As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
Goodreads ratings
3.95 / 5

"As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust" Summary

By Alan Bradley

mystery | 392 pages | Published in 2015

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFlavia de Luce—“part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (The New York Times Book Review)—takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia’s first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school’s stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim’s identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote’s is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed.Praise for As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust   “Flavia de Luce [is] perhaps contemporary crime fiction’s most original character—to say she is Pippi Longstocking with a Ph.D. in chemistry (speciality: poisons) barely begins to describe her.”—Maclean’s   “Another treat for readers of all ages . . . [As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust] maintains the high standards Bradley set from the start.”—Booklist   “Exceptional . . . [The] intriguing setup only gets better, and Bradley makes Miss Bodycote’s a suitably Gothic setting for Flavia’s sleuthing. Through it all, her morbid narrative voice continues to charm.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)  “Even after all these years, Flavia de Luce is still the world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth.”—The Seattle Times   “Plot twists come faster than Canadian snowfall. . . . Bradley’s sense of observation is as keen as gung-ho scientist Flavia’s. . . . The results so far are seven sparkling Flavia de Luce mysteries.”—Library Journal   “A rattling good ‘girls’ own adventure’ yarn with an extensive cast of characters and suspects . . . When all is revealed, the links, misunderstandings and secrecy have a satisfying click.”—Winnipeg Free Press  “A delightful installment in the series!”—LibraryReads  Acclaim for Alan Bradley’s beloved Flavia de Luce novels, winners of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, Barry Award, Agatha Award, Macavity Award, Dilys Winn Award, and Arthur Ellis Award   “If ever there were a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce.”—USA Today   “This idiosyncratic young heroine continues to charm.”—The Wall Street Journal   “Delightful . . . a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes.”—The Boston GlobeFrom the Hardcover edition.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

Flavia de Luce investigates a mysterious death at her new boarding school in Canada.


"As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust" is a captivating mystery novel written by Alan Bradley. This book is the seventh installment in the Flavia de Luce series, which follows the adventures of an intelligent and resourceful young detective named Flavia de Luce. Set in 1951, the story takes place in a boarding school in Canada, where Flavia finds herself immersed in yet another puzzling mystery.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story begins with Flavia being sent to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, a boarding school in Canada, after her previous escapades in England. Miss Bodycote’s is not just an ordinary school; it has a rich history and a few dark secrets. Flavia, being her curious self, quickly becomes entangled in a mysterious death and a series of strange occurrences at the school.


The majority of the story unfolds within the confines of Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, a centuries-old boarding school nestled in the Canadian countryside. The school's historic buildings, hidden passages, and enigmatic atmosphere contribute to the overall sense of intrigue and suspense.

Main Characters

Below are some of the main characters in "As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust":

Flavia de LuceThe 12-year-old protagonist and amateur sleuth with a passion for chemistry and solving mysteries.
DoggerFlavia’s loyal and resourceful friend and confidant, with a mysterious past.
Miss MountjoyThe strict headmistress of Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy.
PorcelainA fellow student at the academy who befriends Flavia.

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5

Flavia arrives at Miss Bodycote’s and starts to settle into her new surroundings. She encounters the enigmatic Headmistress, Miss Mountjoy, and forms an unlikely friendship with Porcelain, a fellow student. The discovery of a mummified body in her room sends Flavia on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious death.

Chapter 6-10

As Flavia delves deeper into the secrets of the school, she uncovers a network of hidden passages and learns about the school's connection to a clandestine organization. She navigates through the challenges of school life while pursuing her investigation, encountering both allies and adversaries along the way.

Chapter 11-15

The unfolding of unexpected events complicates Flavia’s mission, leading her to unravel the truth about Miss Bodycote’s and its ties to her own family history. As she gets closer to uncovering the identity of the deceased, she faces danger and deception, testing her resolve and intellect.

Chapter 16-20

The pieces of the puzzle start to come together as Flavia connects the dots between the past and the present. Her investigations lead to a shocking revelation that sheds light on the secrets hidden within the walls of Miss Bodycote’s, ultimately bringing the truth to the surface.

Main Events

  • Discovery of a mummified body in Flavia’s room
  • Uncovering hidden passages and secrets within the school
  • The revelation of Miss Bodycote’s connection to a clandestine organization
  • Flavia’s pursuit of the truth amidst danger and deception
  • Shocking revelations about the school and its ties to Flavia’s family history

Themes and Insights


  1. Discovery and Curiosity: The story revolves around the theme of exploration and the pursuit of truth, as Flavia’s inquisitive nature drives her to uncover the mysteries of Miss Bodycote’s.
  2. Identity and Family: Flavia’s journey intertwines with her own family history, highlighting the theme of identity and the significance of familial connections.
  3. Deception and Secrets: The narrative explores the theme of hidden truths and the consequences of deception, as Flavia unravels the clandestine activities at the academy.


The novel offers insights into the resilience and determination of its young protagonist, as Flavia navigates through unfamiliar territory, confronts challenges, and unravels complex secrets. It also delves into the intricacies of human relationships and the impact of the past on the present.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers will be captivated by the gripping narrative and the intricately woven plot, which keeps them engaged as they follow Flavia’s pursuit of truth and justice. The novel offers a compelling blend of mystery, adventure, and historical intrigue, providing an enriching reading experience for fans of the genre.


"As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust" showcases Alan Bradley’s masterful storytelling and his ability to create a compelling mystery set within an atmospheric and evocative backdrop. With its memorable characters, rich themes, and captivating plot, this installment in the Flavia de Luce series is sure to leave readers eagerly anticipating the next thrilling adventure of its intrepid young detective.

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust FAQ

  1. What is 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' about?

    The book 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' by Alan Bradley is about Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old amateur detective who is sent to a Canadian boarding school after a series of unfortunate events. She discovers a new mystery to solve involving the death of a fellow student.

  2. Is 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' part of a series?

    Yes, 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' is part of the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. It is the seventh book in the series.

  3. What genre is 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust'?

    'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' is a mystery novel with elements of historical fiction and coming-of-age themes.

  4. Is it necessary to read the previous books in the series before reading 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust'?

    While it's not strictly necessary to read the previous books in the series, it may provide additional context and background information about the main character, Flavia de Luce, and her previous adventures.

  5. Who would enjoy reading 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust'?

    Readers who enjoy mystery novels with a unique and resourceful young protagonist, as well as those interested in historical settings and boarding school settings, may enjoy 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust'.