The eleventh book for the book challenge is finished. I read Speaking From Among The Bones by Alan Bradley, the fifth Falvia de Luce mystery. Yes, Flavia de Luce is back and is excited because the tomb of St. Tancred, the patron saint of the Anglican church in Bishop’s Lacey and of the de Luce’s, is about to be opened. And we all know how Falvia loves the dead. She is ticking off on her fingers the number of dead bodies she has come across and the murders she has helped to solved–one, two, three, four. Down she goes to the crypt of St. Tancred’s to watch the exhumation proceedings after watching Feely’s organ practice. Mr. Collicutt, the organist, has run off and left St. Tancred’s without an organist right at Eastertide, so Felly is making her debut as organist and Falvia has been in the organ chamber trying to figure out what is making one pipe sound funny. But on to the crypt.
As the lid to the tomb is lifted, it is a bit stuck, and Flavia crawls in with her torch to see what she can. Imagine her surprise to find Mr.Collicutt with a gas mask over his face. He is dead of course. This would explain his mysterious disappearance. Now she can count an even five on her fingers. Inspector Hewitt and the local constabulary are called and the church becomes a crime scene. Flavia, of course, would like to know more. She and Gladys, her trusty bicycle, are in the church graveyard near the grave of one Cassandra Cottlestone, which has partially collapsed inward and which Daphne has told her has a tunnel built toward the church so that Cassandra, a suicide, could visit her mother and father who are buried in the crypt. Flavia inadvertently slips into the hole near the grave and lands amidst the grave muck in a passage that leads to a locked door. She is no longer wearing braces so can’t pick the lock on the door so makes plans to make a midnight foray to the church to check out the passage way into the crypt at a later time. As she climbs out of the pit, she scares the life out of poor Mrs. Rchardson, the vicar’s wife, who has to be carried home and given a sedative.
Home at Buckshaw and cleansed of the worst of the grave muck, Flavia meets Andrew Sowersby, a botanist and friend of her father’s, who is also interested in the opening of St. Trancred’s tomb since he is involved in the planting of ancient seeds. He is also involved in private investigations. Flavia and Gladys return to St. Trancred’s to hear the bishops’s secretary fighting with the vicar’s about revoking the permission to open the tomb and the Inspector shooing her away from the investigation. Flavia goes up into the church to investigate where she felt a draft coming in when she was there when Feely was playing the organ and runs into Miss Tanty, the solo soprano of the St. Tancred’s choir and Mad Meg, who is babbling about blood and saints. The three of them look up and the carved head of St. Tancred appears to be weeping bool and the bloody tears are falling onto the side aisle. Andrew Sowersby arrives and Flavia and Andrew both take samples of the “blood” to analyze, and the vicar arrive, weary and distraught over one more thing to worry about. Miss Tanty dips her finger in the “blood” and crosses herhelp and cries, “Oh, Lord, forgive me!” What!? Forgive me for what?
Back goes Flavia to Buckshaw, only to find more trouble brewing. A sheriff is there, pounding a sign into the group by the Mulford Gate. The sign says “For Sale.”
Now Flavia must solve the mystery of Mr. Collicutt’s murder, find out who Feely is going to marry (oh, I left out that part, didn’t I?), and find out why the bishop’s secretary doesn’t want St. Tancred’s tomb opened, and solve another little mystery that happens to pop up as she investigates these other little mysteries. And a greater mystery arises at the very end of the book so that we are left waiting for the next book to be written.
Fans of Flavia de Luce will not be disappointed in this book. She is still very much involved in her poisons and in chemical analysis. Her laboratory comes in handy as she tries to clean the grave muck from her various trip to the tunnel to the crypt. She must analyze the “blood.” She has concocted her very own brand of poison. And somehow she tries to think of a way to save the only home she has ever known. I highly recommend this book to all Flavia de Luce lovers and to those who would like to meet this amazing twelve year old for the first time. Sometimes you quite forget her age. Then you are brought back quite suddenly when she says or does something that is quite like twelve. But not too often.