Summer Time and the Livin’ is Easy – Making Time to Read- Alan Bradley’s The Dead and Their Vaulted Arches

I’ve been reviewing books that I have loved reading this summer. August days are dwindling down and my summer reading has been more than satisfactory. The highlight of ‘making time to read’ is a trip planned with book club friends to Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Bookstore this week. Click Here for more about Quail Ridge.  I consider Alan Bradley a writer’s writer always demonstrating how it should be done. Hence, I’m recommending another book in his series. (Book jacket on right.)No one writes a setting- a time, a sense of place into a story better than Bradley. Here is an example:

Mrs. Mullet had fetched out and cleaned one of the mothballed school uniforms that Harriet, when she was my age, had been made to wear at Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, Canada: a black-belted horror worn with long black stockings and a white blouse that made me look like one of those grotesque but amusing creatures from Ronald Searle’s St. Trinian’s cartoons. Like Father and Dogger, Mr. Searle had been a prisoner of the Japanese in Singapore, and his work was much admired by some of us at Buckshaw. 

Here is the blurb about this story, which will give you a peek into the world of Flavia de Luce. On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her lost mother, Harriet. Upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and the usual village characters, another well written, wonderful story unfolds.


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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