I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. Its U.S. release date is January 29.
In this fifth Flavia de Luce adventure, the entire town of Bishop’s Lacey is agog at the forthcoming exhumation of St. Tancred from the village church. Of course, Flavia is determined to be present when the saint’s body is uncovered. But in her eagerness to be on the scene when the exhumation takes place, Flavia discovers another body in the church: that of the organist, whose corpse has been hidden in St. Tancred’s crypt. As Flavia investigates the organist’s death, she also stumbles upon several other mysteries. For example, what is wrong with the local magistrate’s son, and why is he kept in a locked room? Where do the tunnels underneath St. Tancred’s churchyard lead? Is Feely actually getting married, and if so, to whom? And of course, will the de Luces have to leave their beloved yet crumbling home at Buckshaw?
Five books in, this series is still going strong. I always enjoy Flavia’s adventures, and I think she’s becoming a bit more human (and less serial-killer-esque) with each new book. I wonder if Alan Bradley will ever let her grow up, or if she’ll always stay a precocious pre-teen. I’m kind of torn about which scenario I’d rather see…but regardless, Flavia is a whole lot of fun to watch as she copes with the pressures of adult life that intrude on her childhood. While corpses and detection are still a game to her, she is remarkably sensitive about her family’s complex emotions as their life at Buckshaw is threatened. I like that her familial relationships seem to be moving forward (albeit at a glacial pace) and that she may now have some competition as a detective in Adam Sowerby, a newcomer who specializes in botany and “inquiries.” There are enough interesting teasers here that I’m really looking forward to the next book!