Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

Source of book: Borrowed from someone, but I can't remember who.
Date originally posted on Facebook: September 27, 2010

I am gradually re-posting my old reviews on my blog. I previously read and posted my thoughts on Alan Bradley's first Flavia book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie here. I also read and reviewed the third in the series, A Red Herring Without Mustard. I will probably get to the fourth book sometime later this summer. This review is rather short, and doesn't contain any significant spoilers. 

This may be considered the first installment of my new book review series. I already have been posting my reviews of books that I probably should have read back in High School. This series could be entitled, “Books that I needed to read because a friend lent them to me.”

This is the second book in the Flavia de Luce series. Another is due out in February, and I believe Bradley is under contract to write a total of five.

Like the first book, this one is good light reading. Flavia continues to be an interesting character, and the ongoing exploration of chemistry adds to the appeal. (At least for a geek like me.)

I was intrigued by the fact that in this book, unlike the last, the murder doesn’t occur until more than halfway through the book. This meant more stage setting and less subsequent investigation. This is both good and bad. It is good in that it makes the book feel like a story that happens to have a murder mystery in it, rather than a mystery with a story slapped together around it. On the other hand, Flavia’s investigations are delicious – it would be hard to overdose on them.

I mentioned the fun of imagining a creative antidote to cyanide in my review of the first book. Little did I know that in the second book, an even more creative antidote would be used. I won’t give away any further plot details, but can recommend this book as a pleasant read.

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