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Speaking from among the Bones (Flavia de Luce Series #5)

Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel - Alan Bradley Rating: 3.9* of five The Book Description: 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.My Review: The ending threw me a curve.The middle was a busy muddle.The beginning was a laugh a minute.And I enjoyed it all. I didn't know who the murderer was, and when revealed I was a bit surprised I hadn't thought of that. I was mildly ticked that, at the ending of the book after the murderer was disposed of, a loose end wasn't tucked tidily away but rather left to be part of the cliffhanger resolution. If Mr. Bradley should happen to pass into his Eternal Reward before the next book is completed and edited, I shall engage every root woman and witch doctor and psychic and spiritualist I can locate to hound the rotter into spirit-writing it.So, since I'm usually a tartar about judging cozies, demanding the characters and the plot mesh, why am I still reading these somewhat ramshackle novels? After all, the murderer's identity isn't at all well set up, and the red herrings are ummm far-fetched, and the propulsive event is barely, barely set up and then ignored.Yeah, well, cozies are about characters and about a species of ma'at maintenance, and these novels deliver all the pleasures of those qualities in spades, doubled. Bradley's quite improbable little genius Flavia de Luce is a pill of the first water, a know-it-all, and a little girl on the edge of some enormous growings-up that all of us who've passed through adolescence can empathize with. Her passive, defeated father, her cruel sisters, her delightful world of Buckshaw with its fully equipped chemistry lab and its decaying splendor, and the people of Bishop's Lacey, all mix together into an immersive Barsetshire-esque experience of enfolding charm and warmth.This is the fifth book, don't begin here if you're picking up a new series as too much will be a spoiler for some payoff surprises in earlier books. But should you pick up the series at all? Hmmm. Don't, if you're a puzzle-solver; don't, if you have to have a sleuth whose abilities and access are believable; do, if you're after the aforementioned immersive experience.But, if you do read the book, I defy you not to laugh at the fate of the Heart of Lucifer.