The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley: Review
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Famous puppeteer Rupert Porson rolls into Flavia's village with his assistant in tow one day. His van has broken down and they are stranded. The vicar and Flavia help the pair out and the vicar asks Rupert to put on a show for the townspeople. He reluctantly agrees.
The first shock of the show comes when the puppet of Jack appears. He looks just like a young boy who died in the village. The second shock comes when Rupert, not the giant, comes crashing down onto the stage, dead. Flavia can't resist investigating.
This didn't quite have the charm and originality of the first book, but it was still good. I think this one felt a bit too dark for me. I typically steer clear of books that involve children's deaths. I know it happens, but I prefer to read in a world where it doesn't. I guess I like to keep my head in the sand.
The mystery twisted and turned and I had absolutely no idea whodunnit. Once the big reveal arrived, I completely bought it. It was very well done.
I still adore Flavia de Luce. She is so smart and funny and prickly but she is hurting inside. Her sisters get downright vicious when she pushes them far enough. And I think that is part of her problem. She wants some attention and pushing their buttons is the only way to reliably get it. That makes her sound like a needy brat and she's not; she's mostly happy tinkering away in her chemistry lab alone. But we all need human contact now and again, even self-sufficient Flavia.
In my review of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I wrote about my love/hate relationship with narrator Jayne Entwistle. She had grown on me by the end of that book so I continued in audio with this second installment. Now that I'm used to her, I can't imagine reading these books in any other format.
I recommend this series for readers who like precocious, strong female narrators. Flavia is a character I will always remember. I will definitely be continuing with the series.
Read or listen to an excerpt.
My 4-star review of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
Find author Alan Bradley on his website.
Buy The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag at
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