Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sophia Rose Reviews-The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley, narrated by Jayne Entwhistle

Today blogmate Sophia Rose is reviewing the audio edition of The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley, narrated by Jayne Entwhistle

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley, narrated by Jayne Entwhistle
#10 Flavia de Luce mystery
Historical Mystery
Publisher:  Random House Audio
Published: 1.22.19
ISBN:  0449807754
Rating: 5
Narrator: 5
Time:  9 hours
Format: CD
Source:  Random House Audio
Sellers: Amazon/ B&N /Kobo:

A finger in a wedding cake is only the beginning in this deliciously shocking mystery featuring Flavia de Luce, "the world's greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth" (The Seattle Times).

Flavia de Luce, the twelve-year-old chemist and amateur detective "with better than an average brain," is eager to turn professional. She and her father's valet, Dogger, have founded a detective agency, Arthur Dogger & Associates, and unexpectedly cut into their first case during the revelry at her sister Ophelia's wedding reception.

After an eventful ceremony with a missing best man and spontaneous ventriloquist act, spirits are high as Feely and her new husband head for the towering and beautifully iced wedding cake. But as Feely slices into the first piece, a scream rings out--the bridal cake contains a severed human finger. Delighted, Flavia wraps the finger in a napkin and whisks it away to her chemical laboratory. By studying the embalmed skin, the indentation of a ring, and the slope of the fingernail, she'll not only be able to determine the identity of the victim--but also point a finger at a killer.

Sophia Rose's Review:

Flavia's sister, Ophelia, is getting married and not even a macabre incident gets in the way.  Flavia is more interested in this incident than caring about her sister's marrying and moving on.  Then, the detective agency she and Dogger, her father's former valet, open has their first customer.  But, it isn't long when a case to find missing letters turns into a murder investigation. 

I have been meaning to try this series for a long time.  And, in retrospect, jumping in at book ten was not a great idea, but luckily, I did just fine.  I can see how this series progressed on the personal story front over the course of the series so I definitely will be going back.

Now, as to The Golden Tresses of the Dead, I had a great time getting to know Flavia the twelve year old wonder at poisons, chemistry, and solving crime, Dogger whose dark past and sharp mind make him a stalwart aid to Flavia, and the rest of the regular cast around Buckshaw the de Luce house and the nearby village.  Flavia and Dogger are engaging characters and Flavia's wit and cleverness are tempered with humor and joie de vivre because she enjoys detecting and doing her chemical analysis.  She has lost both parents since her father's death not long before, but it was not like she was ever close to him or the rest of her eccentric family.  Dogger respects her as a partner and he is an adult that she can also respect and feel a connection with and look after in her own way because of his PTSD from a wartime POW situation he endured.  It's tough on her being more intelligent that almost everyone around her.  Her bookworm sister still remaining at home can give her a run for her money, but she prefers hanging out in the library and writing her memoirs.  None of the de Luce sisters are affectionate or close.  I saw shadows of Holmes and Mycroft in that dynamic which I loved.

I loved the English country setting and the modern historical time period of the twentieth century for this one.  The added element of a few players having just come back from equatorial Africa having met Albert Sweitzer as missionaries that the vicar's wife asks Flavia to put up at Buckshaw, a group of cricket playing school lads staying at the vicarage one of which forms a connection with Flavia, along with a few other colorful characters into quack medicine lent an interesting dynamic.

The mystery was not an easy one with a few twists and turns and plenty of suspects.  The motive was obscure as were several clues until they were dug up in the latter half of the book so my accurate guess was really just that- a guess based on very little fact.

This was my first occasion to enjoy the narrative work of Jayne Entwhistle, but she was sensational voicing Flavia's young teen girl voice, other young folks including boys, several other characters, and even a German accent in the mix.  She caught onto Flavia's excitement and even her melancholy with good timing and emotion.  I hope she narrated the whole series so I can catch more of her work as Flavia.

All in all, this was fabulous and I can't believe I waited so long to try this series.  Flavia is young, but this is not a YA.  Fans of historical mysteries are the target group.

My thanks to Random House Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio:
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.

Narrator’s Bio:
Jayne was born in the North of England and lived in a myriad of places (Vancouver, San Francisco, Tucson, Sequim, Seattle) before landing in Los Angeles. She is an avid improviser who hitched her space-work wagon to Patrick Bristow’s company, Improvatorium, where she studied, taught, directed and performed improv.
She is an award-winning audiobook narrator best known for her narration of the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. She also received the 2015 Odyssey Honour Award for The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry and the 2016 Odyssey Award for, The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
When not inhaling books for work or pleasure, Jayne works in film, television and commercials. The biggest star she has ever worked with is Shaquille O’Neal. He is quite literally THE biggest star she has ever worked with. Ever. He’s really big!

Sophia’s Bio:
Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.
Sophia’s Social Media Links:



  1. Sophia Rose I started this series wayyyy back when I was still moderating an online book club for B&N wow, why did I stop? Great review and thanks for putting it back on my radar!

    1. That's super!
      I'm kicking myself for waiting this long to try the series. :) I'm waiting on the library list for book one.

  2. I do love a good English setting! Wonderful review for this Sophia!

    1. Oh yes, I was definitely hooked. Hope you enjoy it if you get the chance. :)

  3. You do like to dive into series. I am glad this paid off.

    1. I know.. it's terrible. I saw there was a waiting list at my library for most of the books in the series and I'm on it for the first book, but then this one came up for review so I grabbed it. LOL

  4. As you know, historical mysteries are the best mysteries :D

    1. So true! It was fun to get this one. I couldn't tell if it was the 30's or the 50's in the English countryside because I was on audio and didn't want to bother to go back and look. Either way, the history part is fun. :)

  5. I enjoy Flavia's adventures very much and can't wait to read it!