Speaking from Among the Bones

Speaking from Among the Bones is Alan Bradley’s latest entry in the superb Flavia deLuce series and is just as entertaining as his previous books. This time, Flavia discovers the corpse of St. Tancred’s church organist, Mr. Collicut, in the most unlikely of places – the tomb of St. Tancred himself. Flavia goes on to experience all sorts of the amusing and clever adventures we have come to expect from the author, all rendered with Bradley’s wonderful combination of wit and gravity.

By the end of the story, the murderer is unmasked, a de Luce sister is engaged to be married, and Buckshaw may indeed be lost to the family. The current state of the family finances pales, however, in comparison to the bombshell dropped by Mr. de Luce on the very last page.

Speaking from Among the Bones features a Flavia who is starting to grow up. Her relationships with her sisters, her father, Dogger, and the police inspector assigned to Bishop’s Lacey all have evolved from the first entry in the series, where her behavior was often that of a spoiled, willful child. Bradley reveals a little bit more of each family member in each book, which is what keeps me coming back for more. Flavia grows on you as the series grows; in fact, I found myself thinking of her as a young Harriet Vane by the end of this one.

As for the bombshell at the end, I won’t spoil it, but I will say….I KNEW IT! Highly recommended for those who enjoy witty, English mysteries, but I do recommend reading the series in order.

  1. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
  2. The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
  3. A Red Herring with Mustard
  4. I am Half-Sick of Shadows
  5. Speaking from Among the Bones

Playing Catch Up

I’ve been reading, reading, reading, but, alas, not writing. Here’s a down-n-dirty recap of my recent reading adventures….

  • Discovery of Witches & Shadow of the Night by Deborah Harkness – Discovery had been on my wait list for months, and I finally got around to it just before Christmas. I roared through it, and went right on to the sequel, Shadow of Night. Wonderful stories, both, which will appeal to those of you who like supernatural-historical-romance. Quick synopsis: a repressed witch uncovers a long hidden book of serious magic in the Bodleian, attracts the attention of a 1500 year old vampire, and ends up going back in time to 1590 to sort things out.
  • A Murder at Rosamund’s Gates by Susanna Calkins – Read the ARC from Netgalley and enjoyed this debut from an author who reminds a bit of Jill Paton Walsh. A raw and honest description of Restoration England and a spunky, smart young maid who embarks on a private investigation to save her brother from the hangman make this a pleasant enough read.
  • Inspector Ravenscroft series by Kerry Tombs – I stumbled on this series via some mindless browsing on Amazon and spent a couple weeks plowing through the series of four books – The Malvern Murders, The Worcester Whisperers, The Ledbury Lamplighters, and The Tewksbury Tomb. All decent enough mysteries set in 1880’s England. An unusual twist on Jack the Ripper provides some suspense in the series.
  • Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience by William Blake – I try to re-read something “classic” every year, and I was reminded of how much I love Blake by a reference passed by a friend online. I found a beautifully illustrated digital versi0n of Blake’s masterpiece and immersed myself in his weird but wonderful world for a time.  So worth it.
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – Had to have something less fiery than Blake, so I turned to Whitman’s collection of some of the most evocative words ever written. So gentle.

Lots of quick, little mindless mysteries filled in the gaps, although there wasn’t a whole lot of time to fill in. My goal for 2013 is to read more nonfiction. Any suggestions?