The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own. -- Adam Gopnik



December 18, 2012

Speaking {of Flavia} from Among the Bones



We were strolling pleasantly in the long grass at the back of the churchyard, the Inspector and I.
      ‘Your footprints are everywhere in that tunnel,’ he said, pointing back toward Cassandra Cottlestone’s busy tomb.
      I pretended surprise and bafflement. I could easily point out that there were plenty of people who wore plimsolls.
      ‘Don’t bother,’ he said. ‘We have your footprints on file.
      ‘As well as your fingerprints,’ he added. …
      I flipped on the switch marked ‘Shuddering Sobs,’ but nothing came.
      Damnation! I used to be a dab hand at water on demand. What on earth was happening to me? Was I becoming hardened? Was this what being twelve was going to be like?
I was lucky enough {thanks to Random House, via NetGalley} to read Alan Bradley's new Flavia de Luce mystery a little early {it will be published on January 29}, and though I liked it very much, while I was reading it I honestly wondered what else I would be able to say about it. One of the charms of these books is that we're instantly back in Bishop's Lacey, and the vicar is still the vicar, and everything at Buckshaw is more or less the same, and now that I've read John Mullan, Flavia is still eleven years old. {Elsewhere in the book, there is a passing reference -- aha! a crucial puzzle solved! -- when Flavia notes that she first worked with Inspector Hewitt (only) nine months ago.}

There's a murder, of course, one that could only happen in these books. {From the publisher:  '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?'} And to go with it. there are two wonderful characters who threaten to join Flavia in solving the crime, and she's not having that.

But Flavia recognizes that several significant things happen to her in this book, and if I was hoping there would be something to take this sixth book above and beyond the ordinary, let's just say that I found it.

1 comment:

Helen said...

I loved all the previous books in this series and am looking forward to reading this one, but I think we have to wait until March here in the UK. Flavia is such a wonderful character - though I would have expected her to be older than eleven by now!