The witches’ cauldron scene from Verdi’s opera Macbeth’at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, circa 1983.
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Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
By Alan Bradley (Delacorte Press)
The title is the first line of the cauldron scene in Macbeth, in which the three witches mix up their wicked and bubbly potions. The layered and intricate plots of this and the previous seven books in Bradley’s delightful series will cast a spell on you, for sure. Young Flavia de Luce, of Bishop’s Lacey, a hamlet in the English countryside, is aristocratic and too-brilliant-for-her-own-good. She has also just been sent home from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy. Returning to the crumbling ancestral estate, she’s back in the unwelcoming bosom of her family — her two unpleasant sisters and an even more annoying cousin. Even worse, her beloved father is in the hospital with a sudden illness, leaving Flavia at loose ends. As usual, she uses her time to stumble upon the latest local victim of foul play, and sets out to solve the case. Her familiar allies appear — Inspector Hewitt, the pastor’s wife, her father’s loyal aide-de-campe Dogger — along with some new adversaries and brushes with danger. Flavia narrates in her usual quirky voice and the events are engagingly diabolical. Double, double toil and trouble.
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(Image: Photo by Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images)