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Flavia de Luce #7

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

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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.

9 pages, Audio CD

First published January 6, 2015

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About the author

Alan Bradley

28 books7,982 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he remained for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994.

He became the first President of the Saskatoon Writers, and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. His children's stories were published in The Canadian Children's Annual, and his short story, Meet Miss Mullen, was the first recipient of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award for Children's Literature.

For a number of years, he regularly taught Script Writing and Television Production courses at the University of Saskatchewan (Extension Division) at both beginner and advanced levels.

His fiction has been published in literary journals and he has given many public readings in schools and galleries. His short stories have been broadcast by CBC Radio.

He was a founding member of The Casebook of Saskatoon, a society devoted to the study of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockian writings. Here, he met the late Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant, with whom he collaborated on their classic book, Ms Holmes of Baker Street. This work put forth the startling theory that the Great Detective was a woman, and was greeted upon publication with what has been described as "a firestorm of controversy".

The release of Ms. Holmes resulted in national media coverage, with the authors embarking upon an extensive series of interviews, radio and television appearances, and a public debate at Toronto's Harbourfront. His lifestyle and humorous pieces have appeared in The Globe and Mail and The National Post.

His book The Shoebox Bible (McClelland and Stewart, 2006) has been compared with Tuesdays With Morrie and Mr. God, This is Anna.

In July of 2007 he won the Debut Dagger Award of the (British) Crimewriter's Association for his novel The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first of a series featuring eleven year old Flavia de Luce, which has since won the 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel,the 2010 Dilys Award,the Spotted Owl Award, and the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie has also been nominated for the Macavity, the Barry, and the Arthur Awards.

Alan Bradley lives in Malta with his wife Shirley and two calculating cats.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,433 reviews
881 reviews39 followers
December 1, 2014
While I liked the continued character building of this incredible fictional youngster, Flavia de Luce, I cannot in all honesty say I enjoyed this book as a whole. It will always be set apart in my mind as "that Flavia book", the one I kept arguing with.

One of the major reasons I have been able to accept an 11 year old girl, now turned 12, as the solver of all her previous murder investigations is because the author gave me logical reasons for everything that happened in his books. Flavia working her precocious magic in 1951 rural England relates quite differently when she is transported to 1951 Toronto, Canada. This book started off on a different track as soon as that body came tumbling down the chimney in Flavia's private dorm room at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy on the very night of her arrival. I felt that information was sparsely disclosed by the author and even contradictory in some ways. How could Flavia say that it was obvious the body had been inside the chimney for quite a long time and yet that could not have been possible given who the victim turned out to be? How can Flavia give one of her petite dissertations on the process of decomposition while I couldn't stop wondering how this body went through that process with not one person in that building asking questions regarding noticeable manifestations of a decomposing corpse there in the chimney? How could a corpse have been inside a chimney where lighted fires were used to heat the room and still nobody noticed? Those were not just obstacles for me, those were just two of the many insurmountable obstacles to my acceptance of this story.

Flavia had been removed from everything and everyone surrounding her at Buckshaw which had always added so much dimension and depth to the previous stories. Nothing was added to fill that void. Here in Toronto she was alone and the new characters around her had no depth and changed their nature from one scene to the next. I couldn't grasp what was supposed to be going on with a secret society (involving the other students of various ages as well as adults) which seemed to be operating within a different secret society. Two secret groups with neither of them ever being explained? There was too much unexplained secrecy in this book. Even such mundane information as the fact that there were day students as well as boarding students was never mentioned until far into the novel. The basic development of this world Flavia had been set down in seemed woefully incomplete. Harriet is often mentioned in this book, but never anything concrete enough to make me really understand what Harriet was like when she was a student here. More mysteriousness when it wasn't really necessary. And none of my questions were ever answered, none of them.

For those of us who consider ourselves fans of these novels I do think it is important to read this book. It will never be a favorite of mine, but judging by the ending of this book we can expect there will be another. It simply must get back on track. I recommend reading this novel to keep yourself aware of what has happened to Flavia in the series. New readers to the series should definitely not begin here.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Linette.
113 reviews7 followers
December 24, 2014
Flavia goes on an adventure to Canada. A reluctant adventure, as it was not her choice to leave dear Buckshaw and the people she loves. Still, she faces her voyage in true Flavia fashion, with flair and tongue firmly in cheek.
Flavia's way of seeing things still makes me smile.

