Canadian author Alan Bradley's latest mystery novel, "As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust," is one among several in a series perfect for summer reading.
Published this year with an endearing protagonist teenager named Flavia de Luce, the series continues with her abiding passion for poisons, old churchyards and the chemistry of decay.
The novels all have titles inspired by Shakespeare, and each book has an abundance of sly humor and extraordinary details about ordinary subjects that give the stories an unusual depth.
Flavia not only solves mysteries that others wish would remain unsolved, she is a perceptive observer of life around her. She is honest to a fault and suffers the indignities such a trait attracts from hypocrites who, all too often, mutter platitudes such as: The Truth Shall Set You Free!
(In A Pig’s Ear! Flavia would probably retort.) Inaudibly, of course, since she is a well brought up daughter of a country gentleman. She lives in an aging country manor with two sisters who make her life more miserable than Cinderella’s.
Despite these obstacles, Flavia is triumphant and makes you want to have some more of her. She is an excellent companion for sun-drenched beach days, short plane journeys and rainy afternoons.