Arts&Entertainment

book reviews

April 21, 2011 |
Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

 

Reviewed by Laura Flaugher

 

‘The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag’

 

By Alan Bradley Bantam

2/8/11

$15

400 pp

 

Falling in love with Flavia de Luce is easy to do. Fans of “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” will be happy to find this sequel now in paperback. If you’ve never met her before, you’re in for a treat. But don’t worry; it’s not required in order to start reading “The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag.”

De Luce is the plucky, self-appointed crime solver of her rural English town. She lives in a shabby, old mansion, the third floor of which boasts a fully functional chemistry lab. She spends much of her time here analyzing evidence and concocting pranks (think injecting chocolates with a less than sweet filling.) The rest of her time is spent furiously pedaling around town on her bike to spy on people and perform her investigations.

De Luce embodies the independent, intelligently, funny kid we all wish we could have been (breaking into the library to do urgent research, outwitting a lead detective, sneaking into the coroner’s office to observe a dead body.) Her innocence and impudence will have you rooting for her all the way.

Snappy dialogue is punctuated with moments that will have you chuckling out loud. The mystery is a delightful puzzle, full of possible suspects and enough twists to keep you guessing until the end.

Can’t get enough of this little whippersnapper? Look for the next book in the series “A Red Herring Without Mustard” recently released in hardcover. CV