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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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

Bradley, Alan.  The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag.

Flavia de Luce, the precocious  11-year-old protagonist of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, returns for her second outing in the small village of Bishop's Lacey.

Her two sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, still torment her.  Or is it the other way around?  Her fascination with chemistry and poisons continue.  Her stringently wicked observations about her life, her family, and her neighbors are also in good form once again.

The novel opens with Flavia lying in the cemetery imagining her own funeral.  It is the old childhood drama of "You'll be sorry when I'm dead."  How many of us as children played the sad scene of our own demise and its effects on friends and family?

Flavia is quickly distracted when she meets Nialla, the assistant to a famous puppeteer.  Without delay, she involves herself in the plans for a couple of puppet shows, but is quite observant of both Nialla and Rupert, the puppet master. When an "accident" occurs during the second performance, Flavia determines to solve the case.

 I think you have to enjoy Flavia to enjoy these mysteries.  Her rather outrageous personality and precocity carry the day; the mysteries are almost a sidebar.  Since I do like Flavia (and find her deliciously entertaining), I enjoyed this quick return to Bishop's Lacey--renewing my acquaintance with old friends and meeting some new ones.

Fiction.  Mystery/YA.  2010.  364 pages.


  1. I'm glad to hear this was as entertaining as the first. I'm a Flavia fan, so I'll look forward to this new release!

  2. I enjoyed it -- Flavia is really quite a character!

  3. I love Flavia and am ashamed that I didn't read this the second I bought it...waaaay back when it first came out. But I plan on getting to it for the upcoming RIP challenge and have no doubt that I'll enjoy the heck out of it.

  4. Carl, it will be a good choice for RIP!