How many of you have ever found yourselves talking to inanimate objects? Really, that many? Those of you who have done such a thing will relate to the protagonist of Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d – a line which comes shortly before “Double, double toil, and trouble...” in Macbeth. That fact alone dictates the nature of this tale.
The redoubtable Flavia de Luce who first appeared in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, still talks to her bicycle, named Gladys, who she uses to keep secrets. Many of them include information she has come across while solving murders on her own, with the implied acceptance of Inspector Hewitt. A wise public servant, he knows full well that this twelve-year-old girl can find out more than anybody in his department, primarily because she is afraid of nothing. Being raised with two sisters who hate the ground you trod will do that for you.
Flavia has just returned from Canada where she was, uh, invited to leave Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. She elects to do an errand for the vicar’s wife. Opening an unlocked front door results in her finding the body of the local woodcarver, killed in a most peculiar manner. The only witness was, of course, the one that meowed.
Supported by the housekeeper, Mrs. Mullet, and by Dogger, her father’s war buddy and handyman, ignored by her sisters, driven to distraction by her cousin and frustrated by folks who know but won’t tell, Flavia still manages to solve the mystery. Her information-gathering activities bring her in contact with a famous author of children’s poetry books, the local witch and several grumpy folks who probably had their first incarnations in Dickens novels. Nevertheless, Flavia, who lies like a champ when she has to and who does not know the meaning of, “I will not talk to you!” keeps snooping until she sorts things out. She still has unanswered questions, but she reminds herself (and us) that, “Real life is messy...we must learn never to expect too much.”
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org