I just finished this book last night.  It earned 3 GoodReads stars from me: a fun, light read.  A step up from the Nancy Drew mysteries I cut my reading teeth on, but then, it’s not really written for an elementary school audience–more challenging vocabulary, deeper characters, some language (swearing, cursing, whatever you want to call it), better storyline (of course, it’s been a while since I’ve perused ND).  The book is appropriate for YA, Adult, and precocious Middle Graders.  Set in England during the 1950s, this mystery frolic follows 11-year-old chemistry phenom Flavia de Luce through adventures dangerous and dastardly.  I found myself mentally traipsing back to my childhood, imagining myself living her life.

The protagonist is, admittedly, a bit annoying at times.  Perhaps that is inevitable considering the evident influence of intelligence, privilege, and cool, sometimes even antagonistic, family relationships.  Still, the author knows his character and by the end, she has grown and I have gained some sympathy for her.  This is accomplished, in part, with brief, sometimes poignant, glimpses into the “sweetness at the bottom of the pie” that shows through subtle cracks in the “crust” of self-confident, capable Flavia, reminding me that she is really just a little girl riding her bike around the environs of her small town seeking pleasure and her place in the world, and dealing with death in the process.

A couple of final notes on the book:  It is the first in a series, and it is slated to be made into a TV series in 2015.

 

One of Flavia’s sisters, Ophelia, is a pianist, and Bradley uses her as a vehicle to sprinkle references to music throughout the book.  I loved this.  I actually noted each piece so I could listen to them.  I cruised around YouTube, and this is what I found.

Toccata from Sonata in A Major, Pietro Domenico Paradisi

Originally for Harpsichord

Eileen Joyce on piano

Arrangement for Harp and Strings

Flute and Bassoon (I don’t understand the “homage to Barbara Streisand bit.  Can anyone enlighten me?)

 

Robert Schumann sonatas  

Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op 11 (Emil Gilels)

Piano Sonata No. 2 in G Minor, Op 22  (Martha Argerich)

Piano Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op 14 (Grigory Sokolov)

If you liked those, or want something a little shorter, try something in this Schumann piano playlist.

 

Bach’s Goldberg Variations

Glenn Gould studio recording (video of studio session)

 

Ophelia did not play the following, but they were mentioned in the book.

“Harry Lime” Theme from The Third Man, Anton Karas

Originally instrumental (with zither and accordian)

Piano (straight)

Piano (variation)

Piano (and now it gets wild!)

Organ

UK Ukulele Orchestra

 

Beethoven’s 6th Symphony “Pastoral”

As there are many recordings available, and as it is 42 minutes long, I’ll just post one link.

Pastoral Symphony

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s