cover image The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Flavia de Luce Novel

The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Flavia de Luce Novel

Alan Bradley. Delacorte, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-54002-7

A ghoulish question is at the heart of Bradley’s excellent 10th Flavia de Luce novel set in 1950s England (after 2018’s The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place): “How had an embalmed finger found its way from the hand of a dead woman in a Surrey cemetery into the heart of a wedding cake at Buckshaw?” Though only in her early teens, chemistry prodigy Flavia has formed a private detective agency with Arthur Dogger, her late father’s valet, at the family estate of Buckshaw. The discovery at her sister Ophelia’s wedding of the severed digit—which turns out to have come from the corpse of a guitar impresario—presents Flavia and Dogger with her first case. Meanwhile, the sleuths get their first client when Anastasia Prill asks for their help in recovering some sensitive stolen letters relating to her father’s homeopathic practice, an inquiry that turns into a homicide investigation. Bradley, who has few peers at combining fair-play clueing with humor and has fun mocking genre conventions, shows no sign of running out of ideas. Agent: Denise Bukowski, Bukowski Agency. (Jan.)