Wednesday, October 12, 2016

RIP Mini-reviews: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd and The Fireman

In this eighth Flavia de Luce mystery, our heroine is growing up and learning some tough truths. She expects her return from school to be greeted with celebration from her family. Instead, her father is in the hospital, her sisters are preoccupied with their own problems, and even the family's beloved Dogger is hard to find. But some things never change in Bishop's Lacy, and it's not long before Flavia discovers a dead body and decides to take on the case.

This wasn't my favorite Flavia mystery so far - I had expected bigger things to happen as a result of the events in previous books. But I do adore the way Bradley uses his stories to tell readers about the details of life in 1950s era England. In this particular one, readers get some insight into publishing and medicine during this period. And of course, Flavia herself is a joy to accompany, especially now as she is grappling with some more adult responsibilities with her trademark spunk. Reading a Flavia de Luce mystery always feels like coming home to your slightly batty, but very beloved family. There just happens to be the small issue of a homicide to solve before the last page.

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd
By Alan Bradley
Delacorte Press September 2016
331 pages
Read via Netgalley

Harper Greyson is a nurse determined to help her patients, first at the elementary school where she works and then at the local hospital. But her skills and compassion are not enough to save all of her patients as a strange pandemic called Dragonscale strikes the world. This disease causes its victims to break out in shiny scales before they spontaneously combust. Harper soon discovers she is pregnant and she will do absolutely anything to save her child. When a mysterious man known only as The Fireman appears and offers to bring her to safety, she takes him up on it. But safety may be only a memory as Harper and The Fireman discover what people are capable of during their darkest moments.

The Fireman is a long book, but it's one that moves quickly. Harper starts out as a somewhat naive character, happy to let her husband take care of most things as she placates the students at her school with candy and tunes from Mary Poppins. The dragonscale and the panic that follows forces her to grow quickly without room for error. While dragonscale itself is presented as the horror here, the characters and readers quickly discover that the real terror is what frightened people will do. People with the disease are scorned if not killed and survivors become desperate as resources dwindle and infrastructure falls apart. Joe Hill gives readers a sprawling story, a big bunch of well-developed characters, and some serious questions about what it means to retain our humanity.

The Fireman
By Joe Hill
William Morrow May 2016
747 pages
From the library

I read both of these books as a part of Readers Imbibing Peril, an event for reading mystery, horror, suspense, and thrillers.



  1. I have the new Flavia mystery on hold and am hoping to get it soon-- she's such a feisty, fun character-- but I think I'm #82 on the hold list, so it might take awhile.

  2. I still need to check out the Flavia de Luce series!

    The Fireman sounds like it could be quite a good read - I was going to check it out and then saw the 700+ pages; woah!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. I was going to read The Fireman but I don't read almost any horror, and I've heard that Joe Hill pushes the envelope with descriptions in his novels, though he is a very good author... so probably not for me. I used to read his dad's books in the beginning until they started to get more graphic and "creepy weird". I do respect their talent immensely!

    I never picked up the Alan Bradley series because it features a child as the MC. I don't read children's or MG at all anymore, and very little YA, so I was wondering... does this still read as an adult book even though the MC is very young? I do like British mysteries :)

  4. I've only read the first 3 Flavia books. I've got some catching up to do!

  5. I'm really looking forward to The Fireman on audio!