As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust [Book Review]

Book Reviews
Photo from the goodreads website

Photo from the Goodreads website

I finished book seven of the Flavia de Luce series last week and let me tell you that I’m still reeling with excitement. In book seven we follow Flavia from England to Canada (Toronto to be specific), where she has been banished. She is now a student of  Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy — where her mother once attended as well. A de Luce novel wouldn’t be a de Luce novel without a few disappearances, a bit of chemistry, and a corpse. On her first evening at the academy, a series of events leads to a burned corpse crashing out of the chimney in Flavia’s bedroom. In true form, Flavia nips a piece of evidence off the corpse and begins an investigation going back two years in the history of the academy. Whose body was shoved up the chimney and why were they murdered in the first place?

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is just as wonderfully written as the last six novels. It’s filled with history, mystery, and undeniable suspense. I love how this novel is about more than death, it’s about growing up, making choices and living with the consequences. It’s about adventure and sadness, redemption and love. Alan Bradley has an incredible talent, where he spreads your mind all over the place and brings it right back to the beginning, which is actually the end. Although as the mystery unfolds, the plot gets more complicated, all questions are neatly answered by the very last page.

What could I do? What could I say? The whole world has suddenly, and without warning, revealed itself to be far larger a place than ever I could have dreamed of. I was standing at the edge of a very great abyss whose further lip was so far beyond imagination that only faith could bridge the gap. It was, I suppose, the bridge connecting childhood with whatever vast unknown might lie beyond. (pg 160)


Although Flavia is essentially the same girl, you can tell that her character has grown immensely. Having to be away from any of her comforts has forced her to fend for herself in an entirely different way. The only thing I disliked about this novel was that Buckshaw was nowhere in sight, we barely heard from dear old Dogger and Daphne and Ophelia were nowhere in sight. I missed all of the wonderful characters that Flavia left back in England.

I plan on snooping the Internet for clues that there will be a book eight. There has to be! It just wouldn’t feel right to go another year or two without having an adventure with my favourite sleuth. As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust will be on sale January 6th, 2015, which gives you just enough time to read the first six books 😉

– Vanessa

Disclosure: I requested a copy of As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review.



The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Reviews

Around this time last year, I reviewed the fifth instalment of the Flavia de Luce mysteries (Speaking from Among the Bones). The ending of that novel was so gripping that I couldn’t wait for the sixth instalment to come out and it finally has!


Alan Bradley is an honest-to-goodness genius when it comes to Flavia de Luce. She is one character I cannot get enough of — smart, brave, curious and always up to no good (and yet she has the best intentions at heart)! What I loved about this novel was how it stayed mostly at Buckshaw, how the characters came to Flavia instead of her peddling her way through the entire village. I loved how you got into the core of each of the de Luce’s, how you got to see a different side of them because you got to witness something that is so close to their hearts.

Bishop’s Lacey is never short of two things: mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer, and in the process, she comes closer than ever to solving her life’s greatest mystery–her mother’s disappearance. . .

I admit *SPOILER* that I was truly disappointed when Flavia’s mother returned to Buckshaw in a coffin instead of walking on her own two feet. I was truly saddened for Flavia, I wanted her to meet her mother so desperately that I was brought to tears a few times while reading. But then… the mystery overtakes you and you nearly forget your sadness… because with Flavia, there is always a corpse nearby and a mystery to be solved! This mystery has to be my favourite by a long shot, it is so detailed, calculated, and intertwined that you have no idea where it’s going to take you next. You’re on the same page as Flavia the entire time. Each clue adds a little confusion and excitement, but not to worry, everything is always settled in the end. There are no loose ends, just new beginnings, and new tomorrows…

“What are we going to do, Dogger?”

It seemed a reasonable question. After all he had been through, surely Dogger knew something of hopeless situations.

“We shall wait upon tomorrow,” he said.

“But–what if tomorrow is worse than today?”

“Then we shall wait upon the day after tomorrow.”

“And so forth?” I asked.

“And so forth,” Dogger said.

It was comforting to have an answer, even one I didn’t understand. I must have looked skeptical.



I’m not ready to say goodbye to this sleuth!

Talk soon,

Vanessa Xo

Disclosure: I chose The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches from a list of Random House Canada titles and received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Quote: Page 273 of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

Synopsis: Random House of Canada

Photos: MY PEN, MY VOICE and living in the kingdom of too much 

Post edited by: Grammarly

"'Dangerous killers on the loose!' The words which every amateur sleuth lives in eternal hope of hearing."

Book Reviews

I have loved Alan Bradley’s writing since I read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in November of 2010. His writing is vibrant, compelling, suspenseful, and smart. I’ve read each instalment (except #4, which I need to get my hands on) of the Flavia de Luce’s mysteries and cherish them all. So it’s no surprise that when choosing my Random House reads for January, I made sure Speaking from Among the Bones was on my list.


Flavia de Luce quickly became one of my favourite literary characters of all time. Her strength, determination, wit, common sense, and endless curiosity are simply inspiring. Thankfully, the fifth Flavia de Luce Mystery did not disappoint, in fact, it highlighted all of my favourite things about Flavia. It made me think, it make me question, it make me CURIOUS. Curiosity may kill the cat but it’s got nothing on little Miss Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old self-proclaimed detective and self-taught chemist.

Probably the best thing about each de Luce Mystery is the subtle life lessons, one-liners, and thought-provoking sentences that make you to sit back and contemplate your life. They help you relate to Flavia and they make you feel like you’re not alone. Top that off with one heck of a mystery, a pinch of history, a dab of scientific experiments, and you’ve got yourself a delightful read.

“It’s at moments like this that you find out what you’re made of: moments when everything you’ve ever been taught is fighting against your heart.”(Page 129)

I’m no sleuth, or chemist, or private detective finding corpses and solving mysteries, but we all face moments that DEFINE who we are. Moments that tug at our hear strings and change us completely. Moments that scare us and challenge us to the breaking point. Moments that show us exactly what we’re made of.

I’m just beginning to experience moments like that.

I’m just beginning to find out if I have what it takes to overcome my fears.

I’m just starting to feel like Flavia de Luce — fearless, curious, and brave.

Love Always 

Vanessa Xo

P.S. If you’re a Flavia fan, book number five is a MUST READ — it leaves you hanging with quite possibly the most intense turn of events. I’m desperate to get into book number six!


**Book on sale January 29, 2013**

*Blog title from page 285 of the novel*


In the fifth book of the New York Times bestselling series, featuring Flavia de Luce, Alan Bradley pens his most chilling mystery yet, and introduces a new character into the mix whose actions will have lasting consequences on Bishop’s Lacey, the de Luce family, and especially Flavia herself.

When the tomb of St. Tancred is opened at the village church in Bishop’s Lacey, its shocking contents lead to another case for Flavia de Luce. Greed, pride, and murder result in old secrets coming to light—along with a forgotten flower that hasn’t been seen for half a thousand years.