Flavia is back! Ophelia is marrying Dieter and Flavia is on her best behavior, sort of…but then her sister finds a finger in her wedding cake and falls into tears that threaten to ruin her honeymoon. Flavia, quick-witted as she is, already secreted the digit and told her sister it was her doing and only a sausage. Flavia and Dogger quickly set to discovering whose finger and begin to work on the problem of how it came to be in the cake.

Meanwhile, a local woman Mrs. Prill comes to hire the newly constituted consulting detective firm of Arthur W. Dogger & Associates to find some stolen letters. They think their client is not completely honest with them, but begin the investigation in earnest. But soon, their client is dead and they have two cases to work on.

The Golden Tresses of the Dead made me so happy. Flavia is back! While I have enjoyed recent books in the series, author Alan Bradley seemed to be trying figure out where to go with the series even sending her to Canada, dabbling in espionage and family history, and even killing off her father. Setting up Digger, who has taken a far more important role, and Flavia is a brilliant idea. This sets them up for several more books without unnecessary and disruptive schemes to bring them into contact with crimes.

The mystery was complex and perhaps solved too quickly, but it was completely fair. At the end of the book, there is a “talking it out” chapter that wraps everything up nicely. I also like that Flavia makes a friend, someone I suspect we will meet again. Flavia is still twelve, but she has changed, she’s wiser and kinder, but still irrepressible and brilliant.

I guess five stars might be overrating it a bit, but I was afraid that the series was losing direction as series often do and am just that excited by its regeneration.

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