Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd: 04/30/17
Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley is the eighth in the Flavia de Luce mystery series. Flavia is back home from Miss Bodycote's Female Academy. She's expecting things to go back to normal but it's anything but. Her father is in hospital with severe pneumonia and her favorite chicken is dead.
The adults in Flavia's life do what they can to keep her distracted from the situation at home. She is therefore turned into the village errand girl but that only leads to her discovery of a gruesome murder scene. A reclusive woodcarver is found suspended upside down from his bedroom door.
The clues pretty quickly tie the woodcarver to a series of old children's books. Much of the remainder of the book is set around Flavia learning the sorted history of the author and his tragic death (and consumption by sea gulls).
For me, there was a certain (albeit twisted) similarity with the rather unhappy story of Christopher Milne. Mind you, I don't know if the Milnes were inspiration for this father and son but they were there influencing how I looked at the mystery at hand.
The other piece of information I took to this book was my son's recent interest in wood shop. Let's just say I interpolated my son's approach to woodworking to the hermit's possible mindset.
Let's just say that personal knowledge made solving the case straightforward. I still enjoyed seeing Flavia back in her element — even at a time of personal, familial turmoil. But this was one time that her sleuthing was not up to the task — at least not as quickly as for one with adult knowledge and twenty-twenty hindsight.
The book, though, does end on a humdinger of a cliffhanger which will be address in the latest volume. The Grave's Fine and Private Place comes out in September.