Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, by Alan Bradley

I was delighted, once again, by Flavia De Luce in The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag. She continues to be one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s an intelligent, nosey, precocious little girl that will steal your heart. 

This mystery is about a puppeteer and his mistress who come to Bishop’s Lacey and perform Jack and the Beanstalk. The puppeteer is electrocuted during the performance, and of course, Flavia is right on it.  She also becomes curious about the details of an eight-year-old boy’s accidental hanging five years ago. It all becomes one big mess and Flavia happens to be the only one able to sort it out, of course in her usual flamboyant fashion.

There are things in this book that I usually don’t care for. Some of Flavia’s descriptions and stories go on and on and wander far from the story line – but I simply love every word. There are detailed technical descriptions of chemicals and poisons and experiments and I didn’t mind that a bit. I think it’s because of the tone with which Flavia describes things. She’s so darn happy with herself for figuring everything out, that it makes me happy too.

If you like a good mystery, and don’t mind wandering around a bit, you’ll love Bradley’s books. These stories take place in 1950 in England, so the bonus is a wonderful exploration of that time in history. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was our first introduction to Flavia, and The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag just left me wanting more. The third book, A Red Herring Without Mustard came out in February, and is definitely on my list. I’ll be reading everything Bradley writes about Flavia!

I listened to the audio version of this book and Jayne Entwistle was born to read these characters. She’s simply exceptional. Just listen, and you’ll see what I mean.

Published by Delacorte, 2010
Audiobook obtained from the library
384 pages

Rating: 5/5

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1 comment:

  1. I LOVED Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie! We read it in my book club last summer. I'll have to add this one to my TBR pile for sure.
    Great review!


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