A description of a woman she meets:

'She was wrapped in a dress of turquoise silk, with a matching scarf on her head and far too much magenta lipstick on her mouth. Need I say more?'

No need to say more, Flavia, tells me all I need to know about this character, haha.

And when Flavia is successful with something, her expression of jubilance:

'The universe had rolled over and let me rub its tummy.'

Flavia attends a school that teaches some extra subjects, the same school her mother had attended. This was a fun change of pace for the series. To give you an idea of some of the unusual arts taught at this school, a comment from the head mistress:

'You will be trained in the arts of genteel mayhem. Oh, don't look at me like that. The vegetable scraper, the cheese grater, and the corkscrew are often overlooked as effective means of disposing of an adversary, you know - even the pickle fork, in a pinch.'

Her arrival at her new school begins with a dead body, continues with secrets and confusion. Girls mysteriously disappearing, nobody talking, and rules against asking questions. Training in her beloved chemistry. Crazy laundry ladies. Ouija boards giving alarming messages.

I was a bit disappointed with how fast the murder mystery was resolved, and the sudden change that happened at the end of the book, I think there was a missed opportunity there.

Not sure what will be next for our Flavia, but I will be there with bells on, as Mrs Mullet would say.

Not the best in the series, but still fun.

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.

ARC received from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews775 followers
October 30, 2016
Flavia De Luce is sent from her home at Buckshaw, England to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater. She is there to be inducted into the mysterious organization called Nide. But a body comes crashing down out of the chimney the very first night at the school and Flavia can’t help trying to find out the identity of the dead body and who stuffed it into the chimney.

This is my first Flavia De Luce book, but not my last. I had no problem getting into the story, but of course, since this is book seven were there bound to be things mentioned in the book that I knew nothing about. Like for instance why she was banished to Canada? Apparently, there happened things in the last book concerning her mother that led to this. But anyway if we disregard that, everything else was not that hard to understand, she mentioned people but often I got an explanation to who she was referring to so that was ok.

I admit that I first thought the books story took place much earlier than 1950’s, around 1920-30’s perhaps. But then television was mentioned and that meant a bit later. Also, I wasn’t sure about Flavia's ages until someone mentioned that she was 12, I thought that she would be older. But she was fun; she was like a nosy Nancy Drew, but slightly more morbid. I was a bit weary of Flavia in the beginning, there is a thin line between precocious and obnoxious but she managed to stay on the precocious side throughout the book.

The story was interesting and I liked the school setting. I have always been a bit fascinated by boarding school milieu, and for mystery books are boarding schools a perfect setting. It was a good read and I'm looking forward to reading the previous six books in the series.

I received this copy from the publisher through Netgalley in return for an honest review!
Profile Image for Kore.
403 reviews
April 13, 2015
Oh my Lord.....more Flavia....oh my Lord.I can't wait!!!!!!

I have to admit I was a tad disappointed in this book of the series.It didn't seem to be of the same caliber as the other books,but still enjoyable.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,862 reviews1,897 followers
February 13, 2019
Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: Hard on the heels of the return of her mother’s body from the frozen reaches of the Himalayas, Flavia, for her indiscretions, is banished from her home at Buckshaw and shipped across the ocean to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Toronto, her mother’s alma mater, there to be inducted into a mysterious organization known as the Nide.

No sooner does she arrive, however, than a body comes crashing down out of the chimney and into her room, setting off a series of investigations into mysterious disappearances of girls from the school.

My Review: We all know by now what the deal is when we pick up a Bradley mystery: We're suspending disbelief in the premise of a school-girl who also happens to be a gifted forensic chemist, possessed of a fully stocked laboratory, and the youngest member of an astonishingly oblivious and neglectful family who leave the child alone to get on with her solving of the many murders that occur in her remote village home.

Yeah, right. Not even in postwar England (1950-ish) would a kid have that kind of freedom. But without that, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Where's the fun in that? Go with it. Surf on Bradley's wave and the reward is a mother of all waves keeping you sharp and alert lest you miss the wave's chicane.

