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Sunday, April 4, 2010
Review of The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
by Alan Bradley
Available now in hardcover
This is the second Flavia de Luce mystery. After I read the first one, entitled The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, you may recall that I called Flavia "my favorite character in literature." This book proved it. Even if this series was not full of murder mysteries and intrigue--even if it was just a week in the life of Flavia de Luce, riding her bike (Gladys) around the countryside and serving tea at church--I would still love it. Flavia is eleven years old. She is the youngest of the three de Luce girls, who live with their widower father on the Buckshaw estate. Flavia's sisters are the bane of her existence, and she uses her budding expertise in chemistry to play tricks on them. (For example, in the first book she extracts the poison from a batch of poison ivy, melts down Ophelia's favorite lipstick, mixes in the toxin, and reforms the lipstick into its original shape. She then makes field notes for the next week as she waits for the poison ivy to do its work.)
Inevitably, there is a murder in the nearby town of Bishop's Lacey and Flavia must put her detection skills to the test. Can she solve the mystery before the local constabulary does?