Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley is the fifth book in the Flavia de Luce series. If you haven’t met Flavia yet, you are missing out. I love these books so much that I ration them, so that I always know there are one or two left for me to read (seven have been published, so far).
Flavia is an eleven-year-old amateur chemist (using her great uncle’s abandoned lab) and sleuth living in the village of Bishop’s Lacey in 1950s England. Recently, a number of dead bodies have turned up in the village, and of course Flavia must help the police solve the murders. All this is against the back drop of her life with her tormenting sisters, her father’s financial problems, and the family cook, Mrs. Mullet’s dreadful food. I particularly liked the scene with Flavia and her father in the kitchen.
In this latest installment, it’s been 500 years since the death of St. Tancred. In honor of the occasion, his tomb in the church will be opened. Not wanting to miss anything, Flavia is there to see the action. But someone has beat them to it, and when Flavia looks into the tomb, she finds a dead body. With her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia sets out to solve the mystery and meets some interesting characters along the way.
Chapter 17, begins with an excellent description of writing.
“Back home at Buckshaw, I hunched over my notebook in the laboratory. I had found by experience that putting things down on paper helped to clear the mind in precisely the same way, as Mrs. Mullet had taught me, that an eggshell clarifies the consommé or the coffee, which, of course, is a simple matter of chemistry. The albumin contained in the eggshell has the property of collecting and binding the rubbish that floats in the dark liquid, which can be removed and discarded in a single reeking clot: a perfect description of the writing process.”
I’m seriously considering not waiting months and months before reading the next book, but I will try to resist the temptation. The very last line of the book made me really want to know what happens next.