If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

January Interview Schedule:

Debra H. Goldstein 1/2, One Taste Too Many,

JC Kenney 1/9, A Literal Mess,

Barbara Ross 1/16, Steamed Open,

Joana Garcia 1/23, Voice Over Actor,

Sherry Harris 1/30, The Gun Also Rises.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 1/5 Jane Isenberg, 1/12 Bob Germaux

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 1/19 Margaret S. Hamilton, 1/26 Kait Carson

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: http://a.co/d/jdSBKdM

Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Annette Dashofy's Cry Wolf, was be released on September 18th.

Shari Randall's third Lobster Shack Mystery, Drawn and Buttered, will be published February 26, 2019 and is available for preorder now.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

A review by Margaret S. Hamilton

The grave’s a fine and private place/But none, I think, do there embrace.

Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress, 1681

In 2009, when I read Alan Bradley’s first Flavia de Luce book, I realized that Flavia was the fiendishly clever equivalent of my eleven-year-old self: tormented by her sisters (my siblings stole my eyeglasses), free to read without parental censure, with unlimited access to a chemistry lab (I had a chemistry set on an old table in the basement), and allowed to roam the local area on her bike. Reading Flavia’s adventures was a return to my own girlhood. With bodies.

In addition to her chemical pursuits, Flavia has a fascination with death. And in her small English village of Bishop’s Lacey, bodies turn up with depressing regularity. As the series progresses, Flavia morphs into an underage Miss Marple, collaborating with the long-suffering Inspector Hewitt solving local murders.

Most people probably never stop to think about why our burial places are so green. But if they ever did, their faces might turn the very shade of that graveyard grass, for underneath the picturesque moss and lichen, and beneath all those weathered stones, is a slowly simmering chemical stew, bubbling and burbling away in the dark earth as our ancestors and neighbors, with the help of a little chemistry, are returned to their Maker.                                                                 The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, p.13                                                                

In Bradley’s most recent book, Flavia is twelve, on the cusp of adolescence. While she still assumes the demeanor of a child when it suits her, she has become aware of herself as a persuasive and poised young woman. After the recent death of her father, Dogger, a loyal family servant, takes Flavia and her sisters on a country holiday. Flavia dangles her hand in a peaceful stream and, of course, discovers a corpse. Though she’s in a vacation location and without her trusty bicycle named “Gladys,” she teams up with Dogger as her fellow investigator. They use kitchen chemistry to investigate physical evidence and interview key witnesses.

Because potassium cyanide (KCN) would have been converted by Orlando’s stomach acids to prussic acid (HCN), these tests were simple. We could, of course, have produced the required picric acid with a handful of aspirin tablets in sulfuric acid, but we quickly decided upon an easier method: A couple of grams of sodium bicarbonate and a few drops of picric acid antiseptic, both from the first-aid kit Dogger had brought in from the Rolls, would do the trick nicely.               The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, p.101

Canadian Alan Bradley retired from his career in television engineering to write fiction. Flavia emerged in a story one day, as she sat on a campstool in a driveway, and refused to leave. Bradley made Flavia the protagonist of his first book. When Bradley won the Debut Dagger Award for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, he visited England for the first time. He left with a publishing contract for what has turned into a ten-book series. This past week, Bradley announced the sale of television rights for the series to a Canadian producer for CTV.

 Readers, have you read the Flavia de Luce books? Writers, have you written a book or story from a child’s perspective?


Grace Topping said...

This is an absolutely splendid series. I first heard of it when I attended a Malice Agatha awards dinner years ago and it was announced that "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" had won best first novel. The explosion of clapping that met that announcement intrigued me, and I quickly sought out a copy of the book. What a wonderful introduction to Flavia's world. When I discovered that Alan Bradley was from a place in Canada that my husband and I visited each year, I sent him an e-mail, and he sent me a lovely personal response. Unfortunately, he no longer lives there. It was a pleasure learning that the books are to be adapted for TV, but I hope the producers do the books justice. One can only hope that we'll get the series here in the U.S. since it is being produced in Canada. PBS, are you listening?

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I have all the Flavia de Luce books and love them. So does one of my sisters. I always look forward to the next one. I hadn't heard that the books will be adapted to TV. I hope it's on PBS my favorite channel.

Shari Randall said...

How I love this series - you've made me realize how far behind I am - and what treats lie in front of me!
Now I'm dying to see the tv show.

Warren Bull said...

What a fun series. I love the interaction between Flavia and her sisters.

E. B. Davis said...

No, I haven't read the series--but I have to. Your description makes me want to read the books. On my TBR pile! Am I the only one not to have read this series?

Margaret Turkevich said...

Grace, Gloria, Shari, Warren and Elaine, thanks for commenting. I'm excited about Flavia's TV series and anticipate her final book with joy and sadness.

KM Rockwood said...

I've read several of the books, and enjoyed them (thank you, Gloria, for pointing me toward them.)

I hope the TV shows do justice to the books!

C. T. Collier said...

I love this series, and I adore Flavia. I sure hope we'll get the TV series here in the States.

Kaye George said...

I feel so bad now! I haven't read the last few. I need to seek them out and remedy that. Thanks for reminding me of this ultra-fun series.