The Weed That Strings the Hangman's BagBook - 2010
It's enough to set Flavia's detective instincts tingling and her chemistry lab humming. What are Rupert and Nialla trying to hide? Why are Grace and Gordon Ingleby, Robin's still-grieving parents, acting so strangely? And what does Mad Meg mean when she says the Devil has come back to Gibbet Wood? Then it's showtime for Porson's Puppets at St. Tancred's -- but as Nialla plays Mother Goose, Rupert's goose gets cooked as the victim of an electrocution that is too perfectly planned to be an accident. Someone had set the stage for murder .
Putting down her sister-punishing experiments and picking up her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia uncovers long-buried secrets of Bishop's Lacey, the seemingly idyllic village that is nevertheless home to a madwoman living in its woods, a prisoner-of-war with a soft spot for the English countryside, and two childless parents with a devastating secret. While the local police do their best to keep up with Flavia in solving Rupert's murder, his killer may pull Flavia in way over her head, to a startling discovery that reveals the chemical composition of vengeance.
From Library Staff
DanniOcean Mar 15, 2010
reviewed in Stratford Gazette on March 19, 2010
From the critics
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Flavia de Luce. Not an ordinary name for a budding detective, but then Flavia is not your ordinary sleuth. First, she’s just eleven. Second, she’s bright – almost too bright for her own good. Third, she has an unusual talent and love for chemistry. In particular, for brewing poisons of all hues and potencies. Other than that, she is your typical young girl living in 1950’s rural England in a rambling old Victorian mansion that comes complete with its own chemistry lab. She is tormented by two older sisters, she vies for the attention of her absent-minded father, and she wishes she’d known her adventurous mother, who died when Flavia was a baby. Her healthy imagination often has a morbidly melodramatic bent (like most young girls), but Flavia’s genius for brewing, acting and being nosy gives her access to her eccentric neighbours lives in ways the police do not. So when a famous puppeteer suddenly dies at the climax of his show, Flavia not only realizes he was murdered, but how. Soon she is ferreting out other details of the showman’s past and discovers that he may be linked to the death of a young boy several years earlier. Toss in the puppeteer’s beautiful but abused assistant, a farmer growing a rather unusual crop of greens, and a former German POW with an eye on her sister Ophelia, and there are enough suspects to keep Flavia on her toes until the very end. A quick-tempo, witty dialogue and a few chemical mishaps make this a funny, clever mystery that should find fans in both its intended adult audience, and in young girls who will be sure to identify with Flavia’s familial torments. This is the second in the highly original Flavia de Luce series, but it stands alone very nicely as its own mystery; the first from this Canadian author is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
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