It was fun, and while I'm no convert to the idea of more books set in Toronto (a flimsy drop-curtain illusion of Toronto as the setting was), I understand why we had to be there for this story to unwind. The mystery itself, not for the first time, failed to generate much suspense in me. I suppose this is a far-reaching effect of following a long-term series, since I see it setting in on almost all my fellow series fans. The difference for me, in this series' case, is that I am still charmed by the idea of a kid solving adult crimes, and satisfied by Bradley's humor and whimsy. Seven books and counting....
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,551 reviews2,536 followers
April 1, 2015
From the beginning I’ve been a big fan of Flavia de Luce, and I thought Book #6 (The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches) was the best yet. Unfortunately, this seventh book felt like a misstep. The biggest change is that Flavia is not freewheeling about her beloved English village, but banished to an all-girls’ boarding school outside Toronto. Although there are some promising characters (with quirky nicknames) to make up for the change, none quite live up to the stock cast. I think, also, that the preponderance of adolescent girls changes the dynamic of the book; the others work so well because Flavia is that rare, precocious child in a staid, adult world. So although you still get the joy of her gutsy first-person narration, the usual pleasures of a Flavia novel are diminished.

However, Bradley always conjures up original death tableaux and chemistry-related investigations. (“I have seen numerous dead bodies in my lifetime, each more interesting than the last, and each more instructive. This one, if I was counting correctly, was number seven,” Flavia reflects.) He also shines at period slang, even if he does go rather over the top in places: “I felt like tossing my toast...she could jolly well suck my salmon sandwiches.”

Luckily, things look to be back on track for Books #8-10 – . You could do far worse than pick up a Flavia de Luce mystery on a drizzly day.
Profile Image for Ellinor.
495 reviews244 followers
October 15, 2019
Flavia is starting her first year at Miss Bodycote's Academy. She's homesick a lot - and so was I. I liked how the school and its inhabitants were described. But it was not Buckshaw. Dogger, Flavia's father and sisters, Mr and Mrs Mullet still are present in Flavia's thoughts but it's just not the same.
I also found the crime rather confusing. There are so many new characters that I sometimes lost track of who was who. In the end it all comes to a logic conclusion but the twists and turns before that were a bit too much for me.
The biggest surprise for me was that Flavia is being sent back to Buckshaw in the end. I like this but I'm now wondering what the sense of this volume was. Alan Bradley could as well have left Flavia at home if he is sending her back again.
3.5 stars for As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust. This is the lowest rating I have given to this series so far. I hope that I will enjoy the next volume a lot more.

(I received a free digital copy via Netgalley/the publisher. Thanks for the opportunity!)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jaline.
444 reviews1,603 followers
May 28, 2017
“There is no sadder word in the English language. The very sound of it – like echoing iron gates crashing closed behind you; like steel bolts being shot shut – makes your hair stand on end, doesn’t it?”


With those words, Flavia’s next adventure begins. She is on her way to an academy for young ladies – across the pond, as it’s now often referred to – in Toronto, Ontario. She arrives homesick and heartsick, convinced that her family has sent her away as a nuisance, regardless of what her Aunt Felicity told her about who she is, what she is part of, and her duty.

Maybe it’s her age (she’s twelve now) or maybe it’s being so far from home and all that is dear to her heart, but we have a much more emotionally conflicted Flavia in this book. She chides herself for it regularly and reminds herself to stick to the facts and trust science. “One of the things I dread about becoming an adult is that sooner or later you begin letting sentimentality get in the way of simple logic. False feelings are allowed to clog the works like raw honey poured into the tiny wheels of a fine timepiece.” I love how she thinks!

As though her own personal crisis of growth isn’t enough, add to the mix a dead body suddenly arriving into her life at close quarters, a headmistress indeterminably friend or foe, and, in fact, a whole uncertainty of people in a school that feels like prison to her, and this story catapults us into the next phase of honing her sleuthing skills.

From my perspective, as good as this series was out of the station, it just continues to get better. It is not only completely entertaining, but also strategically peppered with wisdom that Flavia has picked up from sources such as Shakespeare, Aristotle, Dickens, and fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, and Peter Pan.

For sheer entertainment value, it’s a solid 5 stars. For exceptional writing and wisdom, an additional 5 stars. Oh. Wait. I’m only allowed 5 stars altogether. (But I’m giving it a 10 anyway).
Profile Image for Anne.
388 reviews72 followers
September 18, 2021
“No sooner was I safely among the gravestones than a great feeling of warmth and calm contentment came sweeping over me. Life among the dead. This was where I was meant to be!”

