect for her work, her future adventures continue to amaze and entertain.
Was this review helpful?
So now we do (definitively: see here) have the final Flavia. 

And it is quite... flat for me. 

I'm never going to complain about a heavy focus on Dogger, which the tenth and final book in the Flavia series gifts us. Same with Gladys, who acted in the same endearing way she always does. 

But they were the only two characters (other than Flavia herself) who were the most present originals; Flavia is virtually an orphan in this story, which is likely intentional and a pointed gesture to her growing up and how her life is changing, but it just felt to me like the rest of her family was unceremoniously ushered off the stage too early. Undine flashes in and out but I never liked her, have mostly chosen to ignore her, and she's a recent addition anyway. It felt like when you watch a television sitcom or drama and while you finish it all out, afterwards you realize that by the end they'd rotated the majority of the original cast out and it all just leaves you feeling bitter and sad and slightly cheated. 

Back when I reviewed #9 (The Grave's a Fine and Private Place), I indicated that that one may have been the final in the series and I remember feeling like I was quite fine with that; I liked where that one ended and it was bittersweet and lovely and finely ended. 

I still feel that way. 

This one, while I acknowledge has much of the same characterizations and lovely writing readers have grown to love, felt like... well, it felt a bit like a contract being fulfilled, without much thought given to it being the last book. It felt like one of the three-stars in the middle of the series that I didn't regret reading, certainly, but was unmemorable and not quite fulfilling everything I've come to love about bright and dark and witty Flavia. 

Random House generously provided an ARC. The book is released on January 22, 2019. Should you read it, particularly if you've read the entire series? Certainly - why not, if you've come this far? And it's not as if there aren't fantastic moments with Flavia and with Dogger and the two of them together. Just, unfortunately, don't expect it to be as good of an ending to the series as #9 was.
Was this review helpful?
Excellent. Bradley is able to keep the series fresh while addressing the changes in Flavia's life and her growing up. I can't wait to see what happens with Undine, who up until now has mostly been the annoying little cousin. In book 10 we finally see Feely getting married. As she is cutting the wedding cake she cuts into a finger. Flavia is able to get the finger before any of the other guests see what has happened. She and Dogger search for the fingers owner. During their search, their new detective agency is hired to find some missing letters, and the family is asked to house some missionaries. Bradley weaves all of these stories and characters together artfully.
Was this review helpful?