The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley

6777616Oh, Flavia! How I love you so. I read the first Flavia novel for book club awhile back and fell head over heels in love. Many other members hated her! Something about her quirkiness just reminds me of myself. Not sure why I waited so long to read the second, but I plan on catching up with books 3 and 4 soon.

In Bradley’s second outing, we find Flavia up to her old tricks – chemistry in her lab, riding Gladys all over kingdom come, and finding herself smack dab in the middle of another murder mystery! A famous BBC puppeteer and his lady assistant come to Bishop’s Lacy and mayhem ultimately ensues. I love how random and eccentric Bradley’s topics and characters always are – from stamps to puppets everything you never thought you cared for but love instantly when Flavia’s on the case.

I will admit that the mystery in Hangman’s Bag isn’t nearly as fast-paced or intriguing as Sweetness, but I found myself not caring too much. The mysteries are not why I read these novels – not at all. Flavia, the people of her world, and the kookiness of Bishop’s Lacey is what I love. I could read about this little town watching the grass grow and be enthralled. But I understand how other readers less enamored than myself might find this second installment on the dull side. If you weren’t a fan of the first one, I highly doubt Hangman’s Bag will win you over.

For the Flavia lovers out there, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. More insight in the citizens of Bishop’s Lacey – including loads more gossip and perhaps even a love connection or two! The relationship between Flavia and her sisters is still filled with angst and well…poison! We’re also privy to a wonderful conversation between Flavia and her aunt concerning her mother that was the highlight of the book, in my opinion. I can’t wait to see where Flavia takes us next.

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