I was excited to read As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust for the change of setting. Since finding out Flavia was (at the end of book 6) “banished” to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy boarding school in Toronto, Ontario, I anticipated the addition of new characters. Not that I didn’t cherish the de Luce’s and crew. Disappointingly, I didn’t bond with anyone in book 7 the way I have with Flavia’s family.

The mystery was as good, but nothing that stood out for me. Of course, you’d not be surprised that a body fell out of the chimney in the room assigned to this little chemist on the very night she arrived. Even exhausted from her travels, quick thinking allowed her to scoop up evidence to examined (later in private) before the body was whisked away. Not deterred at being the new arrival, she launched her own investigation immediately. Could there be a connection with the girls rumored to have disappeared and this body?

Again, like in book 6, what drew me in was Flavia’s evolving character. On the cusp of adolescence, gaining maturity, and finding out how to cope away from her family, Flavia relied on her inner strength. At the boarding school Flavia learned there was more going on than appeared. And “Pheasant sandwiches” was whispered more than once. The bits about Flavia’s mother added to the overall arc.

Like I did with the last book, I listened to the excellent audio narrated by Jayne Entwistle for book 7. She amazingly captured the essence of Flavia, especially when Flavia was pleased with herself for pulling off some dubious act, like vomiting to distract a teacher or making a clandestine phone call to a reporter. Through Entwistle’s words you could hear the proud feelings Flavia felt and imagine her smile.

All the book (poetry and play) references were a bonus. They made me wonder if there may be a list somewhere of “books mentioned in the Flavia de Luce Series.” If so, I would like to find it.

A word of caution if you read/listen to this book while eating. (Grin.) Flavia told a romping campfire story to impress her new friends, and while perfect for teens, it was pretty gross. A fan of decomposition, Flavia held nothing back in her descriptions, or when she encountered body parts.

Overall, as the whole of the series goes, this was a likable book, but not one I am especially fond of. I did enjoy the change of setting but am looking forward to the setting in book 8 more. I recommend this for any diehard Flavia fans.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,464 reviews9 followers
December 3, 2014
3.5 stars. Book was courtesy of NetGalley.

Flavia at the age of twelve --finally-- has left her beloved Buckshaw to sail off to a girls' school in Canada, the same school where her late mother attended and is still much revered. Upon being awaken in the middle of her first night by a schoolmate, a human skeleton is discovered when it conveniently plops down from within the fireplace chimney, much to Flavia's shear delight. Who is this corpse, how long has it been there, and most importantly to Flavia, who dunnit?

But before these questions can be answered, it is learned that there have been a few schoolgirls over the years who have gone missing. Strangely, the police don't seem to be doing anything to solve those disappearances or the murder mystery. Flavia soon has her hands full of suspects amid warnings not to trust anyone, period. No wonder she is homesick!

I enjoyed the mysteries as they were presented and how Flavia's mind savored every little clue until she was finally able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. But then other parts of the ending seemed to come out of left field and were just not expected or satisfying. Storylines seemed unresolved, poorly explained, and swept under the carpet to make things tidy. I am admittedly a bit dazed and confused, not a good feeling.
Profile Image for Wendi.
371 reviews78 followers
June 25, 2018
My god, am I hesitant to criticize an author's choice to change things up.

It seems as though, as readers, we're always hoping that an author will take our favourite characters in new and exciting directions... and at the same time we fear losing all those things that make them our favourite characters - personality, context, place, secondary characters off which they ping and play and conflict.

And before reading As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, I would've easily said I was eager for a change in Flavia de Luce's world, and that the strength of her incredibly adorable personality would easily weather the change.

But I realize, now, how very much I miss Dogger.

It's unlikely that you're reading a review about the seventh installment of Bradley's Flavia series and don't know who Dogger is, so I won't much belabor the point, but Dogger is one of the shining and tarnished characters in the series and his absence - along with those of literally everyone else in the series with only the exception of Flavia, is a difficult blow.

Those who are reading the series will know that the sixth installment, in which we learn the fate of Flavia's beloved mother, was much anticipated, and it feel to me that this, the seventh, just released Tuesday, January 6th, has been as well. It promised, and delivers, a swerve in Flavia's arc and maturation. She's been "banished" to a girl's boarding school in Canada, where she's to receive a proper - and secret - education. Because of this, the entire world built around Flavia is stripped away; England, Buckshaw, her father, Gladys, her sisters, and, of course, Dogger, are nonexistent (save a paltry missive). I found all this more difficult to stomach than I would have imagined.

