The previous installment ended with a bang: Flavia’s missed and assumably dead mother was found! So Flavia is having to deal with a lot of emotions.
This book is different from the other books in the series. It isn’t focused on a murder investigation, although that is part of the story too. We finally learn a lot about the history of Flavia’s parents, especially her mother, as well as Dogger.
There are some phases in which the story seems to meander or hit dead ends, but in the end things come together. It closes with quite a change in Flavia’s life to come and I can’t wait for the next book. (Thankfully there are four more to come.)
You can find the typical Flavia spirit in this book. She investigates, there’s the usual murder or two to solve, she does her chemistry magic and she has her very smart as well as her very naive moments, for both of which we love we so.
The book is focussed on Flavia herself and how she deals with things, rather than her solving riddles, although her talents in that area are needed as well.
I was torn between 4 and 5 stars. There are some slower bits, that meander around and seem to hit dead ends, but then get picked up again. During the read I was a bit lost or confused at times. The book has a different rhythm than previous books in the series. But in the end things make perfect sense and more importantly the reader puts things into a much wider perspective, There is so much to learn about Flavia’s world and her family that for these snippets of information alone it is a worthy read. But of course we also get our beloved Flavia moments on top. So looking at the series as a whole and this installment’s part in it, it definetely is a highlight and deserves the full 5 stars.
However I advise not to start the series with this book as some long cooking secrets are being revealed.