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Speaking from Among the Bones

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Speaking from Among the Bones

Flavia de Luce Mystery Series, Book 5
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPRNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom award-winning author Alan Bradley comes the next cozy British mystery starring intrepid young sleuth Flavia de Luce, hailed...
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPRNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERFrom award-winning author Alan Bradley comes the next cozy British mystery starring intrepid young sleuth Flavia de Luce, hailed...
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    4 - 5



    From award-winning author Alan Bradley comes the next cozy British mystery starring intrepid young sleuth Flavia de Luce, hailed by USA Today as "one of the most remarkable creations in recent literature."

    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.

    BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Alan Bradley's The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches.

    Acclaim for Speaking from Among the Bones

    "[Alan] Bradley scores another success. . . . This series is a grown-up version of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and all those mysteries you fell in love with as a child."--The San Diego Union-Tribune

    "The precocious and irrepressible Flavia . . . continues to delight."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Fiendishly brilliant . . . Bradley has created an utterly charming cast of characters . . . as quirky as any British mystery fan could hope for."--Bookreporter

    "Delightful and entertaining."--San Jose Mercury News

    Acclaim for Alan Bradley's beloved Flavia de Luce novels, winners of the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award, Barry Award, Agatha Award, Macavity Award, Dilys Winn Award, and Arthur Ellis Award

    "Every Flavia de Luce novel is a reason to celebrate."--USA Today

    "Delightful."--The Boston Globe, on The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    "Utterly beguiling."--People (four stars), on The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

    "Irresistibly appealing."--The New York Times Book Review, on A Red Herring Without Mustard
  • Chapter One

    Blood dripped from the neck of the severed head and fell in a drizzle of red raindrops, clotting into a ruby pool upon the black and white tiles. The face wore a grimace of surprise, as if the man had died in the middle of a scream. His teeth, each clearly divided from its neighbor by a black line, were bared in a horrible, silent scream.

    I couldn't take my eyes off the thing.

    The woman who proudly held the gaping head at arm's length by its curly blue-­black hair was wearing a scarlet dress--­almost, but not quite, the color of the dead man's blood.

    To one side, a servant with downcast eyes held the platter upon which she had carried the head into the room. Seated on a wooden throne, a matron in a saffron dress leaned forward in square-­jawed pleasure, her hands clenched into fists on the arms of her chair as she took a good look at the grisly trophy. Her name was Herodias, and she was the wife of the king.

    The younger woman, the one clutching the head, was--at least, according to the historian Flavius Josephus--named Salome. She was the stepdaughter of the king, whose name was Herod, and Herodias was her mother.

    The detached head, of course, belonged to John the Baptist.

    I remembered hearing the whole sordid story not more than a month ago when Father read aloud the Second Lesson from the back of the great carved wooden eagle which served as the lectern at St. Tancred's.

    On that winter morning I had gazed up, transfixed, just as I was gazing now, at the stained-­glass window in which this fascinating scene was depicted.

    Later, during his sermon, the vicar had explained that in Old Testament times, our blood was thought to contain our lives.

    Of course!


    Why hadn't I thought of it before?

    "Feely," I said, tugging at her sleeve, "I have to go home."

    My sister ignored me. She peered closely at the music book as, in the dusky shadows of the fading light, her fingers flew like white birds over the keys of the organ.

    Mendelssohn's Wie gross ist des Allmächt'gen Güte.

    " 'How great are the works of the Almighty,' " she told me it meant.

    Easter was now less than a week away and Feely was trying to whip the piece into shape for her official debut as organist of St. Tancred's. The flighty Mr. Collicutt, who had held the post only since last summer, had vanished suddenly from our village without explanation and Feely had been asked to step into his shoes.

    St. Tancred's went through organists like a python goes through white mice. Years ago, there had been Mr. Taggart, then Mr. Denning. It was now Mr. Collicutt's kick at the cat.

    "Feely," I said. "It's important. There's something I have to do."

    Feely jabbed one of the ivory coupling buttons with her thumb and the organ gave out a roar. I loved this part of the piece: the point where it leaps in an instant from sounding like a quiet sea at sunset to the snarl of a jungle animal.

    When it comes to organ music, loud is good--­at least to my way of thinking.

    I tucked my knees up under my chin and huddled back into the corner of the choir stall. It was obvious that Feely was going to slog her way through to the end come hell or high water, and I would simply have to wait it out.

    I looked at my surroundings but there wasn't much to see. In the feeble glow of the single bulb above the music rack, Feely and I might as well have been castaways on a tiny raft of light in a sea of darkness.

    By twisting my neck and tilting my head back like a hanged man, I could just make out the head of Saint Tancred, which was carved in English oak at the end...

About the Author-
  • Alan Bradley is the internationally bestselling author of many short stories, children's stories, newspaper columns, and the memoir The Shoebox Bible. His first Flavia de Luce novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, received the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award, the Dilys Winn Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Agatha Award, the Macavity Award, and the Barry Award, and was nominated for the Anthony Award. His other Flavia de Luce novels are The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Red Herring Without Mustard, and I Am Half-Sick of Shadows.

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Speaking from Among the Bones
Speaking from Among the Bones
Flavia de Luce Mystery Series, Book 5
Alan Bradley
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Flavia de Luce Mystery Series, Book 5
Alan Bradley
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