At the bottom of page 226 in Speaking From Among the Bones (2013), author Alan Bradley has his amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce wonder to herself:
What was she going on about? There was nothing remotely amusing about what she had said. In fact, it made no sense at all.
In this instance, Flavia is referring to a recent conversation with Mrs. Mullett, the cook and housekeeper of Buckworth, the slowly moldering English country house that Flavia, her father, and her two sisters live in.
But those words actually struck me as a pretty fair assessment of this fifth and latest adventure of the now 12-year-old detective and lover of poisons.
It is as if Mr. Bradley put this book together after doing some timed writing exercises: Flavia in her chemical laboratory; Flavia in the church graveyard; Flavia among the church's organ pipes; Flavia in the crypt; Flavia in the kitchen talking with her father.
She flits from here to there around the town of Bishop's Lacey and environs on her bicycle Gladys. She gives too many boring chemistry lessons to the reader. She somehow ends up with a laying hen that she now keeps in her bedroom.
And none of these actions move the plot along.
Every scene races by and rarely do any of them really hang together or add to the solution of the mystery...who killed Mr. Collicutt the church organist?
Actually, by page 226 I had even forgotten that there had been a murder so rarely was it mentioned.
So I am afraid that even though I am a tad bit more than halfway through the book, I will pull my bookmark and send Flavia de Luce back to the library. Maybe the next reader can make some sense of it.