Bradley maintains the Flavia we adore. She is still, of course, cleverer than anyone around (and makes certain you know as much):

"For a fraction of a second, my hopes were up, thinking her head might explode. But no such luck."

"Marge's tongue was rolling busily about inside her cheek, rooting out thoughts - or perhaps in search of something to eat."

"Was it wrong to be so deceitful? Well, yes, it probably was. But if God hadn't wanted me to be the way I am, He would have arranged to have me born a haddock instead of Flavia de Luce - wouldn't He?"

"None of the books were shelved in alphabetical order, which made it necessary to cock my head sideways to read each of the spines. By the end of the third shelf I had begun to realize why librarians are sometimes able to achieve such pinnacles of crankiness: It's because they're in agony."

"A hissing sound caught my attention. It was coming from somewhere behind the Rainsmith's house and to my left. A hissing in the garden is a sound that cannot be ignored by any human female since the time of Eve, and I was no exception."

I admit; I was about a third of the way through when I seriously considered putting the book down. All of those things I love about Flavia and her English countryside have been translated into a Toronto setting, along with Canadian/American slang, as Flavia tries to fit in, and I didn't like the translation at all.

And I sorely missed Dogger.


I continued. And I was glad to have done so. The mystery is somewhat complicated and compelling, and we get a glimpse of the larger world for which Flavia is being groomed. Although it makes me a bit sad to see Flavia starting to grow up, I'd much rather see a maturation and development of the character than I would in those series - especially those concerning children - where the protagonist is caught in the amber world where the reader fell in love with them. For her to change makes Flavia more authentic and grounded.

Also, by reading to the end, you discover that the upheaval might not be so dramatic as feared.

* Advanced copy provided by Random House.
Profile Image for Emma.
2,393 reviews822 followers
June 24, 2019
This book is set in Canada where Flavia is shipped off to boarding school. I much prefer the setting of her ancestral home, and all the characters from home but Flavia is still Flavia and I still enjoyed story, even though it was a bit random. Looking forward to getting back to this series’ home setting.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,392 reviews2,382 followers
April 24, 2022
This is an oddity in the Flavia series: on one hand, there's actually an interesting mystery here; on the other the revelations don't really make an awful lot of sense and the ending comes up in a rush of exposition.

More importantly, many of the elements that make this series so good are, inevitably, missing as Flavia is transferred from Buckshaw to Canada, of all places, and is sent to a boarding school which is also... what? a secret school for spies and assassins? This is never made clear and while the plot keeps harking back to the revelations of the last book and a prominent portrait of Flavia's mother, Harriet, we're left completely in the dark about the secret society, and don't learn any more about Harriet herself. If feels as if Bradley has lost his way and doesn't know where to turn. Happily, the end has Flavia travelling back home to Buckshaw so it's impossible not to ask what the point of this detour was.

Having already read the next book, which is actually where I first joined the series, there are more pressing developments to come: so an anomalous entry, lacking the usual characters and definitely not the place to start, but one still worth reading for Flavia fans, not least because we see Flavia thrown back totally on her own resources in a strange place.
Profile Image for Nadine.
740 reviews107 followers
November 14, 2014
Tread carefully if you haven't read the 6th installment, this is no real, huge spoiler but I was surprised by the ending of book 6 and don't wanna spoil the surprise for anybody.

Flavia sets out for a new life: She arrives at her new school in Canada and is torn between excitement and homesickness. But luckily (for someone like our Flavia) in her first night at the new school a dead body is found. To Flavia's joy in the chimney of her own bedroom.

The following days are filled with her adjustment to the new school as well as investigations that reveal missing students during the past years.

Hmmm, technically it was all there. Flavia, her lovely chemistry nerdiness, a murder, investigations and an exciting new setting I was really looking forward to. But apart from the feeling of being back „home“ in Flavia's world which I really enjoyed, there seemed to be something missing in this installment. I don't think it was the new setting and there were lots of mentionings of the beloved and/ or quirky characters from back home to have the feeling, they were „in“ the story. I also missed some of the storylines that had built up over the series. It was too much of a fresh start to me without a really exciting new storyline.

The crime itself never captured my full attention, it felt a bit forced that Flavia stumbles over a dead body like that to begin with and the investigations missed some of the Flavia spark.

