Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
For my review of the first Flavia de Luce mystery please check here: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Title: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (A Flavia de Luce Mystery)
Author: Alan Bradley
Genre: Adult Mystery
Alerts/Warnings: Violence associated with Murder, Mild language
Premise: "From bestselling author Alan Bradley comes this mystery starring one of fiction's most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths - separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads." "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 Bronte 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?" (BOOK JACKET)
Opinions: This is the second Flavia de Luce murder mystery that I've read in under a month. Don't let the 11 year old main character fool you, these mysteries are written for adults. Flavia's fascination with chemistry still flows throughout the story and helps her with observations that amaze even the local authorities. And yet, being eleven, Flavia can get away with doing a lot of things that most adults would be thrown in jail for. The one issue I really have with these stories is Flavia's relationship with her sisters. Granted, I know there are families which don't get along with each other, and even though my brother and I had our occasional battles, they were nothing like the out-and-out mean things Flavia's sisters say/do to her. Though, I must say, that the ways she retaliates aren't exactly innocent either.
I still think that Alan Bradley writes in a way that reminds me of Ms. Marple books by Agatha Christie. So if you are a lover of murder mysteries, and don't mind a heavy dose of chemistry thrown in, then I do recommend that you check these books out. I think you will enjoy them.