Review: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

Title: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce #2)

Author: Alan Bradley Image

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who’d do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces’ crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What of the vicar’s odd ministrations to the catatonic woman in the dovecote? Then there’s a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters, a reproachful spinster aunt, and even a box of poisoned chocolates. Most troubling of all is Porson’s assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla. 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?

Review: Chemistry! Chemistry!

It has been a little over a month since we last went on an adventure with Flavia de Luce, but never fear — because Alan Bradley has invited us back to the town of Bishop’s Lacey to join our favorite eleven-year-old sleuth. While Flavia might have originally thought her mystery solving days were over, the wish of her faithful readers has been granted when another stranger appears in the town and soon dies. The circumstances of his death were all public and Flavia was literally sitting front row and center to the man’s demise, so it is little wonder that she becomes involved. And as before, the death of present time is somehow connected to a death that occurred years past, when a young boy was found with his neck in a noose.

Despite it taking some time for the murder to occur, I found that I enjoyed this book as much as the first. The characters are further developed upon and the town of Bishop’s Lacey is further explored, and Flavia and the reader learn more about her mother. All the components that made The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie so enjoyable return as well. For there is dry humor in spades, clashes between sisters, jaunts down village roads on Gladys, and conversations with Dogger. All eventually accumulates into a mystery that was not as obvious as the first time around; if you want to be kept guessing then this is the book for you.

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