thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley

One of my favourite things about the Flavia de Luce series is that it's not static - the characters are living and moving forward in their lives, both figuratively and time-wise.

...and yet, at the same time it's timeless, with this antiquated feel to it so that it startles me whenever Flavia mentions something like a police car with a shortwave radio. Though Flavia and her family live in 1950's rural England, one often feels like it's older.

Flavia is getting older and though making that point in the new Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is perhaps a bit too on the nose sometimes, it's understandable when Bradley is helping Flavia make a transition. That progress can be apparent in the writing because, at least in part, so few writers with a series protagonist make the effort of significant development of the character over the course of the series, let alone doing so with an awkward transition between childhood and womanhood. Though Flavia fans have been aware of her growing up the last few books, I'd say this is the one with the most significant changes. 

I felt that there was a certain coldness to this story, but looking back it feels like that may be intentional. It is centered around Christmas, so obviously there's that, but the overall tone and the feeling of relationships felt chilly; this contributes to the discomfort and confusion Flavia is experiencing so that ultimately it feels appropriate.

The Flavia series is such an escape. Flavia is clever, both delightful and bitter, serious and keen to intellectually escape her often too-narrow world. Her observations on the world, her relatives, friends and enemies and, ultimately, herself, are poignant, funny, and cutting.

"It's amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one's spirits."

"I firmly believe it is by sharing such stupid moments as these that we grow into someone other than who we used to be, and I was already feeling an inch taller."

"Dreamless nights, I knew, can be the most troubling, since you come back not knowing where you've been or what you've done." 

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd was released in the United States on September 20th by Delacorte Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House), who provided my advanced copy.