Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Alan Bradley’s Speaking from Among the Bones is a typical Flavia de Luce novel.

The Flavia de Luce novels are young-adult gothic mysteries set in Bishop’s Lacey, an out-of-the-way English hamlet. Flavia is an eleven-year-old genius in a collapsing aristocratic family.

In this book, the local church decides to disinter the bones of St. Tancred, their patron saint buried underneath the church floor. As they do the disinterment, they find the fairly-recently-murdered corpse of their church organist.

As always, Flavia is at the head of the line. She finds the corpse. And then she sets out to solve the murder.

These books are special because Flavia and Bishop’s Lacey are special. Much of the surrounding milieu remains the same. Flavia’s sisters continue to hate her, though that seems to be changing. Flavia’s father is a defeated old man about to lose his wife's family's ancestral home. The people in Flavia’s home town are as intertwined and gossipy as people in many small towns are.

For me (and apparently many others), these books have a special charm. Flavia is smart enough and devious enough to be interesting.

One thing about this book--It has a 1950’s Saturday-afternoon-matinee-serial ending. We all remember when Batman (or whatever hero) ended the episode on the edge of the cliff. You would have to come back next week to see what happened.

I don’t know if I liked that in this book. To me, it made the story seem too contrived. But I will come back and read the next one. I am too much of an old 1950’s every-Saturday-afternoon movie goer not to want to find out what happens next.   

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