Finished January 28
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle
This is the sixth and most recent book in the series featuring 11-year old Flavia de Luce. Here is it spring 1951, shortly before Flavia turns twelve, and she is waiting with her family for her mother's body to be returned home. Her mother disappeared in the Himalayas when Flavia was a baby and she has no memories of her mother, something she deeply regrets.
A couple of encounters on the train platform as they meet the funeral train redirect Flavia's detecting instincts. One of them is a stranger who approaches her with a cryptic message to pass to her father, and who is shortly thereafter pushed under the moving train. The other is a face-to-face meeting with former prime minister Winston Churchill, who makes a private comment to her, one that triggers a memory of a similar phrase Flavia had recently encountered elsewhere.
A couple of new de Luce family members have shown up for this homecoming, a cousin and her young daughter. Flavia responds to them in a territorial way and isn't sure whether they are to be trusted.
As the body of Flavia's mother lies in the house awaiting the funeral the following day, Flavia makes a plan, based in chemistry of course, to reconnect with her mother and prove her own worth. But things turn out differently than she expected and she encounters hidden depths in her family history heretofore unsuspected.
This time will change Flavia's life and redirect her future. An immensely satisfying episode in the series and I hope to see more of Flavia as she moves into her life.