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Alan Bradley

Speaking from Among the Bones

Alan Bradley Speaking From Among The Bones
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Biographical note:

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.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

•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!

Blood!

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, loudAcclaim 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 Flavia de Luce novels
 
“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


From the Paperback edition.


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