The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The second instalment of the series featuring Flavia De Luce, starts of at a zooming speed when a visiting puppeteer in the village of Bishop’s Lacey falls to his death. Flavia starts to poke where she shouldn’t, but couldn’t stay away from, and discovers that the fall is not an accident and actually the murder is linked with a suicide of a boy who died 5 years ago. Cute meets Crime meets a nostalgic feeling featuring Miss Marple in this very enjoyable whodunnit .
One of the best aspect of this series aside from that it features a adorably cute 11 year old as its protagonist, is that it brings back the Golden age feeling of crime novels where the crime took place in a village, and the suspect pool was comprised of the locals. And, most often the culprit was found among these locals. As with this book, the crime though committed on an outsider had a culprit who is a local. And, as most of the villagers were present in the narration from the very beginning the whole crime solving becomes a guessing game, where any person can come out as the culprit. I for one couldn’t really guess who the culprit was until Miss De Luce clears the cobweb and explains it all. After all as Sergeant Woolmer said to Inspector Hewitt,
“With respect, sir...it could be because we’re not Miss de Luce.”
And, lastly once again Miss Flavia De Luce. I pray to God that, Alan Bradley on a fine morning doesn’t takes up in his head to make her grow. It would just take away all the fun. Reading these books made me realise one great thing, that children are far more interesting than us boring adults. A standard crime thriller featuring a dour faced, down in the dumos police man would have just turned this book into another crime fiction. But, it was for Miss Luce that we got a series which stands out like a “HEALTHY” thumb among the sore thumbs. Where in a standard crime novel would we have got lines like,
“What did Flaubert mean,” I asked at last, “when he said that Madame Bovary gave herself up to Rodolphe?”
“He meant,” Dogger said, “that they became the greatest of friends. The very greatest of friends.”
“Ah!” I said. “Just as I thought.”
“Experience has taught me that an expected answer is often better than the truth.”
Miss Flavia De Luce is one of a kind, and all credit goes to Mr. Bradley for creating such a lovely character, and not stopping at that, topping it up with plots which are strong, without much loopholes and a crime novel which is blisteringly fast, free of any unnecessary baggage and highly enjoyable to read.
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