Monday, March 22, 2010

New Release: The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag

Do you really need me to tell you that The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag is wonderful?  Did you read Alan Bradley's first Flavia de Luce mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?  Did you think there was any way that he wouldn't continue with the same brilliance and character that he brought to the first book?  This book was everything I wanted it to be and more.  I think it's possible that I like it better than the first!

In this book we rejoin the eleven year old Flavia de Luce as she is lying in a graveyard, imagining her own death and funeral.  She is brought out of her morbid reverie by the sound of a woman sobbing.  The woman turns out to be the beautiful Nialla, assistant to renowned BBC puppeteer Rupert Porson. Their van has broken down and the mechanic is away for the weekend.  There's nothing for them to do but to schedule a pair of shows for the locals and try to earn some money toward their van repairs.  But, of course, nothing is as it seems and Flavia soon finds out things about not only Nialla and Rupert but also some of her own neighbors.  Eventually, she takes her part in solving both a modern-day crime and also a five year old one.

If you like mysteries at all and haven't read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie yet, get yourself a copy.  I know it had a lot of hype last year when it came out but it really deserved it.  It's a fantastic book.  And this is a wonderful sequel.  It is a different type of narrative--the murder doesn't even happen until almost half-way through the book--but it's the same Flavia.  She's smart and observant and tough.  She still fights with her awful sisters and exasperates her eccentric father.  She is kind to the shell-shocked Dogger and is almost universally liked in Bishop's Lacey.  The mystery is strong and just as shocking as some of Flavia's more poisonous thoughts.  What else can I say except that Alan Bradley can't finish the next book soon enough!

Pondering how my advanced chemistry classes now seem so inadequate,

Support our site and buy The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. Glad u enjoyed this one (me too) fantastic series. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

  2. I confess that I am trying to talk my little sister into getting this for my mother for her birthday. I mean I think my mother really wants it, but I also would like to read it. :P So glad it lives up to the first one!!

  3. Oh you lucky duck! I have requested this from the library and am still waiting. I'm so glad to hear it is as good (or better) than the first!!!!! I saw it in a book store and looked at it lovingly. (It seemed very small in size ... did you notice that? The actual physical book?) Anyway, I also wanted to tell you that I got a Jasper Fforde book to try out (Humpty Dumpty is murdered or something like that) based on you.

  4. Diane - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoy the series too.

    Jennysbooks - I love the dual purpose gift idea. :) I hope you get to read it soon (after your mom, of course, since it will be her gift!).

    Jenners - I had a bit left of an Amazon christmas gift certificate so I pre-ordered it!
    I can't wait to hear what you think about your first Jasper Fforde!