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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely 5 glowing stars!
Flavia de Luce is back and better than ever. Actually, I can say that I enjoyed this second book even more than the first The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie because the mystery was very good in this second novel and Flavia really had to use her powers of deductive reasoning to find the culprit and answer all the questions raised.

Something as simple as the...
Published on 24 Mar 2010 by J. Lesley

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PULLING THE STRINGS
Flavia de Luce rides again. Aboard her trusty bicycle "Gladys" the eleven year old sleuth/aspiring chemist is off on another adventure. Her latest escapade is precipitated by a chance meeting in the local churchyard with a young woman named Nialla, assistant to a relatively famous television puppeteer named Rupert Porson. Rupert, it seems, has some ties with at least one...
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Red Rock Bookworm


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PULLING THE STRINGS, 21 Jun 2012
By 
Red Rock Bookworm (St. George Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY) (Paperback)
Flavia de Luce rides again. Aboard her trusty bicycle "Gladys" the eleven year old sleuth/aspiring chemist is off on another adventure. Her latest escapade is precipitated by a chance meeting in the local churchyard with a young woman named Nialla, assistant to a relatively famous television puppeteer named Rupert Porson. Rupert, it seems, has some ties with at least one of the local village residents and when the vicar extends an invitation to Rupert and Nialla to perform their puppet show for the locals, the mystery begins. As with Alan Bradley's first novel,THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, this story also takes place in the small English village of Bishop's Lacy circa 1950. Once again, suspicious deaths are the order of the day and Flavia takes center stage in this unusual who-dunnit.

Flavia's family still resides in the crumbling mansion known as Buckshaw. Still present are the banes of Flavias young life, her sisters, seventeen year old Ophelia and thirteen year old Daphne, who take gleeful pleasure in taunting Flavia with tales of her unwanted birth and/or adoption and, as usual, Flavia continues to plot delicious and devious ways to avenge herself on her tormenters (her latest attempt at "getting even" involves a box of candy and noxious odors). The unconventional family is rounded out by Flavia's introverted philetalist father and her eccentric, outspoken visiting Aunt Felicity. Although Flavia's reaction to her sisters represents the typical reaction of an 11 year old to teasing, her powers of deductive reasoning, her knowledge of chemistry and her wild imagination definitely place her far beyond her chronological years.

To enjoy this book, please do not attempt to apply logic when it comes to Flavia's amazing and unbelievable intelligence. Just think of Flavia as wonderful wine ......you don't know how it's made, but the flavor is full and pleasing so you just enjoy it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely 5 glowing stars!, 24 Mar 2010
By 
J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Flavia de Luce is back and better than ever. Actually, I can say that I enjoyed this second book even more than the first The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie because the mystery was very good in this second novel and Flavia really had to use her powers of deductive reasoning to find the culprit and answer all the questions raised.

Something as simple as the breakdown of a van was the catalyst for involving the people of the hamlet of Bishop's Lacy in murder. This second story in the series involves the entire population of the village when the famous puppeteer agrees to put on a show in the church hall to pay the expenses for fixing his van. The world of Flavia de Luce in 1950's England is once more brought brilliantly to life by Alan Bradley. All of the characters we met were very interesting for me and the sheer number introduced made the solving of this mystery very much harder than in the first novel. There were hidden things going on in the background of this small community which came to light as Flavia and the police began to investigate who had committed this murder.

I really enjoy the way Bradley has written the character of Flavia here. There is more humor in this book than in the first and it really solidified my liking for Flavia as a person. In all honesty I must say that I had never noticed before how many of the worlds most infamous (or should that be famous?) poisoners had names beginning with the letter "C". Now that's the kind of interactions Bradley makes his character have with the reader that allows me to think that Flavia could walk into this room right now and I could hold a conversation with her. She and I would get along just fine. Mysteries are a passion of mine also, and poison has always been my "weapon of choice", so to speak. She could run rings around me when it comes to knowledge of chemistry and all it's wonders, but otherwise, she's your average highly intelligent 11 year old girl who solves murder mysteries without benefit of all the information the police have.

In all seriousness, there is nothing "average" about this book. Flavia is a delight, the pages are filled with both humor and pathos, the mystery is well constructed and multi-layered, and the author has a way of capturing my imagination so that I feel totally involved and drawn into the story. Now the only question is how long we have to wait for the third book. I'm also of the opinion that if this author starts a completely different series, I will be right there waiting to buy my copy. Yes, he's that good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, 6 Sep 2010
Just the thing for the jaded crime novel enthusiast. A bright and quirky protagonist, and a sleepy setting: there's a lovely innocence about this book despite the very real crime at the centre of the tale. I hope we get the chance to grow up with Flavia de Luce as we have done with Harry Potter. Wonderful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply addictive, 18 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY) (Paperback)
Whilst an excellent piece of crime fiction in its own right this is also a wonderful pastiche. It evokes all that was good in the Golden Age crime novel but the distance in time lends it an ironic air. This is a murder story for grown-ups, however, and any sweetness has a very dark centre. The tea room does after all have an interconnecting door with the undertakers! If you don't like Flavia you won't like the book, but I loved Flavia and I found Bradley's very twenty-first century resurrection of the world of Allingham and Christie simply addictive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read!, 30 Dec 2010
By 
Mrs. Susan J. Hindes (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Right from the very first line I was hooked on this book. "I was lying dead in the churchyard" is a line that is guaranteed to grab the attention of the reader. The " deceased" Flavia De Luce is a wonderful creation, a young lady who is both a great detective and a mad scientist with a worrying fondness for poisons. Flavia is mature beyond her years with a brilliant nack for seeing right through people. The plot revolves around the arrival of a famous tv star Rupert Porson and his young lady friend Nialla. They bring with them a travelling puppet show which Rupert is very proud of, making all the puppets, sets, lighting and sound systems. Initially Flavia takes an interest in Nialla, discovering Nialla's secret thanks to interesting chemical works in the lab of her late uncle. Flavia lives with her father and two sisters, the latter two making sure that Flavia's life is not so comfy.

