Day 282: Speaking From Among the Bones

Cover for Speaking From Among the BonesEleven-year-old chemist and detective Flavia de Luce is back with her latest adventure in Speaking From Among the Bones. An expert in poisons and an accomplished snoop, Flavia has already solved four crimes before the ripe old age of twelve.

Having accompanied her sister Ophelia (Feely) to her organ practice one night, Flavia hears a flapping in the organ pipes that she thinks is a trapped bat. Feely is practicing for the Easter Sunday service, as Mr. Collicutt, the organist, has vanished.

The next morning when Flavia goes back to the church to get the bat out of the pipes (so that she can look at its blood under her microscope), she gets distracted into eavesdropping on a confrontation between the vicar and the bishop’s secretary over the unearthing and reburial of the bones of St. Tancred from his crypt in the church. The vicar has previously received permission to do this and now the bishop is trying to rescind it through a magistrate.

The vicar insists on going ahead, and the men open the sealed crypt enough so that Flavia can look into it. Inside the crypt is the body of Mr. Collicutt, with his head in an old gas mask.

Flavia’s investigations take her as usual all over the village and turn up all sorts of secrets, including a man hidden away in an old house, a secret passageway into St. Tancred’s crypt, and the whereabouts of a diamond that was buried with his body in the saint’s crozier. At the same time she worries about family problems, such as her sister’s impending marriage and the sale of the crumbling family mansion, Buckshaw, for back taxes.

As usual, Flavia herself is the most charming part of the series, as she plunges recklessly into and out of difficult situations, contemplates the structure of blood and the properties of ether, irritates her older sisters, and rides all over the village on her trusty bike Gladys. The novel is funny, the mystery absurd, the writing splendid, and Flavia always entertaining.

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