Monday, 16 September 2013

Canadian Mystery Writers Encyclopedia: Alan Bradley

Adam Bradley is a Canadian author who has written many books including the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. 

Born: 1938, Toronto, Canada 

Awards: Dilys Award, CWA Debut Dagger, Macavity Awards for Best First Mystery Novel 

Nominations: Anthony Award for Best First Novel 

List of Books:

(1) Ms Holmes of Baker Street: The Truth About Sherlock (2004)

Summary: Sherlock Holmes strides into our imagination, deerstalker hat jauntily set on his head, pipe protruding from his mouth, and a formidable intellect from which he painstakingly masters the mysteries he investigates. Yet the qualities that set Holmes apart as a masterful sleuth are rather commonplace—perhaps even universal—in any woman. In a deep investigation of the literature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, C. Alan Bradley and William A.S. Sarjeant uncover the surprising truth about Sherlock Holmes.

Buy here: Ms Holmes of Baker Street: The Truth About Sherlock

(2)The Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie (2011)

Summary: It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Buy here: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Flavia de Luce Mystery)

(3)The Weed that Stings the Hangman's Bag (2011)

Summary: When a travelling puppet show arrives in the village of Bishop's Lacey, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, sensing tension between domineering puppeteer Rupert Porson and his assistant Nialla, begins to sniff out the beginnings of a mystery worth pursuing. During a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk in the village hall, the audience is treated to an unexpected finale - a shocking death that echoes a tragedy that occurred in Bishop's Lacey many years before - and Flavia is thrilled to find herself with a front row seat in a murder investigation.

Buy here: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Flavia de Luce Mysteries)

(4)A Study in Sherlock (Oct 2011)

Summary: What would happen if you asked eighteen top writers who don’t normally write about Sherlock Holmes, to write about Sherlock Holmes? What if you wrote to them, saying: In 19th century England, a new kind of hero—a consulting detective—blossomed in the mind of an underemployed doctor and ignited the world’s imagination. In the thirteen decades since A Study in Scarlet first appeared, countless variations on that theme have been played, from Mary Russell to Greg House, from ‘Basil of Baker Street’ to the new BBC Holmes-in-the-Internet-age. We suspect that you have in the back of your mind a story that plays a variation on the Holmes theme....

Buy here: A Study in Sherlock: Stories inspired by the Holmes canon

(5)Red Herring Without Mustard (2012)

Summary: 'You frighten me,' the Gypsy said. 'Never have I seen my crystal ball so filled with darkness.' So begins eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce's third adventure through the charming but deceptively dark byways of the village of Bishop's Lacey. What the fortune teller in fact claimed to see was a vision of Flavia's mother, Harriet, who died on a mountainside in Tibet when Flavia was less than a year old. 'She's trying to come home,' the old woman intones. 'And she needs your help.' For Flavia, the old gypsy's words open up old wounds and new possibilities - not all of them nice. Is she a faker, or is there some truth to her powers, and the message she brings back from the other side? And when the village is rocked by another ghastly murder, how will a growing fascination with gypsy lore help Flavia to solve it?

Buy here: A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel (Flavia de Luce Mysteries)

(6) I am Half Sick of Shadows (2012)

Summary: It’s Christmastime, and Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

Buy here: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce Mystery, Book 4)

(7) Speaking From Among The Bones (2013)

Book Summary: Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they’re found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters’ diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there’s never such thing as an open-and-shut case.

Buy here: Speaking from Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel

(8) The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (2014)

Summary: On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message into her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysteriously pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia? Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself. Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office—and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gypsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit—Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.

Coming in 2014!

Read an amazing interview with the author here.

Flavia de Luce


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I love Sherlock, so that one caught my eye. Grest insight Clarissa

  3. I'll have to check out the Sherlock Holmes book!

  4. Are the Flavia mysteries aimed at children? Such a character and what adventures!! Take care

  5. Hi Clarissa .. Flavia de Luce sounds an interesting detective .. I think I'd enjoy some of these .. but I have another book to read first!! ... cheers Hilary

  6. What a wonderful list of stories. I'll have to find out more as I found Flavia de Luce quite intriguing.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Clarissa. I LOVE his Flavia de Luce novels. Such an intriguing heroine.

    I had heard about the Sherlock book and hope to read it one day. Sherlock a woman? It would be a great read.

  8. Hi, Clarissa,
    Haven't read anything by Mr. Bradley.
    Hope you are well.

  9. I want to read the second one with Flavia.

  10. Hello Clarissa!
    (did that even remotely sound like it was said by Hannibal Lecter?)
    I don't how how the actual books are, but the titles are awesome.

  11. Clarissa - Oh, I really love his Flavia de Luce series!!! I'm so glad you featured him. :-)

  12. Thanks for introducing me to an author that I did not know about. Maybe I'll find the time to explore more than just what you've said here.

  13. That Sherlock book sounds really interesting!

  14. Ooh, these sound great! What a talented writer!

  15. Just stopping in to say hi. After being on a long break, it's taking me a while to get around to everyone. Hope all is well with you.


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