TITLE: THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN'S BAG
AUTHOR: ALAN BRADLEY
Details: no. 2 Flavia de Luce Mystery
This book was send to me by Bookdagger for my honest review.
This is the second book by Alan Bradley featuring the precocious Flavia de Luce.
Flavia is eleven years old, the youngest of three sisters who live with their philatelist and rather absent father in a mansion in the country-side in England in the 1950's.
Flavia could easily have been a lonely and sad little girl, bullied by her sisters, half believing that she caused her mother's death and more or less ignored by her father, but she's far to busy to be miserable. Her natural curiosity, her chemical laboratory, her fascination with poisons and her trusted bicycle Gladys combined keep her more than occupied.
It is on one of her rambles in the neighbourhood that she meets puppeteer Rupert Porson and his assistant Nialla. She immediately senses that there is a strong undercurrent between these two characters and that there might a mystery to resolve. But even Flavia's more than active imagination couldn't have conjured up what happens during a show put on my Rupert and Nialla. Within days of first meeting the duo Flavia is not only trying to solve a murder she all but witnessed but also the tragic death of a five year old boy six years earlier.
I do enjoy these mysteries, and am growing quite fond of Flavia.
The mysteries are very well plotted and the solutions make perfect sense. The characters in the book are quirky and eccentric enough to keep a smile on my face and the story flows really well.
My only reservation is that Flavia at times is a bit too precocious for an eleven year old. While in may ways she is a child and acts as one, she seems to be a bit too wise when it comes to solving a crime, and, this stretches the imagination the most, understanding the motivations of adults.
I personally could also do without the, at times very elaborate, descriptions of chemical experiments and compounds.
But, despite these two, minor, issues I do enjoy these books and the character of Flavia a lot. And I'm very happy to know that a third book in this series is due to be published this year.
On a side-note, I ran into two coincidences while reading this book.
To start with, the line I quoted from my previous read, Alice in Wonderland, "I shall begin at the beginning, and go on till I come to the end. And then I shall stop" made a re-appearance in this book. Serendipity like that never ceases to amaze me and happens more often that you'd expect.
The second surprise was to find an online friend and fellow book enthusiast, Lesa Holstine, mentioned in the acknowledgements.
Surprises like that make reading even more fun than it is for its own sake.