The setting of the new school and other places in Canada was as amazing as the vivid settings like Buckshaw and Bishop's Lacey we got to love in the previous installments.

But if you love the series you will enjoy Flavia's Canadian adventure as I did.

(I was given a free digital copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley.)
Profile Image for Jamie.
250 reviews4 followers
March 17, 2015
I hate hate hate to rate this so low. I love Flavia! I love this series. However, this one felt so very forced to me. It read as if Alan Bradley just really needed a different location in which to place Flavia. He sends her from her family home in England (Buckshaw) to a private girls school in Canada. Then within hours of her arrival she finds a dead body, in a very unbelievable place I might add. Between that and other people disappearing I was not sure whose body we were looking for and whose murder she was solving. One of the pivotal scenes toward the end of the book involved a character that I think was literally only mentioned briefly once or twice in the very beginning of the book. I had to go back and find her name and figure out who she was because I thought I had missed something important with her specifically? nope. The end was very abbreviated and abrupt as well. It almost read as if someone edited 150 pages out of the book without making appropriate changes. Not giving up on Flavia de Luce though.
Profile Image for Carol.
266 reviews4 followers
January 13, 2015
Surprisingly I did not find this book as wonderful and entertaining as the author's previous works. Maybe it is because Flavia was out of her element, or maybe I missed the other ancillary characters that enhanced her life in the stories, but this book just lacked the charm of the previous ones. Happily the author plans to return his heroine to her mileeu in the next book. The mystery was ok but again did not have the verve of previous stories. So all in all I am giving this review only 3 stars, and hoping things will improve.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
416 reviews170 followers
May 31, 2020
2.5 stars. This seventh Flavia adventure poses an interesting question: how much of the appeal of this series lay in the idyllic English setting and a by now familiar cast of characters? And how much of it was Flavia herself? As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is set in Canada, where Flavia has been sent for boarding school. Buckshaw is a distant memory. Flavia misses her chemistry lab, Dogger, and even her sisters. There's an entirely new cast of characters at the school: a mercurial headmistress, fellow students who might (or might not) make something of the cryptic phrase 'pheasant sandwiches,' new police investigators. And, of course, a new corpse that tumbles out of the chimney on Flavia's very first night at the school.

In short, it's a whole new chapter for Flavia, now twelve years old. I was mostly okay with this, though it did strike me as an unnecessary book. Alan Bradley could have ended his series after the excellent book 6, which had enough revelations and changes to feel like a satisfying ending. But fine, I had a copy on hand, and that was what mattered most during this interminable shelter in place order. I really miss libraries.

The mystery was mostly fine, actually, and I enjoyed watching Flavia navigate her strange new world and begin, tentatively, to make friends and allies her own age, which she has never had. So far, so good - brain candy fulfilling its duty. But the ending was so, so strange that it actually made my eyebrows go up in real life. I'm not sure I need to read any more books in this series. It's starting to feel like a TV show that has gone on too long already.
Profile Image for Cammie.
358 reviews11 followers
March 29, 2020
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia #7) follows Flavia to the same boarding school her mother attended, Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, in Canada. She feels shunned and banished by her family whom she fears have already forgotten her.
Before she's even unpacked her suitcase or spent a night at her new school, a charred body falls out of the chimney in her room, and she becomes a sleuth again.
In this new location, she has the opportunity to make new friends and acquire new mentors, yet she must proceed with caution as she hunts for the victim's identity, suspects, and motives.
In addition, rumors swirl about missing girls and there's the ever-present ghost of Flavia's mother, Harriet, who everyone seems to know, respect, and admire.
Will Flavia continue her superior ways as a detective and identify this mysterious body in the chimney?
Profile Image for Lynn.
1,608 reviews48 followers
January 11, 2017
Fun adventure for Flavia away from Bishop's Lacey. I missed Dogger and Gladys but Flavia met a role model only she could love . Also a shocking discovery -- the correct pronunciation is [FLAY-vee-ah] not [FLAH-vee-ah].
Profile Image for Deb✨.
298 reviews4 followers
November 23, 2021
I love all of these Flavia deLuce books in this series. This one is a bit different because it is set in a girl's boarding school in Canada, and she is homesick and out of her element. It doesn't stop her though and she is still a brilliant sleuth and solves the murder (of a corpse that falls out of a chimney) once again! She is so impressive for a 12 year old, and I love it. I wasn't as thrilled in this setting as in her home at Buckshore, and felt there were too many characters in the mix. I gave it 3.5 stars. I still eagerly look forward to reading the next book in this series.

