Tag Archives: Flavia deLuce

Review- Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

Title: Speaking From Among the Bones

Speaking From Among the bones
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Random House, January 29, 2013 (available for pre-order)
Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program
Rating: 4.5
Sexy Rating: N/A
Description from amazon.com:
Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they’re found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters’ diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there’s never such thing as an open-and-shut case.
**
You cannot read the Flavia deLuce novels and not become totally enthralled with the heroine. Flavia is a genius, she dabbles dangerously with chemicals in her deceased uncle’s laboratory. Her mother is presumed dead on a mountain climbing expedition. Her father is totally preoccupied with holding the family estate together and her sisters are so self-involved they give little attention to Flavia. Flavia’s comrade is butler/servant of all tasks, Dogger, who always has time to lend her a hand or answer a question. It is easy to see how such a young precocious Miss can gallivant around the village without too much accounting to anyone.
Bradley writes beautifully and often with profundity, for example:

“How odd, I thought: Here were these four great grievers, Father, Dogger, the Vicar, and Cynthia Richardson, each locked in his or her own past and unwilling to share a morsel of their anguish, not even with one another. Was sorrow, in the end, a private thing? A closed container? Something that, like a bucket of water, could be borne only on a single pair of shoulders?”

There is a certain amount of distraction in Flavia’s Chemistry experiments and the ending, although it ties up the mystery as only Flavia could, leaves us with a surprise wondering what will happen next . I will be waiting to read the next Flavia mystery. I’m totally invested in Flavia’s detecting career .

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Review-I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Title: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (a Flavia de Luce Novel)

Genre: Mystery

Author:  Alan Bradley

Publisher: Random House, 2011

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine program

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 1

Description from Amazon.com: It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

**

This mystery is set in post-WW2 Britain.  It is reminiscent of Agatha Christie and our precocious heroine is reminiscent of Kay Thompson’s Eloise, that precocious child that turned the Plaza Hotel upside down.

Flavia is in turn very bright and yet at times utterly innocent.  There is much wit and wisdom intertwined with the mystery of whodunit. 

I enjoyed this step back into another era and the cozy mystery drama of books I haven’t read in awhile.  I had forgotten how much fun a well written mystery could be.  The author spent a good deal of time on the characterization of Flavia and her family dynamic.  The book was not without pathos as well as comedy.

This is the 4th Flavia mystery novel but it is a standalone read with some mention of scenes from the former books in the series.  I have every intention of reading the other novels in the series.

From Alan Bradley at  http://flaviadeluce.com :

Some of the most frequently asked questions I am asked about Flavia de Luce are these:

1. How are the names “Flavia” and “de Luce” pronounced?

2. What are the titles of the Flavia books, and in what order should they be read?

3. Are the Flavia books suitable for children?

Here are the answers:

1. The pronunciation of Flavia’s name is FLAY’-vee-ah duh-LOOSE.

2. Although the books can be read in any order, it might help with the overall picture if they were read in the order in which they were published: “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”, “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag”, “A Red Herring Without Mustard”, and the forthcoming (November) “I Am Half-Sick of Shadows”.

3. Although written for adults, the Flavia books can be read by anyone who enjoys them. I’ve heard from readers ranging in age from 8 to 95.

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