The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

I keep waiting for this to get old... for me to get tired of the characters, for the plots to start to blend together until the whole series seems stale. Lucky for me, this hasn't happened yet! Flavia is still as delightful as ever, and we get a whole lot more Dogger! The supporting cast is shrinking a bit, as fathers die and sisters get married, but Flavia and Dogger have always been the characters that mattered the most. The central mystery in this excursion is just as convoluted as you'd come to expect from Bradley. How will it all come together? What does one mystery have to do with another? Why the missionaries, why the finger??

You'll not get any spoilers from me.  But honestly, finding out who done it is only half the fun here! Thoroughly enjoyable, highly addictive and never disappointing. Bradley is one of my must read authors and I am so glad I discovered this series!
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Alan Bradley’s character Flavia de Luce is charming and humorous!  As a preteen in1950s England, she uses her knowledge of chemistry to solve crimes,  in this installment, Flavia and Dogger go into business together which is a nice progression in the series.  Well done!
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I was THE most excited when I saw that NetGalley had the newest Flavia mystery available. I love Flavia, and am always ready to read another of her escapades. This novel is a lovely addition to the canon - as Ophelia is finally getting married. But, of course, trouble is afoot. 
Immediately upon cutting the cake, Ophelia discovers someone's bloody finger. And everything snowballs from there. Flavia is thrilled to partner up with Dogger (an amazing man that I could read about for ever), and the ubiquitous Undine, to solve whose finger, and what could possibly had led to its' human's demise. 
I highly recommend reading these books in order to get the relationships' full power, and significance. A truly beautiful series of novels.
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Another fabulous Flavia mystery, charming, funny and you learn some stuff at the same time. Keep them coming, Flavia forever!
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I am a great fan of Flava de Luce and have anticipated they release of this installment with relish. I was therefore, dumbfounded to find the crime she fell into at his sister’s wedding very contrived. I wonder if the leap to make Dogger an official partner in crime was a mistake or it it would have worked with a more sympathetic crime. I’m sad to say I was greatly disappointed.
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I always enjoy an excursion into the world of Flavia de Luce, the chemistry whiz-kid and mystery-solver extraordinaire of rural 1950's England. The mystery in this installment took a back seat to the characters--and there were really only two to focus on, Flavia, and her father-figure/crime-solving-partner Dogger. These two interact beautifully, and Flavia continues to mature emotionally in small ways as she's growing up.
The book did suffer a bit from feeling TOO focused on just Flavia and Dogger. Flavia's cousin Undine is there, but her moments lack a certain punch. Also, there is too little of Flavia's sisters. Granted, the oldest one has just gotten married and is simply absent for most of the book. But even Daphne, though physically present, feels very vague. I miss Flavia's family and extended family.
That said, I did enjoy the book and found the writing witty and interesting.
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Alan Bradley has created one of the most memorable adolescent characters to populate adult fiction. Flavia de Luce is dazzling in her intelligence, charming in her vulnerability, and inspirational in her zest for knowledge. I suspect if we were either housemates or neighbors of Ms. de Luce we would be tempted to sabotage her bicycle, pull on her pigtails, or find some manner of putting her in her place.  But, as a companion for a few hours with a book, she is a definitely someone I seek out.

This book is perhaps the fifth or sixth adventure I have shared with Flavia, and it is not my favorite. I found her interaction with other characters somewhat limited and that disappointed me. But, I love the dynamics of her new "professional" partnership with her family butler and their personal relationship is delightful.

I found it confounding that Flavia, as the principal character, is now an orphan but there was no discussion of her father's death, or how the strained household is functioning with no income.  If it was outlined in the book, I missed it, but it was a factor that bothered me as I read.  In previous books the limited resources of the family were always a factor, so it seemed likely that they would be on rations of bread and water without a head of household--but, no mention made of that element of Flavia's life.

As with most books that are part of a series, some will be more successful than others. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the de Luce household even though it was not my favorite in the series.

NETGALLEY provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a candid review.
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These novels are set in an imaginary English village in the early 1950's.  The compelling heroine, Flavia de Luce.  is in her early teens.  She has a persistent nature and a talent for chemistry which sometimes, of course, gets her into trouble.  The novels move in time but not so much that Flavia loses her childish appeal while maintaining her curious nature.   Flavia is an advanced chemist with her own lab and finds nothing more fun than using her beakers and formulas to answer questions.  

In this book, Dodger, a survivor of WWII, and a former servant in the household, and Flavia have formed their own detective agency.  This ruse is more so that the adult can keep his eye on Flavia without insulting her.  Dogger treats her respectfully as an equal while being aware of larger issues and always allowing her to solve the mystery which he may have done earlier.  

