The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag
Random House, March 2010
Flavia de Luce is an odd duck, there’s just no getting around that. She’s odd in ways that speak to the insecure in most people: she contemplates her funeral, she believes that nobody cares for her, she is curious about things that others have no interest in (at least nobody she knows). She’s mischievous, sly, intelligent, and sometimes malicious. She’s
also young enough not to realize, at least sometimes, the long-term consequences of her actions.
In HANGMAN’S BAG, Flavia once again helps Inspector Hewitt. He is less reluctant to listen to Flavia this time around. Her perceptions are insightful, her grasp of nuance fine. So when Rupert Porson, master puppeteer, is electrocuted, Hewitt believes Flavia when she tells him it was not an accident.
There are undercurrents in Bishop’s Lacey that Flavia is aware of but doesn’t comprehend all the ramifications of, at least not entirely. It is obvious that Rupert has been in Bishop’s Lacey before; one of his puppets is the spitting image of a young boy who died several years before. There must be some connection, but what?
Bradley has, once again, captured the essence of rural England right after WWII. Flavia has an innocence that would be impossible today, and a precociousness that would express itself far differently in our world. The family dynamics of the de Luce’s is enough to make one’s teeth itch. All in all, a delightful read. Book three in the series can’t come soon enough.
Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, March 2010.