I love to listen to these on audible books because they are all narrated by Jayne Entwistle and she is just superb with her characterizations in this series and I am glad Bradley kept it consistent by always using her for each book.

Profile Image for Sue.
1,320 reviews5 followers
January 15, 2015
Thank you to Netgalley, Random House Publishing Group-Bantam Dell and author, Alan Bradley, for the ARC of "As Chimney Sweepers Comes to Dust", (Flavia de Luce, #7). Here we return to the series, but the setting for this novel has changed from the UK to Toronto, Canada.

The village of Bishop's Lacey and Buckshaw, where Falvia de Luce's father and sisters Ophelia and Dalphne were carrying on with their lives. But for twelve year old Falvia, after the death of her mother,her life was about to change drastically. Falva had been banished, and was to be sent off to boarding school in Toronto; the same school her mother had attended.

She departed in September on a voyage by ship to Canada, accompanied by Ryerson Rainsmith, Chairman of the Board of guardians at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy, and his dippy wife, Dorsey. This couple was draining Falvia's patience, or what was left of it.

" A week away from home and my list of people to poison was already up to two." (I had a good laugh!)

When Falvia is finally delivered to the boarding school,on her first night there, down from the chimney in her room drops a charred body. Now Flavia, a self-trained chemist, is in her element, and is determined both to find out the victim’s identity and who killed her. But one of the girls at the school tells Flavia that "people disappear , without a trace". Another mystery for her to solve!

Flavia is smart and used to corpses, as this is the seventh she has encountered. She is human with wit and humor.

This is a well-developed book, from the clever title and front cover, to the ending. Characters come alive as you read each small detail unfolding. The imagery is vivid and enables you to sense the atmosphere of the place.

“A Chimney Sweepers come to Dust” is a satisfying mystery from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Carolyn Walsh .
1,443 reviews573 followers
January 30, 2015

I love the Flavia de Luce stories. She is an unique character, expert in chemistry, poisons and solving mysteries, especially murders. In this latest book, the 12 year old has been sent away from her home in England to a boarding school in Canada and on her first evening there a corpse falls out of the chimney in her bedroom.
For those not acquainted with the series, and don't know what sort of little girl she is, I am copying the following passage from the book. She has broken the rules and wandered away from the school and ended up in a graveyard.
"No sooner was I among the gravestones that a great warmth and calm contentment came sweeping over me.
Life among the dead.
That is where I was meant to be!
What a revelation! What a place to have it!
I could succeed at whatever I chose.I could, for instance, become an undertaker.Or a pathologist. A detective, a grave digger, a tombstone maker, or even the world's greatest murderer.
Suddenly the world was my oyster-even if it was a dead one.
I threw my hands up into the air and launched myself into a series of exuberant triple cartwheels.
Yaroo! I shouted"
Although Flavia has a new mystery to solve, she does not know which fellow students or teachers to trust. Needless to say she solves the mystery of the identity of the dead body, the murderer, and also some of the mystery involving missing students.
I was tempted to give the book a 5 star rating, but did not feel all the mysterious goings on at the school were solved, or at least explained to my satisfaction. After a most enjoyable read I was left with some questions.
The ending hints there will be more books on the way as Flavia has been banished from her Canadian boarding school and on her way back home. Can't wait! Flavia is a remarkable character. love this series.
Profile Image for Anna.
881 reviews37 followers
August 17, 2015

It is very difficult to sustain a series with strong characters and interesting situations along with that level of wit and articulacy which is why this book is such a gem. I think I remember reading that the series would continue through 6 books, but I am very thrilled that the series will continue.

Flavia is in Toronto but her heart is at Buckshaw; she has to learn to contend with her new circumstances ... turning 12, her mother's legacy, a new school, a lot of new classmates, a secret society, -- a corpse in
the chimney ...
"How could I possibly learn to survive in such a pagan place,
where trams were streetcars, vans and lorries were trucks,
pavements were sidewalks, jumpers were sweaters, petrol was
gasoline, aluminum was aluminum, sweets were candy, a full stop
was a period, and cheerio was good-bye?"
AND ... they keep mispronouncing her name ...
" 'It's Flavia,' I told him. The first syllable rhymes with 'brave' and
And forgave,' ..."

