Flavia de Luce is intrigued when her sister Feely (Ophelia) brings her the news that the church at Bishop’s Lacey is planning to exhume the remains of its namesake Saint Tancred on the quincentennial of his death in 1451. “Supercolossal…I hope I get a good squint at him when they drag him out of his box.” Not only does she get a squint she finds herself involved in yet another murder mystery. Speaking from Among the Bones is Alan Bradley’s fifth book about 11-year-old chemist and poison aficionado Flavia de Luce. Delightful as ever, she sleuths her way through tomb and parish to find the culprits.
Speaking from Among the Bones is full of endearing and clever humour. Flavia and her beloved, sometimes annoying family and neighbors are a joy. Elementary school readers however might find the characters too complex to enjoy without explanation. For example when they introduce Flavia’s fantasies about getting even with her detractors by means of poison, the reader should be sophisticated enough to know when this is indeed just fantasy.
During Christmas vacation my university-aged daughters read the first Alan Bradley book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. They loved it! In Speaking from Among the Bones Alan Bradley stays the course with an enticing plot with hilarious, gruesome or tender moments and great characters that continue to develop with each new book. I look forward to more stories by Alan Bradley. Although the series is written for youth I would recommend Speaking from Among the Bones to readers who like the Harry Potter books, Kenneth Oppel, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes or Charles Dickens.
Reviewed by Audrey Jahraus