Brinded Cat

Book Review - Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew'd

Here is my review of Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew'dwhich is the ninth book in the Flavia De Luce Mysteries series by Alan Bradley, and follows the misadventures of 12 year old amateur detective and chemistry enthusiast Flavia De Luce.

The book is told in Mr Bradley's signature style combining whimsy and cleverness in equal measure, and moves at a steady pace through a fairly uncomplicated plot.  The central character is  precocious and self possessed to a fault, and while sympathetic enough, I'm not sure I warmed to her quite so much as perhaps the author may've been expecting me to.  In fact the chief issue I took to the book is that the author seems to take entirely too much for granted.

Perhaps it's because I've jumped into a series too far-along, but I found that not enough care was taken to set scenes or describe characters, such that my imagination was constantly wavering between different possibilities with regards to the appearance and general arrangement of things and people in each setting. Therefore, and even though the plot of the book is fairly-self contained, I would probably recommend reading this series from the first instalment onwards.

The main character's home of Buckshaw, for example, is described as an old manor house, but is barely described beyond that point. As a result I have no mental picture of the house whatsoever despite it being a fairly central location.  Instead, a lot of the exposition is taken up with quirky observations of a frivolous nature, which lend the book a lot of charm, admittedly, but colour is added, thereby, to scenes with little in the way of a proper outline.

My final objection to the book is just a personal objection I have to genre fiction in general, which is that as this is a murder mystery, the plot is stretched around a too-familiar framework, and feels like it's 'going through the motions', powerless to give the reader a sense of adventure or discovery.  For fans of the series and the genre in general though, I would recommend giving this book a try, as it is stylishly-written and generally entertaining and inoffensive.