Tuesday, November 22, 2016
A Turn of the Page
Well, as I maybe should have guessed, Harriet's return was not really that - merely, they found her body and returned it to Buckshaw. Not just not the happy ending we could have had - but, in fact, very sad, as the de Luce's had to confront the certainty of Harriet's death. So quite a bit more serious for that reason alone.
But that was really the least of the differences in this book from previous ones. The mystery in this case is not the murder of a random villager, with Flavia pottering around and solving it in her own way. There is a murder, but it takes second fiddle to Flavia's exploration of her mother's past. Definitely somewhat interesting to get a backstory but we lose much of the country village charm of the earlier books. And on top of that, uh wow, quite the backstory. Spies, heroes, villains - not your staid old English family. I mean, it's cool that Colonel and Harriet were so awesome, and makes some sense, seeing their talented offspring. But it's a bit of a leap from past books.
And at the conclusion, even more of a leap. We are asked to believe that Flavia is specially tasked with taking over the mantle of the family business (spying and whatnot). And that her sisters' resentment of her is rooted in jealousy of her position. And that she now has to be taken away to be properly educated. It's all just rather out of the blue.
But I suppose Alan Bradley was getting bored with the old formula and wanted to move things along. I get that. Now, I guess, we'll get some new mysteries set at Flavia's boarding school? Guess we'll see. I hope wherever they are, they are back to their old charming form, not too full of backstory.