From Dagger Award-winning and internationally best-selling author Alan Bradley comes this utterly beguiling mystery, starring one of fiction’s most remarkable sleuths: Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant 11-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?
©2010 Alan Bradley (P)2010 Random House Audio
"Billiant, irresistible and incorrigible, Flavia has a long future ahead of her. Bradley's mystery debut is a standout." (Kirkus Reviews)
This is one of two (so far) Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley - both are delightful. I can't recommend them more highly. The main character is a smart, witty, observant, precocious (but in fun and amusing kind of way) Pippi Longstocking type character - full of mischief, independent spirit and bursting with the sheer joy of being alive. Flavia loves scientific experients and solving mysteries, and peppers her observations of science and life with historical facts that never get in the way of the flow of the story. The descriptions of English country life and of the landscape and village characters are also good and add to the experience of the story. Thank you Audible, for pairing this delightful heroine, the11 year old Flavia de Luce, with the pitch perfect narration of Jayne Entwhistle! It's a great combination. I have been a member of audible for years and cannot remember enjoying a character or a story more. The combination of character and narrator really add to what is already a fun and absorbing story! This was not written as a children's book, but it will appeal to the adventurous young girl within readers of all ages. This book (as well as The Sweetness at The Bottom of the Pie) have made me laugh and smile with the wit, spunkiness and sheer joy in life that Entwhistle conveys through her narration of the character of Flavia. Please bring us more, Mr. Bradley, and please have Entwhistle narrate any forthcoming books in the series, Audible. Thank you for bringing this lovely character to life through these audio books. (Though written by a man, I think this series may appeal especially to females - or to persons of any age who are young and remember what it was like to be eleven years and old and full of enthusiasm and curiosity).
Flavia de Luce is one of the most entertaining and fresh characters to come along in years. I read Alan Bradley's "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" and thoroughly enjoyed it so decided to try "The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag" on Audible. I am glad I did. Jayne Entwistle did a superb job reading this book especially with bringing Flavia to life. I understand that Mr. Bradley began to write these books when he was 70 years old. I hope that he lives a very long time and is able to produce many more Flavia mysteries.
I am an educated Southerner, plowing through books at the speed of light. I love good stories, good coffee, and good conversation.
I was so glad to get my hands on another Flavia book! Even as a thirtysomething, I can so relate to this precocious girl. And Bradley has such a great feel to his writing.
I thought this was just as enjoyable as the previous book. I probably would have given it a 4.5 if it had been possible for the same reason as I listed for "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie". Mainly because the mystery does not have the tight reveal of some books, but is well done none the less, so I leaned to the 5.
For those who are new to the series they are done very much in the vein of Sherlock Holmes where details are everything and the pieces slowly start to fall into place by the end of the story.
It was well narrated. Many have complained about this, but I think each voice is perfectly done. The heroin is a 9 year old precocious aristocrat. It may be that those who found the voice annoying really would find the heroin annoying if they were to meet her in real life. If that is the case you probably shouldn't be listen to this series. On the contrary I found that they nature of the characters and their world was the most intriguing part of the story. Flavia behaves as a precocious 9 year old would. Her area of interest just happens to be chemistry. In the world of high mindedness and proper English living it would not be that unusual.
Over all I would highly recommend the book for the character development, its fun flair, the narration, and the way the story transports you to the period in which it is written. If you have not read "Sweetness..." it is a must read.
Online composition instructor, living in a small town, when I'm not reading a book, I'm listening to one!
Alan Brady's Flavia de Luce mysteries provide a delightful distraction from the mundane. Flavia is 11 years old, and lives in a crumbling country house near a quintessential English village. She is willful, resourceful, neglected by her father and ignored by her two older sisters. That neglect provides her plenty of time to investigate the characters of her village and the surprisingly frequent murders in this small population. Jane Entwhistle is the perfect reader to perform this book! She does Flavia's youthful voice and the voices of the many elder ladies with aplomb, and the male voices are rendered well. Flavia has an unusual fascination with chemistry, and in particular, in the chemistry of poison. Her alarming attempts to poison her elder sister provide a counterpoint to her efforts to puzzle out why—in this instance—a traveling puppeteer dies in the middle of a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk in the parish hall of the local church.
Mysteries, classics, non-fiction, time travel, Bounty hunters, grim reapers... anything but vampires, please!
Witty, Winsome and Warm.
The story was solid, and the character is just enchanting. You get enough hints to guess your way ahead a little, but not enough to give the plot away.
Unlike other reviewers who hated the narration, I think it is one of my favorite components of this series. You can hear the smile in her voice, and get drawn into her self-delight as she figures things out. I find myself smiling along with Flavia and Jane, and people around me ask me what I am chuckling at.
I've smiled all the way through the first two books.
I've bought the whole series now, - -saving the last two for vacation - and am putting them on my ever evolving "recommending to friends" list. They are just delightful and smart!
Flavia learns all!
Flavia, of course. She of the indefatigable curiousity and spirit with a touch of pain supplied by her sisters.
Flavia (again). Her "voice" reflects her perfectly.
Do you need help?
Alan continues to craft wonderfully interesting characters in a beautiful landscape. I love the little details of the British countryside and people from this time period of history. The narrator takes them to the next level bringing them to life. I don't really know what else to say other that this is the best of what an audiobook can be.
You don't need to have read the first one to enjoy this book, but if you have this is more of the same.
Take the mind of Miss Marple (Agatha Christie), add in a pinch of Sherlock Holmes' penchant for the laboratory, and put it all into the body of an almost-eleven-yr-old, precocious & independent spirit of an English girl, and you've got Flavia de Luce! What a trip! Then, have it all narrated by the incredibly talented voicing of Jayne Entwistle, and you have the makings of a truly enjoyable read/listen!
Excellent mystery, writing, and narration. Flavia has a very curious combination of mature and little girl thoughts. It works, though.
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