The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce didn't intend to investigate another murder -- but then, Rupert Porson didn't intend to die. When the master puppeteer's van breaks down in the village of Bishop's Lacey, Flavia is front and centre to help Rupert and his charming assistant, Nialla, put together a performance in the local church to help pay the repair bill. But even as the newcomers set up camp and set the stage for Jack and the Beanstalk , there are signs that something just isn't right: Nialla's strange bruises and solitary cries in the churchyard, Rupert's unexplained disappearances and a violent argument with his BBC producer, the disturbing atmosphere at Culverhouse Farm, and the peculiar goings-on in nearby Gibbet Wood -- where young Robin Ingleby was found hanging just five years before.

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.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2010
ISBN: 9780385665841
Branch Call Number: FIC Bradl 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 348 p. :,map


From Library Staff

DanniOcean Mar 15, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette on March 19, 2010

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 09, 2013

I love this series and Flavia is a great character--can't wait for this series to continue!

Donnalee Smith Jun 11, 2012

I enjoyed this second book as much as I enjoyed the first. Flavia makes a fascinating and fun protagonist, and there were many amusing and intriguing secondary characters. Like the first one, the set-up for the mystery is really well done, and the book is a great page-turner, but, like the first one, the resolution to the mystery was a bit underwhelming. Still, overall a great read.

Nov 29, 2011

Deliciously morbid fun with the delightful Flavia.

DanniOcean Mar 15, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette on March 19, 2010


Add a Summary

DanniOcean Mar 15, 2010

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.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top