"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Alan Bradley)

Summer mysteries are well under way.  I've officially finished the second Flavia de Luce book mere minutes before writing this.  This is a wonderful series.  I can't wait to get my hands on book 3 (A Red Herring Without Mustard).  But, for now, let's just focus on book 2: The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag.  First, I have to say Mr. Bradley has the most interesting titles for books!
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
  • The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag
  • Red Herring Without Mustard
  • I am Half-Sick of Shadows
  • Speaking from Among the Bones
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Not yet published)
I thought this book was delightfully unsettling.  What I like about this series (from the two books I've read) is that while the deaths are certainly unsettling, they are never graphic or disturbing.  This is a classic cozy mystery, where you can close the book at any time and go right to sleep, instead of staring up at the ceiling thinking about the grisly details.  While in book 1, Flavia, our precocious 11-year old chemist, finds a dying man in the garden, this time he falls right onto the stage during a puppet show being put on in the parish hall.  And there is a whole delicious list of characters and suspects.  Who would have killed Rupert Porson, the puppeteer?  Could it have been his pregnant traveling companion, tired of his abuse or his wandering eye?  Or was it the mad woman who lives in the forest, who shouted that the devil was dead when Rupert came crashing down onto the stage?  Or perhaps the German POW who lives on one of the local farms and has a bit of shared history with him?
It was a fun book.  Sure, it was perhaps not as good as the first one, but I really enjoyed it.  I just love the main protagonist, Flavia.  She's clever, cute, and feels so original.  As a kid, I think this is the sort of person I would have loved to hang out with; she's smart and adventurous.  Plus, she's got a heart of gold (when she's not plotting revenge on her sisters, who can be rather cruel to her).
I feel like there is more that I should be saying about this book, but I'm afraid if I do, I'll be giving away plot points.  And besides, all my gushing about how wonderful Flavia is was taken care of in my previous post about this wonderful little detective.  As for my next read, I think I'll be deviating from the mysteries yet again.  I'm currently also reading the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, and once I get a few more of those under my belt, I'll be writing up a post about the series (or at least a small portion of the series.  There are literally 40 books so far.  I've read 2.)
I've got a few other interesting books lined up.  Perhaps one of the most interesting is a little gift I received in the mail today from The Roomie, whom I have not been in contact with for months.  A book of library/librarian stories is pretty much the best thing ever to find sitting on the kitchen table after coming home from a particularly busy day at work.   I can't wait to start reading!  (Thanks, hun!)

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