Customer Reviews for

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce Series #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Fun

Sometimes it pays to take the road less traveled. My list of last read books includes double intrigue spy and counter spy thrillers, tales of a Louisiana detective, the fall of the Roman Republic, life of Julius Caesar, Siege of Malta and a book about an eleven year ol...
Sometimes it pays to take the road less traveled. My list of last read books includes double intrigue spy and counter spy thrillers, tales of a Louisiana detective, the fall of the Roman Republic, life of Julius Caesar, Siege of Malta and a book about an eleven year old chemist whose hobby is poisons.
I can begin a conversation about any of the above less the young chemist. What I can say is the English language, wry similes and memorable characters abound is this book. Alan Bradley's writing is a bargain at whatever you pay for his books.
It is a fair bet you will search out and purchase all of the Flavia stories and you will be like me, not quite sure how to describe the pleasure each brings.

posted by llewellynVA on September 30, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Not quite as good as the first one

While I did enjoy the second installment in the Flavia series, I have to say I was a little disappointed after the pace of the first book. For me, the action moved a little too slowly with the murder not occurring until almost half way through the book. But once Flavi...
While I did enjoy the second installment in the Flavia series, I have to say I was a little disappointed after the pace of the first book. For me, the action moved a little too slowly with the murder not occurring until almost half way through the book. But once Flavia's sleuthing skills kicked in, things picked up. All in all, it was a commendable second book in the series and I look forward to the next Flavia adventure. This is a gem of a character that puts a smile on my face!

posted by TWTaz on May 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Better than the first! Flavia is just as charming as in Sweet

    Better than the first!


    Flavia is just as charming as in Sweetness, and I found the story line more compelling in this second. Can't wait to read the next one! Alan Bradley is such a gifted writer who has created an unusual character. There are times when she seems too "wise beyond her years" and the narration sounds too much like an adult, but overall, I love the characters and what Bradley does with them. Very enjoyable read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    Brilliant, cheeky, and adorable all at once, Flavia once again g

    Brilliant, cheeky, and adorable all at once, Flavia once again gets the job done almost before the local inspector gets a chance to start. Not his fault though. The bored 11-yr-old scamp can slip freely into places the police cannot and bluntly ask questions an adult wouldn't dare. I went through this one like a newly sharpened pen knife through a cucumber.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    A wonderful series.

    This is one of the best series of books I've read in a long while. Flavia de Luce is such a remarkable little girl, and I love seeing the world from her viewpoint.

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    Just OK

    Flavia deLuce is back again, a precocious 11-year-old who is alternately queen of her universe and tormented little sister. In The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, she befriends a famous puppeteer and his assistant when their vehicle breaks down in Bishop's Lacey. But while he's putting on a show to help repay the kindness afforded him, he dies front a center during the performance. An accident? Flavia doesn't think so. Her superior brainpower awes and annoys the local police. During Flavia's investigation, she also learns the story of a local tragedy some years back that may just fit in with the current crime. I thought the first book in this series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, was charming, funny and altogether wonderful. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag was OK. The magic that imbued every page of the earlier book was absent for the most part. Both the story and the narrator (Flavia) were stretched and pulled to try to recreate Sweetness, but I thought the effort fell short. It could be "sophomore slump" for the author, and I will definitely give the next book in the series a read.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old with a near-genius mind, app


    Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old with a near-genius mind, apparently has way too much time, and too much curiosity, for a child who is benignly neglected by her father and ignored, at best, by her disdainful and tormenting older sisters. When we first encounter her in The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, she is prostrate in the Bishop’s Lacey village churchyard, imagining her own funeral in all its glory, but is distracted by the sound of a crying woman. The woman is Nialla, assistant to a nationally known puppeteer, Rupert Porson, and their van has broken down in the village.

    While their van is being repaired, Rupert and Nialla find temporary quarters with a local family and Rupert agrees to put on a show of “Jack and the Beanstalk” for the village. Rupert claims to have never met the host family before but one of his puppets bears an uncanny resemblance to the family’s child who died in mysterious circumstances several years earlier. Later, Rupert is killed in a questionable way and Flavia begins to wonder if the two deaths are connected. Abandoning her current chemical experiments, including the dastardly poisoning of a box of chocolates intended for her sister, she and her trusty bicycle, Gladys, are off on the hunt. (One of the funniest scenes in the book takes place when Flavia must retrieve the chocolates before the wrong person eats them.)

