This has been an amazing series with a very interesting central character who has captured the public’s imagination. We have accompanied this young heroine on some sterling adventures but this is not one of them.
Sending the precocious youngster off to school in Canada may have seemed like a brilliant idea, but it, unfortunately, fell flat. Not only was Flavia not taken with the misguided idea but, after completing this novel, I was not enamored with the idea either.
When she arrives at Miss Bootycoote’s Academy, the school Flavia’s mother attended, she quickly stumbles upon a corpse. More accurately, it drops from a chimney!
Unfortunately, the following investigation meanders about and becomes part of Flavia’s attempt to fathom her classmates and the school’s staff. It seems much of this also has to do with a secret society that has been interjected into the series for some inexplicable reason. It’s all a bit of a muddle!
Granted, this captivating, youthful sleuth continues to entertain with her witticisms and commentary which makes us forget just how young she really is, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that this is by far the weakest plot of the seven novels in the series.
Fortunately, Flavia returns to her home in England at novel’s end and that’s a good thing. We can all forget this little Canadian aberration. If you have never read any titles in the series, go back and begin with one of the earlier ones. A good idea would be to start with “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”!
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Flavia de Luce—“part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (The New York Times Book Review)—takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.
Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia’s first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school’s stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim’s identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote’s is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed.