REVIEW: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

March 10, 2016

 

SYNOPSIS: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head? (amazon.com)

 

GENRE: Mystery, British 1950's

 

SERIES: Flavia de Luce #2

 

FAVORITE QUOTE: There were many quotations from this book that I loved but since I can't share them all, I picked this one - “Seen from the air, the male mind must look rather like the canals of Europe, with ideas being towed along well-worn towpaths by heavy-footed dray horses. There is never any doubt that they will, despite wind and weather, reach their destinations by following a simple series of connected lines.But the female mind, even in my limited experience, seems more of a vast and teeming swamp, but a swamp that knows in an instant whenever a stranger--even miles away--has so much as dipped a single toe into her waters. People who talk about this phenomenon, most of whom know nothing whatsoever about it, call it 'woman's intuition.' "

 

RATING: 3/5 chuckle worthy stars!

 

REVIEW: I loved the first book so much that I confess to not even reading the book blurb for this book before starting. I probably should have because I was more than 75 pages in when I started wondering where the murder was or if it had shifted to some other type of mystery and what I was missing. The murder happens quite late in the plot, with many of the legwork being inadvertanly done in the first 3rd of the book with our little heroine none the wiser. Despite that little blip in my reading progress, I really liked this book.

 

As always happens in a serial like this one, I can't help comparing to the others in the series. So in that case, the first book was better, but that shouldn't stop anyone from continuing.

 

Our lovely, precocious, and devious heroine Flavia de Luce is at it again. Through her inquisitveness she uncovers a web of secrets and half-truths that weaves it's way through the citizens of Bishop's Lacey. With science, her trusty bike Gladys, and a touch more common sense than the adults involved, she becomes embroiled in not just one death but possibly two. And yet Alan Bradley still manages to create a character, that although wise beyond her years, is still a child, with all the naivete and misinterpretations inherent to an 11 year old girl. The combination is perfectly delightful.

 

Several new characters are introduced in this book that seem as if they will be recurring and old favorites are featured as well. As for Flavia's evil sisters, well they seem to get more cruel in this book, which has us rooting for Flavia's evil chemical machinations. Time will only tell if karmic justice will be done.

 

Eagerly anticipating the next Flavia de Luce novel!

 

 

 

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