    Canadian author Alan Bradley is a mystery in himself—how does a middle-aged man do so well at evoking the charm and ferocious brilliance of this young girl? The first book won quite a few awards and this second entry in the series is no slouch itself. I only wish we didn’t have to wait so long for the next one, A Red Herring Without Mustard, due in March 2011.

    Flavia de Luce is my favorite sleuth these days, hands down. When I first met her last year in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, I thought the author had created a wonderful character, one who could appeal to nearly all types of mystery readers, not to mention non-mystery readers who just like a really good story. Throw in a large dash of humor and you’ve got a winner. Best of all, Flavia is a terrific introduction to mysteries for the younger reader and, as a bonus, they can learn a little about post-World War II England. This one’s in my Top Five for 2010.

    Much of my reading is by way of audio editions and I’ve become downright picky about the narrators. This is the second of three I’ve listened to that’s read by Jayne Entwistle and I wish she had more. In both of the Flavia books, Ms. Entwistle IS Flavia and I really can’t imagine any other voice for her . An already wonderful book is made even more delightful by the right narrator and, in this case, Jayne Entwistle is it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2014

    Another winner!

    Just adore Flavia and her sleuthful ways.

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Highly recommended

    Loved it. Is appropriate for all ages from 12 and up. Bought all 4 for my granddaughter's 12th birthdday.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!

    A highly entertaining addition to the series. Flavia is back in full force and remains the most hilarious sleuth out there. Bravo Flavia!

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  • Posted June 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An amalgamation of Pippi Longstockings and the best of all teen detectives!

    Flavia reminds me of an amalgamation of Pippi Longstockings and the best of all teen detectives! I wish these books had been out when I was in high school because Flavia makes chemistry interesting!

    Flavia is Precocious, humorous and a Genius a somewhat scary genius at times but one none the less. I saw an interview on Library Thing with Alan Bradley where he was asked how he imagines Flavia as an adult and he said either the world's greatest Chemist or the World's Greatest Criminal Poisoner and I have to agree with him there!

    Flavia is believable because people tell her things without even realizing they have done so because she is a child they let their guard down.


    This was a great story, it kept me guessing and I didn't figure it out till Flavia did so that's a great mystery!

    I can't wait for the next installment in this series!
    4 ½ Stars

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Even better...

    I thought this second installment of Flavia's adventures was even better than the first. I don't usually read adult fiction or mystery but have been drawn to this series because I was intrigued by the main character Flavia, being an 11 yr. old detective. This second book seemed to hook me in more and make me want to know "whodunit". I love that Flavia, being as intelligent as she is in the world of murder and chemistry, that she is also still a vulnerable 11 yr. old. when it comes to her sisters and father who are all fun characters as well. I look forward to another installment of Flavia's adventures.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    Flavia is a Heroine for the Ages

    I owe author Alan Bradley a great deal of gratitude for creating and sharing with us the delightful Flavia de Luce, her eccentric family, and the colorful English village of Bishop's Lacey. This is one of those books you don't want to end, and it's every bit as wonderful as the first in the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Both are perfect for reading by the fire, on the plane, or on a beach. All the characters are so well drawn, and the stories are endlessly interesting and creative. I highly recommend Flavia to everyone who likes a plucky and wise-beyond-her-years 11 year old chemist to entertain them for a few hours.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag

    Flavia de Luce is a brilliant 11 year old amateur sleuth in Alan Bradley's second book in the series. The setting is a small village in England after World War II. Flavia lives in a tumble-down mansion called Buckshaw in the village of Bishop's Lacey with her widowed father, a man absorbed in his stamp collection and her two older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne who make Flavia's life a torment. When things get too much, Flavia retreats to her beloved chemistry lab. Here among her science books, beakers and flasks, she is in her element. Her specialty poisons.

    In this new book, Flavia once again gets involved investigating murder. This time two murders. One, of a small boy found hanging in Gibbet Wood, the other of a popular puppeteer from the BBC, Rupert Porson who along with his assistant Nialla, Flavia had befriended on one of her excursions into the village on her trusty bicycle, Gladys. Through amazing powers of analysis, for an 11 year old, and by playing the innocent, she gets the locals to talk while they feed her candy, tea and scones. Though her friend Inspector Hewitt, along with Sergeants Woolmer and Graves are on the case, will it be Flavia that gets there first?

