The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

The Golden Tresses of the Dead
By:  Alan Bradley
Random House Publishing- Ballantine 
Publication Date:  January 22, 2019
4 Stars

Like many other Flavia fans, I’ve been anxiously looking forward to reading the latest novel in this series, and the book did not disappoint.  Alan Bradley shows the reader the difference between a good writer and a great writer with his writing style.  I found myself rereading passages just to enjoy the richness of the writing again.
	“I was expecting her voice to be a harsh bird like cry, but when it came, it took me by surprise,
	for it was a voice like old mahogany polished with beeswax:  rich, warm, and surprisingly deep.”

He has also done an first-rate job of creating such a unique and memorable character in Flavia.  It’s always so hard to say goodbye to her and the end of each novel.

This time around Flavia and Dogger have created a detective agency, and just in time.  For at Feely’s wedding, a finger was found in the wedding cake.  However, before Dogger and Flavia can fully analyze this mystery, a woman approaches them to recover some sensitive letters.  Their investigations lead them from a Spanish guitarist, an incapacitated herbalist doctor, to a pair of recently returned missionary ladies.  

In this novel, we see Flavia still dealing with the pains of death.
	“I know it sounded silted, but conversations about death in one’s own family are always like
	that.  They are so close to the bone that we throw up a wall of words around them to deflect
	the arrows of hurt:  guarded words like ‘lose’ and ‘terrible blow’ when, in truth, you wanted to 
	lie down, hug your head, and howl.”

Flavia is also growing up and we can see this in her relationships with some of the other characters.  Her relationships with Undine, Mrs. Mullet, the vicar’s wife, and the inspector all mature. But, the most meaningful of all her relationship changes are with Dogger.   She is also growing up and we see this in her thinking process.  Instead of just acting on impulse, she is thinking before speaking and reacting.  She also seems to recognize her own faux pas.

Anyone who has enjoyed any of the great mystery writers or previous Flavia novels will enjoy this book!

Thanks to Net Galley and Random House Publishing – Ballantine books for an ARC of this book.  #NetGalley #TheGoldenTressesOfTheDead
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What can I say that hasn't already been said?  Mr. Bradley does it again!

So, once again we are immersed in the world of 1950's England, accompanying Flavia de Luce as she navigates yet another murder mystery, this time aided and abetted by the faithful Dogger.  Flavia's oldest sister is getting married, and it's a lovely wedding, right up until a finger is found in the cake!  With that disturbing discovery we are off on another adventure.

The maturing of Flavia from precocious youngster to blossoming young girl, the emergence of Dogger from his solitary, silent shell (the result of captivity as a POW during WWII) to become a quick witted and capable partner in sleuthing, and the informative science behind the working mind of Flavia and her chemical experiments that search for clues, all add up to a very satisfying romp thru the English countryside and the wonderful characters who inhabit it.

There's no better way to while away a sunny afternoon lounging in your back garden.  And no better people to spend your time with than Alan Bradley and Flavia de Luce.

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Flavia de Luce is the 12 year old heroine of a series of mysteries; this is the tenth installment. At this point, she is an orphan, with one sister marrying and one sister ensconced in the library. Her father figure is Dogger, her late father’s aide (and, I think, gardener), her partner in a private detective firm. He provides advice and, when needed, an adult presence when snooping is undertaken. 

At Ophelia’s wedding, things go awry right off- when she cuts the cake, she finds an embalmed human finger. Flavia spirits this off before the guests see it, and the party goes on. Despite Ophelia’s leaving, the house is not empty; two missionary women are staying with them, and they seem, well, odd. Then a couple of dead people turn up, and Flavia and Dogger’s investigation turns up even odder things. On top of that, they get their first paying case.

The story is fun, and I enjoyed it, even though things didn’t always seem to get properly tied up. I occasionally lost track of who was who, what with multiple plot lines running. With the young age of the protagonist, I assume it’s written for tweens, but the plot(s) are interesting enough to engage an adult. I enjoyed that a girl of 12 was that mature, and her proficiency in chemistry. Four stars.
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12-year old Flavia is back with another crime to solve; this time when a severed finger is found in her sister’s wedding cake. Precocious chemist/whiz kid Flavia and wise mentor Dogger are on the case. I love everything about this great team, their shenanigans, banter and clever reasonings. Bradley is a master of witty dialogue and distinctive turn-of-phrase.

*Will post online closer to publishing date and post links below.  Loved the story.
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Thanks so much to Netgalley for providing me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was lucky enough to get the previous book as well, and am happy I didn't have to wait till publication for this one. I enjoyed this installment of the series much more than the last one. I feel like Flavia is at her best when she's at home. And I love Dogger, and was glad to see that he is featured even more in this episode. The mystery was interesting, the chemistry informative, and Flavia is a delight as always. I was also enthralled by Undine - her scenes are always fun to read. Overall, a really enjoyable series. I was sad to read that this is the final book in the series. I highly recommend reading all of them!
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Flavia de Luce is a great character - a young woman who is a very smart scientist!   This book is amusing and fun, and a great addition to the series. 

Flavia and Dogger have started  a detective agency, "Arthur W. Dogger & Associates. Discreet Investigations".  The beginning of the book is the wedding of Flavia's sister Feely and Dieter, a German flyer who stayed on after being a prisoner.   When Feely begins to cut the wedding cake, a finger falls out.  Flavia quickly pockets it before anyone else notices.   Back home, Dogger immediately figures out it belongs to a Spanish woman who plays classical guitar.  He assumed it must belong to Mme. Adriana Castelnuovo, who was a guitarist who recently died.  Then, a local woman, Mrs. Prill their first client, shows up to ask them to find some missing letters.  Dogger realizes she is the daughter of Dr. Brocken (who was an herbalist) and is in a private hospital near to the Brookwood Cemetary where Adriana was buried.  Dogger and Flavia take a train to the cemetary where they find the finger must have been obtained before the burial, and that Dr. Brocken may not be as crazy as he was made out to be.  

Then, they find their client, Mrs. Prill, dead from poisoning by rare African beans.  Flavia is asked to allow two missionaries to stay at Buckshaw, and finds they have been in Africa and then stayed for three days with Mrs. Prill.   The police would like Dogger and Flavia to stay out of their cases, but they MUST continue sleuthing, and solve more than one puzzle.
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Another excellent edition to a wonderful series! Full of twists and turns that leaves you wanting more and enjoying each moment until the end when the killer is caught.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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"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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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