This book begins with the wedding of "Feely" (all the sisters have nicknames), Flavia's older sister.  As Feely cuts into her wedding cake, she finds a severed human finger embedded beneath the icing.  Whose is it and why becomes the mystery to solve. In these charming books, the murder  is always rather secondary to the fun of watching the parentless Flavia try to impress the adults she admires with her deductions and how Dodger encourages her chemistry experiments while trying to shield her from harm.   It is a more innocent time and the murders reflect that.  These are cozy mysteries with no torture leading up to a corpse.

Flavia, in her chemistry lab, sets about identifying mysterious liquids or other substances and gives a running commentary of what she is up to for the reader which is one of the clever and more fun aspects of reading these novels.   There is always a dreamlike quality as the author gently transports the reader through peaceful English gardens and as train whistles penetrate foggy stations.    

There is a dreamlike quality to these novels that transports the reader through English lanes as trains whistle 
through fog.  The former grand manor has seen better days but the faithful staff remains as the drapes become threadbare.   A continuing theme is the respect Flavia craves from the local constable, Inspector Hewitt, who finds her both appealing and annoying.

The addition of Undine, a younger version of Flavia herself without the charm, is nothing more than an irritation taking up space and taking away from the action.  By the end of the first chapter, I found myself hoping she might be the victim.  

Dialogue featuring the cook, Mrs. Mullet, is sometimes written with extreme patois featuring many apostrophes and at other times in standard English.  If she can say things like "guarantees descendants," and "tell me no lies," surely she can say "and."  In one particularly jarring paragraph, she says, "'Else the marriage will be poisoned,"  (no patois) and then "The weddin' cake must be laid down at least six months before the nup-chools?"   Perhaps just saying that Mrs. Mullet responded, dropping her n's and g's as usual rather than doing it for her?   

Of course, it is always fun reading these books and this reader has been a fan since Book One.  Hopefully, Flavia will continue to age at a snail's pace and Mr. Bradley will find a more compelling character to replace Undine.
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Full of Flavia's usual snappy dialogue and witty insight.  Yes, the plot is formulaic, but that is exactly what we expect from our dear Flavia.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

I have enjoyed following Flavia in the Alan Bradley series. In this 10th installment, the reader sees the now teenage Flavia begin to mature and take on a more adult approach to matters. She and Dogger form a detective agency and solve their first case. Although she has successfully solved other mysteries by herself, Flavia is now more comfortable collaborating with others. 

While this mystery is not dependent on the previous books, it would be helpful for the reader to become familiar with the characters by reading one or more of the previous novels. 

I look forward to further adventures of Flavia de Luce.
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As much as I've enjoyed the Flavia de Luce series, I'm happy to see Flavia finally starting to grow up. It seemed like she would be eleven and it would be 1950 forever, and while her precociousness was charming at first, I started to feel a bit weary once we got several books deep. The previous book, The Grave's a Fine and Private Place, dealt with the aftermath of Colonel de Luce's death and the odious cousin Undine settling into Buckshaw for good. This time, Flavia's saying goodbye to Feely, whose wedding is the scene of the murder/precipitating event ( a severed finger found in the wedding cake!), and Daffy doesn't even make an appearance. Flavia and Dogger and their new detective agency are the stars of the show, and even Udine and Mrs. Mullet don't get much attention. 

The mystery is fine for what it is, but I was more interested in what has changes. It's now 1952, and Flavia is showing signs she's growing up. Instead of always having the answers, she defers to Dogger in several conversations, and she even admits when Undine knows something she doesn't. Basically, we get a less snarky, more empathetic Flavia. The mystery of the severed finger is fun, and involves missionaries, relics, a famous musician, con artists, and Flavia galloping around town on Gladys, her trusty bicycle steed. I've heard this is the last book in the series, which makes me a little sad, but I think it's going out on a good note.
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In this 10th installment life for Flavia is full of changes. The most noticeable is her sister Feely's marriage. The more subtle is changes in Flavia herself as she is on the verge of becoming a teenager. Never fear though, Flavia is still a girl that loves chemistry and solving crimes. Imagine her excitement when a human finger is found in her sister's wedding cake! She views it as the perfect first case for her and Dogger to investigate, which unsurprisingly leads to the inevitable tangled and sinister mystery.

As for a rating... 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.

