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

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


In 1950s English bucolic Bishop's Lacy, narrator Flavia de Luce, 11, has a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders. Pupeteer Rupert Porson has his strings sizzled, his charming helper Nialla suspect. Astride trusty bicycle Gladys, she investigates Gibbet Wood madwoman, icar, German pilot, and poisoned chocolates.


Of the many phrases that came to mind to describe Cynthia Richardson, "good sport" was not among them; "ogress," however, was.

To a certain degree I got what I wanted from this book: A cheeky, murder solving eleven-year-old being arrogant. Sadly, this is about everything this book managed and it might have overdone it to a point where it was more annoying than endearing. That doesn't mean that this book was terrible but it also wasn't my cup of tea. Personally, I couldn't hold interest in it at all, even though it felt like a quick and easy read.

Its fatal flaw was the long-windedness of the beginning; it takes the book about 150 pages until a corpse appears and the actual plot begins which is almost halfway through the book. Moreover, the action, once it takes off, is far less appealing than in the last book. Frankly, there simply isn't any weight to the plot. In the last book, Flavia was directly involved in the case and her actions had consequences but in this one she simply solves the case to prove a point. If you can't establish an interesting motivation for an 11-year-old detective your book is pretty much bound to fall flat.

Further, because I thought the book was this boring, I couldn't get interested in hardly anything and, even worse, some minor things really started to bother me. Like Flavia's siblings teasing her about not being wanted. In the first book this felt like an interesting way to develop their dynamic; in this book it felt like a cheap ploy to add a little more drama but without any actual consequences. I mean, they (the sisters) tell her (Flavia) that she is to be "brought back into the orphanage she came from" and Flavia is super upset, storms out, forgets about it after 5 seconds and everything is fine again. What? Why? How? Did that have to be in there?

That being said, I truly didn't dislike it as much as it might sound. Sure, it couldn't hold my interest and, sure, some things did annoy me, however, although the overall disinterestedness prevailed throughout most of the book I was swayed by the story in the end. Actually, the ending was the best part of this book and just when I thought "okay, now I do want more" it ended. 


A hopeful 2.5 stars in anticipation for the third instalment of this series (however long it might be until I actually read that).


Name: The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
Deutscher Titel: Mord ist kein Kinderspiel
Series: Flavia de Luce
Author: Alan Bradley
Previous Books in this Series: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (#1)
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 364
Where?: Amazon (English version), Amazon (Deutsche Ausgabe)


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