Tuesday, April 6, 2010

After meeting 11 year old aspiring poisoner Flavia de Luce in her first adventure, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I was looking forward to reading about her latest escapades in The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. This second installment takes place soon after the events of the last novel have wrapped up.

Flavia is still living in the old family mansion with her widowed father and her two odious sisters Feely and Daffy. The family is still subjected to the culinary disasters of Mrs. Mullet, the housekeeper, and the handyman Dogger is still hanging around. This time, however, the main focus of the novel seems to be puppets. A famous puppeteer and his assistant break down while traveling through Bishop's Lacey. Naturally, Flavia is nearby when the drama occurs, and she is quickly drawn into the action. The puppeteer, Rupert Porson, is persuaded to give a performance at the church while his vehicle is being repaired.

Thus, we learn waaaayyyy more than we needed to about the goings on behind the scenes (and on stage) of the puppet show. Naturally, someone is murdered during the show, and it's up to Flavia to rush around the village detecting while the slow-witted cops try to determine if a crime even occurred.

Flavia is as intelligent and occasionally devious as ever as she solves crimes and plots terrible revenge toward her sisters. This book, however, with its rather too in-depth descriptions of all things puppet-related sometimes left me cold. However, Flavia is such a unique character that even that was a small flaw in an otherwise enjoyable book. Here's looking forward to Flavia's next adventures!

Final Verdict for The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag: Three Gherkins, for being a generally enjoyable look at the latest adventures of Flavia and Gladys, her trusty bicycle


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

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