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The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

by Alan Bradley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Flavia de Luce (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3022573,529 (3.96)1 / 407
Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, sets out to solve the murder of a beloved puppeteer. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can't solve--without Flavia's help.
  1. 50
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (47degreesnorth)
  2. 61
    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (kraaivrouw)
  3. 51
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (kraaivrouw)
  4. 10
    Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes (y2pk)
    y2pk: Pre-teen girl investigating adult crimes, while putting up with her sometimes-strange family and home life. Emma Graham also appears in two other books, Cold Flat Junction and Belle Ruin. They should be read in order.
  5. 00
    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (47degreesnorth)

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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Book talk: Flavia de Luce edition question1 unread / 1leahbird, August 2011

» See also 407 mentions

English (257)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
Fantastic series, terribly fun characters, good solid mysteries. I love this series. ( )
  dria42 | Jan 2, 2023 |
Delightful! That's is precisely what this book is. Just a delightful story with the precocious Flavia de Luce. This time is she trying to find out who killed the famous puppeteer Rupert Porson and she does her usual way, by being curious, listening to gossip and putting two and two together. And, thinking of ways of killing people with poisons..especially her sisters.

Flavia de Luce is such a wonderful characters, she will either be a great detective when she grows up or a very deadly poisoner. Her love for chemistry shows through the book and she is especially fond of poisons. But of course, she is still just eleven and even though she is clever there are moments when she doesn't understand things, grow up things like secret relations between grown-ups and I love Dogger when he tries to explain that it's when two people are really good friends. And, I feel for her when her two older sister bullies her. It's not easy with a father who rather spends his time with his stamps, a dead mother, and two older sisters that whenever opportunity shows up tries to tell her that their parents never wanted her. And, in this book her aunt Felicity shows up, but I think that Flavia, in the end, came to appreciate her visiting, especially after they had a talk alone.

The first book in this series was good, but I enjoyed the story in this book even more and it was so many suspects in the story that I didn't figure out how and when was behind it all until the very end. I really enjoyed the part in the end when she explained it all to the police. Hilarious. They should hire her. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
Alan Bradley is brilliant at telling a good story. Great pacing, great characters, and a sense of place that is lyrical and nostaligic without cloying in the least. His books satisfy me in the way that Dorothy Sayers books do. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This was a more satisfying ending that the first Flavia novel and more great fun as the 11 year old protagonist again uses her wits to get even with her sisters, solve a murder and describe in detail the 1950's small village life.

Re-read first read 2011, listen to the audiobook for this "re-read", Jayne Entwistle does an amazing job as the narrator.
Character List

Alan Bradley - The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce #2)
setting village of Bishop's Lacey,

Flavia de Luce braces and pigtails like a typical 11-year-old girl, chemist
Gladys - her bicycle,
Ophelia de Luce (17)
Daphne de Luce (13)
Dogger, Arthur Wellesley loyal retainer
Mrs. Mullet housekeeper and cook
Alf, her husband
Inspector Hewitt
Colonel de Luce a philatelist and former amateur illusionist
Harriet de Luce wife mother a free spirit who disappeared on a mountaineering adventure in Tibet 10 years earlier and is presumed dead.

Rupert Porson, as in Snoddy the Squirrel--The Magic Kingdom- PORSON'S PUPPETS alf was caged in a heavy iron brace.
Nialla red head But you can call me Mother Goose. Rupert's assistant
Canon Denwyn Richardson was not anyone's image of a typical village vicar. He was large and bluff
Cynthia Richardson - wife and vicars assistant
Inglebys, Gordon and Grace, owned Culverhouse Farm morose individuals who kept mostly
to themselves. Gordon Ingleby was an avid pigeon fancier,
son Robin Ingleby had been found hanging.
"Mad Meg's picks up empty tins, rather like a magpie.
Mrs. Witty ballet teacher
Dieter Schrantz works for Inglebys
Sally Straw, a member of the Women's Land Army
Clarence Mundy sat waiting, perched on one of the wings of his taxicab,
Aunt Felicity.
Tom Batts the postman
Mutt Wilmott, Rupert's producer at BBC
Constable Linnet
Detective Sergeant Woolmer with his plate camera
Detective Sergeant Graves
Dr. Darby
Ned Cropper went to show with Mary, does chores for Tully Stoker at the Thirteen Drakes
Mr. Sowbell undertaker
Aurelia & Lavinia Puddock - owners St. Nicholas Tea Room

Mother Shipton's prophecies were in doggerel verse

( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Liked it. Flavia has moments of enjoyable cussedness. Her command of chemistry/poisons is surprisingly convincingly drawn. Will look for the first one now. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
The secret of the novel’s charm involves the way in which Flavia teeters on the border between precocity and childishness, spouting faux-cynical epithets that result from the fact that her intellectual gifts far outpace her emotional capacity.
All in all, it’s a perfectly detailed and credible English village in the Agatha Christie manner, inhabited by people you can believe in and sympathize with.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Bradleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aldred, SophieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aspen, NinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beck, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bronswijk, Ineke vansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goudy, Frederic WilliamTypeface designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hobbing, DianeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jung, GeraldÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Orgaß, KatharinaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sawatzki, AndreaSprechersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sullivan, SimonCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turró Armengol, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Sir Walter Raleigh To His Son

Three things there be that prosper up apace,
And flourish while they grow asunder far;
But on a day, they meet all in a place,
And when they meet, they one another mar.

And they be these; the Wood, the Weed, the Wag;
The Wood is that that makes the gallows tree;
the Weed is that that strings the hangman's bag;
The Wag, my pretty knave, betokens thee.

Now mark, dear boy -- while these assemble not,
Green springs the tree, hemp grows, the wag is wild;
But when they meet, it makes the timber rot,
It frets the halter, and it chokes the child.
Again, for Shirley
First words
I was lying dead in the churchyard.
"Children ought to be horsewhipped," she used to say, "unless they are going in for politics or the Bar, in which case they ought in addition to be drowned."
"Fetch my luggage, Clarence," she said, "and mind the alligator."
Seen from the air, the male mind must look rather like the canals of Europe, with ideas being towed along well-worn towpaths by heavy-footed dray horses. There is never any doubt that they will, despite wind and weather, reach their destination by following a simple series of connected lines.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Flavia de Luce, a dangerously brilliant eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, sets out to solve the murder of a beloved puppeteer. All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can't solve--without Flavia's help.

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