Flavia, Feely, and Daffy?


The system I use to select reading material at the library has steered me into murder mysteries. For the second time in a row, I selected a book based upon its cover art, and both times the stories were mysteries.

I don’t really like murder stories, but I read this one because it was good. The premise is a little far-fetched, but entertaining. The book I selected this week is “Speaking From Among the Bones” by Alan Bradley. What I found a little suspect is the character who solves the mystery. In this story, Flavia de Luce is a precocious girl of eleven years who is the detective who out shines the local constabulary to solve the crime. I found the read somewhat Harry Potter like in that the central character is dauntless.

The story takes place in a small town in England during the nineteen fifties. The characters surrounding Flavia like her sisters with names like Feely, a nickname for Ophelia, and Daffy, a nickname for Daphne all have unique English names, and add to the entertainment of the story.

The story centers around the discovery of a dead body during the exhumation of a local Saint Tancred who is buried under the church named after him. What ever, the stretch of the imagination is Saint Tancred being uncovered on the five hundred anniversary of his death. The reason, to collect relics and to determine the condition of the body. Rumor has it that true Saints do not decompose and emit a heavenly scent when exhumed. The surprise comes when the committee exhuming Saint Tancred discovers the recently disappeared church organist in the chamber immediately above that of Saint Tancred.

The story becomes more involved when Flavia uncovers that an ancient monk left notes in his diary describing a huge diamond known as the Heart of Lucifer set into the Shepard Crook that lay with him.

As I said above the idea that an eleven year old is so astute to solve this crime is somewhat unbelievable, I have a ten-year old grand-daughter who is smart as a whip but cannot compare to Flavia de Luce.

One of the factors which drew me to this book is the bicycle on the cover art. I am a bicyclist and must admit that cycling reigns supreme above my old car fetish. In the story, Flavia rides a bike she named Gladys. Gladys is a character, but thankfully not a principal.

Author Alan Bradley did an outstanding job of creating the character of Flavia and I never imagined her as anything except a brilliant (genius) girl. The setting for the story is perfect for the year and the characters involved. Bradley’s descriptive writing made me see the story in my mind as it unfolded. Flavia and Harry Potter are similar, although Flavia is not a witch or a sorcerer.

My assessment of this book, is that I spent my time wisely, and it left me wanting more.


10 Responses

  1. I understand what you mean about Flavia being “unbelievable”, but I actually find that charming. My teen daughters liked her dauntless character – almost as if she were a super hero. That being said, the first book in the series shows her unable to rescue herself from her kidnapper. She is human after all.

    • Thanks for the great comment. Flavia became my hero too. I love stories where smart kids outdo their adult superiors. Maybe it is the kid in me.

  2. *sigh* I started not to stop in but I knew you would have something I would need with that title ..hahaha….
    I started another list of books this morning…and now yours will be added..
    I do like the bicycle..and of course the Crow! to add suspense
    Thank you Grumpa Joe, always a pleasure to stop by and see what you have to say…
    Take Care…You Matter…

    • Maryrose:
      Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.

      • I am sure I will..
        you gave a good review for me !
        though I am suppose to be reading Oliver North’s new book first…we’ll see it may get bumped down in my stack…
        Thanks again…

        • I would rather read the Oliver North book, but I had to give up on the political and government stuff, it put me into a very serious funk this summer.

        • mine ended today…I nearly went to convulsions between the terrorist still drawing a military pay cheque and the murder of the WWII vet…I quit…never have I felt such rage at the stupidity of this “New Improved America”
          okay off the pulpit…
          thats why I will probably read your book…though my mom said Ollie’s new one is really wild..!

        • What is the title of North’s book?

        • Hero’s Proved Oliver North

        • Thank you.

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