Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Review: Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley (Flavia de Luce #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great character growth
Cons: Plot appears to wander at times
The Bottom Line:
New body with old
Why was his body hidden?
Good visit with friends

Modern Corpse in the Crypt

While I have found the series more uneven than many people seem to, I’ve been enjoying the characters and situations in the Flavia de Luce mysteries.  So when a recent road trip found me with a CD that wouldn’t play, I wasn’t too upset when I was able to substitute Speaking From Among the Bones as a last minute audio book.

This book finds us in 1951.  It’s late March, and the week before Easter.  Flavia’s oldest sister Ophelia is concentrating on her debut as the parish organist at the upcoming service.  But the big news in their small village of Bishop’s Lacey is the crew that has come to town to dig up the remains of their patron saint.  St. Tancred has been dead for 500 years, and they are going to honor him.

Naturally, the eleven-year-old Flavia is on the scene when the crew sets to work.  But they’ve just dug into the outer chamber of the crypt when they make a shocking discovery.  There’s a second body in the crypt, this one decidedly more recent.  In fact, everyone in town recognizes him as Mr. Collicutt, the village’s former organist who vanished six weeks ago.  Of course, Flavia begins to dig into the latest mystery, but can she find the killer?

My main complaint with this series has been that the mysteries can be weak.  This one starts out right away, but the book does appear to wander around for a while until we reach the climax.  Most of the pieces of the book are indeed needed to solve things, and the solution is wonderful.

The real charm continues to be the characters.  Flavia is one of the most unique main characters.  While at times I can be annoyed by her antics (something kept to a minimum here), at others she is rather funny in her reactions to things.  We get to know a bit more about the rest of her family here and make some interesting new friends along the way.  The characters are becoming deeper and richer with every book, something I really enjoy.

In fact, I’m quite curious about how an on-going series sub-plot is going to progress.  I care enough about the characters I need to know they will be okay.  Granted, the cliffhanger at the end of the book would be enough to make me want to read the next one soon anyway.

Jane Entwistle is the narrator once again for the audio book, and she is Flavia.  Her inflections as she does the first person narration are half the fun.  I don’t know that I would enjoy reading the books for myself now I’ve gotten so spoiled.

Because of the character growth, it’s probably best to go back to the beginning to enjoy these books.  But you’ll be enjoying Speaking from Among the Bones before you know it.

Need to go back to the beginning?  Here are the Flavia de Luce mysteries in order.


  1. Jane Entwistle is the best! She's definitely Flavia. I've listened to the first 2 so far and have enjoyed it but so far it's not in my list of favorites. I do agree that the mystery can be a little weak and while the book stays with me I always have a little trouble remembering the conclusion. I'm looking forward to continuing the series though.

    1. That's a good summary of it. The conclusion and mystery is overshadowed by everything else. However, Jane Entwistle is a huge reason to keep coming back to listen to these books.

  2. I still need to read the first book. Geez I feel so behind.

    1. LOL. I'm that way with many series. Wish there were time for all the books I want to read.