Tuesday, June 25, 2013

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

With a title like that, how could I not pick this book up?  It is the second mystery novel about an 11 year old English girl detective/chemist, named Flavia de Luce.  She's clever and well-read, tossing references to history and literature in her musings about a hanging in her English village.  She has two annoying older sisters and an absent-minded professor for a Father.  She's fascinated with chemistry, thanks to the lab left behind by a long dead uncle.  The story is peppered with experiments and concoctions that makes me want to mix things up in test tubes.  She outwits the distracted adults around her as she pursues the mystery.  I can picture our granddaughter who's close to this age daring to tackle the challenge.

The title is from a poem by Sir Walter Raleigh to his son.  It's one of many allusions to classic literature that can be found throughout the story.  I liked the droll comments shared with the reader as Flavia reveals her true thoughts while maintaining the outward appearance of a child to the adults around her.  I smiled a lot reading it, and chuckled a few times.  A quick summer read.

Published:  2010  Read: June 2013  Genre: Mystery

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