Overall, it was a good continuation of the series, but I doubt it would be a compelling read to someone who hadn't read the first 9 books. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House-Ballantine for providing me with a digital review copy!
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I truly enjoyed this latest addition to the Flavia de Luce series, though I don't think the mystery was quite a tight as some of the previous novels.  However!  It was still a completely charming read, and Flavia is still as Flavia as ever. In this book, we get to learn a little more about Dogger, and see a little bit more of who he is as a person, instead of a fixture of the household.  I think as Flavia grows and matures (slightly), we'll continue to see Dogger in a new light, just as she does.  All in all, highly recommended for fans of the series.
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Thank You Net Galley for the free ARC. 

Yes, Flavia is back and Feely and Dogger and a mysterious case to solve. I love anything Bishop's Lacey and fervently wish BBC would make a TV series out of this wonderful family of novels. Here Flavi and Dogger are running their own detective company and are after some stolen letters and of course, accompanying murders. No worries, chemistry to the rescue!
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3 stars. 

Sigh. I wanted to love The Golden Tresses of the Dead. It’s not the first Flavia de Luce book that I’ve read, and I always have such high expectations going in. I love the Flavia character. I love the wit and the sly humor in the writing. I love cozy mysteries. 

And yet, these never seem to move beyond three stars for me. Perhaps it is because the plot is so ridiculously hard to follow. I reached the end of the book and am still not sure I understand who committed the crime or why. That’s not due to a lack of focus - in fact, I reread a couple chapters several times, even backtracking to different parts of the book to remind myself of characters and plot points. I think it’s ultimately Bradley’s writing that does it in - while it’s often clever, it is unnecessarily dense, and I often have to read the same paragraph 3 or 4 times to catch his meaning. 

I’m sure I’ll keep trying with more of Flavia’s tales, but this isn’t going to be the story that converts me.
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This is a really interesting series, not in that it is a mystery set in 20th century England, but more in the sense of the main sleuth being 10 years old and dealing with such morbid material.
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As good as all of Mr. Bradley's others.  The deepening relationship between Flavia and Dogger is a joy to read, and the typical flavor of the surrounding characters was as fun as always.  Highly recommend both this book and the whole series.
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I had a rough time with the last few books in this series, but they have been inching closer to the origins and this one is pretty close to the Flavia I know and love!  In this book, Dogger and Flavia open a detective agency.  Sadly, their services are required sooner rather than later when a severed finger is found in Feely’s (Flavia’s sister, Ophelia’s) wedding cake.  Flavia has a lot to deal with, what with the new agency, a finger without a body, her sister’s wedding and absence from the house, visiting missionaries, and residual effects of the events from the last book.  All in all, Flavia is back in top form.  I was just a bit confused (as I always am) at the science-y stuff in the middle, as well as the hows and whys of the whodunnit.  Thank goodness there is a recap at the end to catch me up to speed.  I look forward to the next book.  I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. (oh, and I love the cover!)
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Its so nice to catch up with Flavia:) After the death of her father and her oldest sister getting married, she and Dogger set up their own investigative agency. Something is up in Bishop's Lacey and Flavia sets out to find out what. Two missionaries from Africa are staying at Buckshaw but Flavia thinks there's something not right about the two ladies. Leave it to Flavia to be curious and want to "snoop". Her and Dogger are quite the team! It's no secret that I love Flavia and I'm always ready for a new adventure with her. I did miss the interactions with her sisters. Feely is on her honeymoon and Daphne stays in the library writing/reading--and we never get a chance of Flavia being with Daphne. We do get to see everyone else though--Mrs. Mullet, Undine, the vicar's wife, and so one. Another cute installment in the series.

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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There isn’t another series of which I am aware that does such a masterful job of growing a protagonist from child to teen to (eventually) adult. Flavia de Luce has engaged readers since her first appearance in Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and continues to do so throughout the series. Initially a precocious, brilliant but still vulnerable child, we have traveled with Flavia as she has become a (still) brilliant and cheeky teen tempered by tragedy and change. Her insatiable desire to know the world, coupled with her tender regard for Dogger and need for acceptance by the Hewitts has made Flavia into a classic.

In this new entry in the series, we find Flavia and Dogger tackling a new case, precipitated by a gruesome discovery in sister Daphne’s wedding cake. The relationship between Dogger and Flavia continues to develop as they grow their detecting business, and provides a vehicle for the author to demonstrate Flavia’s maturity. Absent both her parents, Flavia looks to Dogger to guide her through difficult situations. 

As we have come to expect, Bradley delivers a clever and funny story that keeps the reader guessing. Fans of the series will eat this up. Recommended.
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