During a much anticipated performance of Jack and the Beanstalk, the locals notice the likeness of one puppet's face to that of a dead child from the villages past. During the performance, tragedy strikes and a death occurs in a shocking way. During her investigations, Flavia delves into the past histories of the village she has grown up in, with some amazing revelations. A cunning and sometimes devious young lady, she gets answers that the police can't and in her round about way solves the murder. There are some great comedy moments in the book as well, and some very interesting information, for instance, that in the eyes of Flavia Emma Bovary is the best documented death from poison in literature. The saga with the chocolate box had me smiling especially at the end where we are left to imagine the stench Flavia created.

All in all an excellent read, one that had me captivated. A page turner in every way, so dont expect to do anything else while you slip into the covers of this book. A comfy seat, a nice box of chocolates ( well at the begining at any rate) and a few hours to lose yourself is just what you need when you settle down to read this.

10/10 from me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Ingenious Killer Of All Times, 26 Aug 2010
By 
Giacinto Poli "letseewhatyoucando" (Molfetta, BA Italy) - See all my reviews
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I thought The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie was the best classic thrilling story which modern world could have ever given us: I was wrong. The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag is totally captivating, thrilling, a book you won't ABSOLUTELY be able to put down. I've never been so interested in a mistery like this. It's very particular, (for instance the murder is perpetrated in the middle of the book, not at the beginning as you could expect, when you're already fond of all the characters including, unfortunately, the victim) and even the characters are woundrously detailed. If you love thrilling mystery stories you CANNOT miss it. Trust me. You won't be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flavia is Back Better Than Ever!, 25 April 2010
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Eleven year old Flavia de Luce gets embroiled in her second murder mystery when a `celebrity' accidentally ends up in the village of Bishop's Lacey. Rupert Porson, famous for Porson's Puppets and the show `Snoddy The Squirrel', has broken down by the local churchyard. Flavia happens across his weeping assistant Nialla and decides, partly because its strangers and that might equal adventure, to help her out and befriend her. As a thank you to the villagers for helping him and Nialla out Parson's puts on a puppet show for the town, everyone expects a spectacle yet no one is expecting to witness a murder.

Naturally Flavia, being the delightful precocious young thing that she is, decides that once again it is up to her to discover who the villain is and uncover several secrets as she does so. One such being how this murder might be linked to the death of a local young boy Robin who was found hanging in Gibbet's Wood ten years prior. And secrets that have been kept hidden for that length of time tend to want to remain so at any cost.

`The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag' is a much darker book than its predecessor in the main aspect being due to a child's death and under such circumstances. It forces Flavia to grow up a little and yet not too much as she never fully quite comprehends how dark it all is just as she doesn't comprehend how much danger she could be putting herself in. That for me in part is Bradley's masterstroke in terms of developing Flavia, she is still just as precocious and unruly as before yet she has moved on a step, fortunately for the reader she seems to be becoming more deadpan and that's the other wonderful thing about this book, it's just so funny in parts.

I didn't work out the ending until it happened with this second novel unlike the first and so Bradley and Flavia outwitted me which I enjoyed. I do like feeling very clever and having figured it all out myself but there are more twists and turns and with an addition of an old mystery thrown in you have lots more to contend with. Add in Flavia's dreaded aunt, a drop dead gorgeous German prisoner of war, a mad woman of the woods and a secret pregnancy and you have hours of fun, mayhem, twists, mystery and entertainment ahead of you. I think this series is just going to keep on getting better and better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flavia de Luce - the Sherlock of Bishop's Lacey, 26 Jun 2014
By 
S Grant (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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If Sherlock Holmes were an 11-year old girl living in a small English village called Bishop's Lacey after the Second World War, his name would have been Flavia de Luce. Her detective and deduction powers are second to none, and her knowledge of chemistry, poisons and human psychology are superb and surprisingly believable.
In this second book, Flavia is already a bit of a local celebrity, roaming the lanes and woods of Bishop's Lacey and chatting to old ladies to uncover the secret pasts of its inhabitants.
I found this story slightly less heart in my mouth than the first one, but a captivating read nonetheless. Couldn't put the book down for a few hours, and look forward to reading the third book next. A great read, and some good intelligent writing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 5 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (FLAVIA DE LUCE MYSTERY) (Paperback)
Not as good as "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" but still an interesting and funny read. I look forward to reading the next one in the series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 3 Jun 2014
By 
K. A. Warren "Andy Warren" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is another wonderful read. Don't be put off by the apparent odd subject for a "detective novel" the plot and characters are superb.
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