The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: Book summary and reviews of The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

A Flavia de Luce Mystery

By Alan Bradley

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2010,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

From Dagger Award–winning and internationally bestselling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery starring one of fiction's most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. This time, Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths—separated by time but linked by the unlikeliest of threads.

Flavia thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacy are over—and then Rupert Porson has an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. The beloved puppeteer has had his own strings sizzled, but who'd do such a thing and why? For Flavia, the questions are intriguing enough to make her put aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters. Astride Gladys, her trusty bicycle, Flavia sets out from the de Luces' crumbling family mansion in search of Bishop’s Lacey’s deadliest secrets.

Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What of the vicar's odd ministrations to the catatonic woman in the dovecote? Then there’s a German pilot obsessed with the Brontë sisters, a reproachful spinster aunt, and even a box of poisoned chocolates. Most troubling of all is Porson’s assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can't solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head? 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While the plot at times stretches credulity, with some characters veering close to Agatha Christie stereotypes, Flavia is such an entertaining narrator that most readers will cheerfully go along for the ride." - Library Journal

"There's not a reader alive who wouldn't want to watch Flavia in her lab concocting some nefarious brew." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. Comic and irreverent, this entry is sure to build further momentum for the series." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Alan Bradley Author Biography

Photo: Shirley Bradley

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan Bradley worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he remained for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994.

He became the first President of the Saskatoon Writers and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. His children's stories were published in The Canadian Children's Annual, and his short story, Meet Miss Mullen, was the first recipient of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award for Children's Literature.

For a number of years, he regularly taught Script Writing and Television Production ...

... Full Biography
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