    The suspects are many. Is it Mutt Wilmott, Rupert's manager or Dieter, a German pilot with an obsession for the Bronte sisters, finding his own version in the de Luce sisters, while developing an affection for the beautiful Ophelia. Then there is Gordon and Grace Ingleby, parents of the small boy found hanging in Gibbet Wood. Are the two murders connected?

    Through Flavia's insightful crime solving techniques (CSI take note), she puts the pieces together. The Weed that strings the Hangman's Bag is a very satisfying, funny and wonderful mystery romp with a charming amateur sleuth. Can this be how Miss Marple started out?

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Flavia strikes again!!

    This magnificent 11 year old never stop amazing me. I don't think I have ever come across a character as well developed as Miss Flavia De Luce. I can't wait 'till the 3rd book comes out!

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  • Posted March 23, 2010

    Flavia's back!

    I thoroughly enjoyed Flavia de Luce's second adventure. Puppeteer Rupert Porson, with assitant Nialla, find themselves stuck in Bishop's Lacey with a broken down van. In order to make enough money to fix it, they strike a deal with the vicar to hold their Jack and the Beanstalk play at the church. A terribly accident ensues, but it's up to Inspector Hewitt and, of course, Flavia, to determine if it is something more. Flavia shines in this story. Gallant bike Gladys is a perfect mode of transportation, her sisters tease her often, and Flavia's outlook about the people of her country town are priceless. She mentions at one point that she is the perfect age for being invisible--too old for a nursemaid and too young to worry about suitors and the niceties that brings. How true. I will follow this "retired" Girl Guide on to many adventures.

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  • Posted January 21, 2010

    A wonderfully quirky addition to Flavia's story!

    This second installment of the series is even more satisfying than the first; Flavia de Luce is without a doubt the most entertaining sleuth to make an appearance in decades. In this story, Flavia finds herself embroiled in the mysterious death of visiting puppeteer Rupert Porson, a BBC personality marooned in Bishop's Lacy by the breakdown of his van. As Flavia learns more about Rupert's many women, she is haunted as well by the bizarre hanging death of five year-old Robin Ingleby some years before.

    Flavia remains her wonderful precocious self, using complicated chemical tests to analyze tears, create poisons, and (of course) ultimately solve the mysteries. Though Daffy, Feely and Father all have cameo roles, this story is more focused on other inhabitants of the perfect country town of Bishop's Lacy. The expanded cast of characters makes for an enjoyable read as more quirky personalities act as a foil to Flavia's quiet (and still disturbing) brilliance. The reader can't help but reflect on the likelihood that Flavia might one day find herself on the other side of the magnifying glass.

    Once I started, I couldn't put this one down- Flavia and her quest for truth is just that compelling. Alan Bradley has another hit on his hands, and fans of Flavia have even more evidence to support their passion. My only regret is the time I will have to wait to read the third installment of Flavia's story...

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    enjoyable historical whodunit

    In 1950 in Bishop's Lacy, England, eleven year old (well almost eleven but at her age who quibbles except her siblings) Flavia de Luce assumes her sleuthing career after solving the Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is over. Still she figures there is no harm in expanding her knowledge of poisoning through her experiments; she understands she just has to hide her endeavor from her nosy big sisters Ophelia and Daphne.

    However, while musing in dream land over her death funeral, she hears weeping. Awakened by the sounds of crying, Flavia meets Mother Goose who is actually Nialla the actress playing the part n Rupert Porson's puppet show, but their vehicle has broken down while on tour. Vicar Canon Richardson offers them lodging at Inglebys's Culverhouse Farm while their van is repaired. Thankful for the kindness Rupert offers to repay them by putting on a puppet production of "Jack and the Beanstalk" at St. Tancred's parish. Jack the puppet looks eerily like Robin Inglebys who died five years ago in what the police called a misadventure. Now it is Rupert who dies in another misadventure. Inspector Hewitt lets his tweener amateur sleuth make her inquiries as Flavia solved his previous homicide for him.

    The eccentric cast especially her obsessed philatelist father, her two sisters, the inspector, and Rupert's assistant enhance a great whodunit in which Flavia is the weirdest of them all especially in her lab as she holds the story line together. For instance her doctoring her sister's chocolate is a timeless prank that will have readers laughing and wondering if Ophelia and Daphne are correct about her heritage. The investigation is clever and fun to follow, but it is the escapdes of refreshing fabulous Flavia who makes The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag into an enjoyable historical whodunit.

    Harriet Klausner

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    Posted October 23, 2010

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    Posted October 23, 2010

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    Posted March 24, 2013

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    Posted April 4, 2010

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