Her "proclivities" and detection juices are stirred on the first night but homesickness and new surroundings are are distracting her.
This book is filled with Flavia's musings, literary and scientific references, and much dark humor.

"I could not sleep. My head was filled with coffin flies, blowflies,
maggots and cheese skippers. The maggots were nothing new. I had
thought of them often while dwelling on the delights of
decomposition. Daffy had even read to me ... that wonderful
passage from Love's Labour's Lost, where one of the characters says,
'These summerflies have blown me full of maggot ostentation.' "
Profile Image for Pallavi.
929 reviews163 followers
September 12, 2022
4 stars
Flavia is shipped off to a boarding school in Canada. This is the same school her mother had attended. She is homesick and adjusting. And on her first night at school, a charred body drops down the chimney. So even though Flavia is badly missing her home (even I missed Buckshaw) , she has work to do.
Flavia is a smart little cookie and her antics were very creative and funny. She not only succeeds in finding the identity of the charred body, but also the murderer and the case of missing students. I loved the story and Flavia in this one. I missed Buckshaw & Bishop's Lacey. A very good, clever mystery with good twists and a more than satisfactory ending.
Happy Reading!!
Profile Image for Donna.
3,875 reviews7 followers
July 22, 2015
This is the 7th book in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. I have enjoyed them all, but this one is my favorite one yet. I loved the story line. It was well crafted. I also loved the humor. Flavia is a smart little cookie and her antics were creative and often funny.

I missed Dogger and the family dynamic she had when she was at home. So I was pleasantly surprised the characters in this book were equally loaded with strong traits and helped carry the story home. Well done.
Profile Image for Holly.
967 reviews414 followers
April 7, 2015
Another wonderful installment in this series. The 7th book & I'm still not tired of Flavia's story. I just want to give so much love to her, the little outcast that she is. This time she was in Canada &, although, it was great to have new characters & scenery, I missed Buckshaw & Bishop's Lacey.
Profile Image for Teresa.
177 reviews
September 4, 2018
Non sapevo quanto mi fosse mancata Flavia de Luce fintanto che non ho iniziato a leggere questo libro, settimo della serie che la vede protagonista. Ritrovarla è stata una festa: la mia affezionatissima con la sua passione per le cose putrefatte, la sua suscettibilità, il suo ingegno sempre al lavoro e una certa tendenza a drammatizzare le occorrenze più comuni…
In quest'occasione accompagniamo Flavia in una traversata oceanica per vederla arrivare all'Accademia Femminile della signorina Bodycote, a Toronto. Accademia di lunga tradizione dove studiò anche sua madre.
Flavia quindi è lontana da casa, ne sente nostalgia, si sente isolata e scopre di doversi confrontare anche con la memoria della madre. Nella prima parte del romanzo, infatti, apprendiamo che all'accademia Harriet è venerata quasi come una dea e tutti si aspettano molto da sua figlia. La giovane protagonista si trova in un contesto molto diverso da Bishops Lacey e finalmente la vediamo relazionarsi con delle coetanee.
Il primo terzo del romanzo mi è piaciuto molto.

Per cui è con dispiacere che scrivo che, nel complesso, il romanzo non mi ha tanto convinta. Temo che l'autore abbia sprecato un'occasione.
L'interazione di Flavia con le altre alunne, infatti, scompare quasi subito. Di fatto non solo non la vediamo quasi mai a lezione, ma di queste lezioni non sentiamo neanche parlare. Flavia entra ed esce dall'accademia con una facilità difficile da immaginare. Anche il laboratorio di chimica all'avanguardia, elogiato sin dal romanzo precedente, resta quasi immacolato.
La piega "misteriosa" presa dalla storia, poi, che in un primo momento mi aveva confusa ma intrigata, mi sembra qui troppo tirata per le lunghe e non riesce proprio a convincermi. Devo dire che non mi stupisce che il cadavere nel camino alla fine
Profile Image for Bibliovoracious.
339 reviews27 followers
April 30, 2018
Loved it! This is where I started with FDL, (book 7), with no expectations, (isn't it YA?) and was happily surprised that it was set in Canada. It's like, Unfortunate Events meets the Elegance of the Hedgehog, with a touch of a Mary Russell. The heroine is a sad, painfully deprived, self-involved little egotist, but somehow that's perfectly ok.
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