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The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

(Flavia de Luce #2)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  47,415 ratings  ·  5,269 reviews
Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoma ...more
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published March 25th 2010 by Delacorte Press (first published March 9th 2010)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  47,415 ratings  ·  5,269 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't really explain it, but I really like this series. I don't read books like this and yet here I am with book two under my belt and looking forward to book three. I actually liked this book better than the first book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I was talked into reading the first book, and prejudged the book which it took 3/4 of the book to convince me that I really was having a good time. With book two I picked it up already convinced I would like it and I wasn't disappointed. ...more
Jeanette (Again)
I see I'm not the only one unthrilled by this second book. There are no spoilers in what follows, but if you loved the first one and are excited for this one, read no further. Or if you do, don't complain to me that I killed your joy.

This story meandered way too much to keep my interest, and I thought the plot was dreadfully thin. Lots of window dressing and trying too hard to be cute. It felt very much like a 70-something-year-old man trying to sound like an 11-year-old girl. And of course, th
Richard Derus
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
These are cute, cute, cute books! I don't buy it, a kid being this kind of smart, but I don't care. The plot's a little on the thin side, but I don't care. The fun of these books is the delightful fantasy of Eng-er-land post-WWII seen through the eyes of eleven-year-old Flavia, daughter of decayed privilege.

The murdered man, a puppeteer/drug dealer, *richly* deserved killing, which always makes a mystery more fun for me. His relict, of sorts, is of course a suspect, but her Delicate Condition (w
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Flavia returns! Oh, delicious young poisoner Flavia de Luce, cousin to Wednesday Addams, Sherlock Holmes as an 11 year-old girl. A delight.
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag picks up a little more than a month after The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie leaves off, so it was good to read them consecutively. It's summer in Bishop's Lacey, the little village outside of which eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce lives with her father and two older sisters in the old family manor, Buckshaw. Flavia's relaxing in the churchyard when she sees that she has company: it turns out that the van of a famous puppeteer, Rupert Porson, has broken ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, british, canada
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag is the 2nd book in the Flavia De Luce series. I liked the novel less than the first one as I could not connect with the characters in the beginning and I was a little bit annoyed by Flavia. That changed soon enough and the book became entertaining, as I was expecting.

For those who do not know this series, it is about a 12 years old girl living in an old English mansion with her father and two sisters after the 2nd World War. Flavia is very curios, attenti
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series, especially the feisty 11 year old Flavia deLuce at the centre of it all. England in the 1950s must have been a golden time for childhood. Flavia is left totally alone to roam the countryside on her bike, visit whoever she wants and poke her nose in wherever she wants. Of course things might be different if her mother hadn't died at her birth and it was left to her distant father and two hateful sisters (who Flavia may end up poisoning before the series ends) to bring her up. ...more
Dan Lutts
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Suppose you're at a puppet show and the puppeteer falls from the rafters, dead. It's not an accident. He's been murdered. What would you do? Well, if you're feisty, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, who has a passion for poisons, you'd solve the mystery and find the murderer.

And that exactly what Flavia does in Alan Bradley's second Flavia de Luce mastery, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. Puppeteer Rupert Porson–a famous BBC personality–arrives in Bishop's Lacey, along with his downtrodden
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
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.
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I liked the first book a little more. I think the mystery was better crafted in the first book. However, it was still quite a mystery. This one was quite sad due to the subject matter. I think that was another reason it didn't sit as well with me. Flavia is her usual self. Very precocious and highly astute and observant. She makes a formidable detective. Much in the style of the highly esteemed Miss Marple. One that people will often overlook because they seem unassuming and not the type who cou ...more
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This series is growing on me. Flavia is such an engaging, quirky character as are the rest of her household. The mystery to be solved was a good one. The idea of an eleven year old running rings round the police force and inspector works well.and although she's so feisty and independent, we still see how affected she is by her mother's death as well as the horrible things her sisters say to her. I loved the family's first experience with the one eyed monster too ( the TV)- an historically accura ...more
Melissa Rose
You know, although Flavia is a slightly unbelievable 11-year-old, I am truly enjoying the Flavia De Luce series, and I think that The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag was even better than book #1.

First off, I felt that the mystery in this book was better written than in the Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie; I had had several theories formulated in my mind by the end, whereas in book #1 I believed that the perpetrator was blatantly obvious. As a reader, it made the plot a more enjoyable jou
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019

Part of me (my quieter voice) was saying, Give it up. Don’t meddle. Go home and be with your family. But another part was more insistent: The library isn’t open until Thursday, it seemed to whisper. No one will see you.
“But the lock,” I said aloud. “The place is locked.”
Since when did a locked door ever stop you? replied the voice.

Nothing can stop Flavia de Luce in her pursuit of knowledge. The adults should be rightfully terrified of her, especially when they have something to hide fr
Lisa Vegan
I think I liked this second book even better than I did the first book in the series, even though I didn’t get to experience the same novelty of Flavia as a character.

I love Flavia and Flavia’s narration. She’s such a hoot. It helps to have a very warped sense of humor to enjoy this mystery series, and I am the proud possessor of a warped sense of humor, which allows me to enjoy all sorts of humor.

I knew too much about the mystery too soon, sort of, but the whole joy of this series is Flavia as
Feb 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Look, I like Flavia De Luce - I do. But Alan Bradley needs to make up his mind about whether this girl is eleven or thirty; she can't be both. I can't tell you how much it bothers me to have an eleven-year-old thinking things like "As if they had been sucked in through my pores by osmosis, I knew even as they swept over me that I was hearing the bitter words of an old man to a love far younger than himself." How can she know that? Nothing about her home life suggests she could possibly know thes ...more
I could only barely make it through one Harry Potter novel even though they are very imaginative and popular. Yet I am addicted to Flavia de Luce books as much as Flavia is addicted to chemistry, solving mysteries and devouring horehound sticks. Flavia has a hilarious and sweet view of her world and she make you want to be a part of it.

Eleven year old Flavia lives in Buckshaw, an old estate on the edge of Bishop's Lacey. She is know by all the locals as that "de Luce girl" flying about town on
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Even better than the first one, "The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag" was so lovely!!!

These books are so unique because what Alan Bradley does is takes his readers through layers of imagination. When I read his books I literally see everything and I'm transported to a different time. He is so great at writing characters and setting its so fun and fantastic! This book had a charming plot even though it was about murder. The puppeteer idea was very storybook and had me hooked from the very be
Lorraine M. Thompson
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this book because I fell in like with the protagonist Flavia de Luce in "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie". (And yes, I do sometimes select a book to read by its cover which is the main reason I picked up "The Sweetness...It had a crow on the cover and I am a huge corvoid fan!).

I just learned that there is a new Flavia book out and an totally looking forward to reading it.

Anyways, how can you not like a writer who pens:

"If you remember nothing else, remember this: Inspiration from
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Give me resistance, give me marching in the streets, and then give me books about an eleven-year-old chemist who rides her bike around the village solving crimes and threatening to poison her sisters for the end of the day when all I want is to try to take my mind off of how fucking shameful & reprehensible my country is. ...more
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm enjoying this series without loving it; it's the epitome of the 3.5 star series for me, much like Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street series. The cast of characters is growing on me, and I like the way there are some bigger story arcs developing (why do Flavia's sisters hate her so much? what happened to Harriet?). Some of the same issues as in the first book that probably won't improve - an English setting that doesn't seem quite right to me (Mrs. Mullet's way of speaking, for example, ...more
I skipped the other 2 books I have out from the library to dive right into this! One of my favorite lines in this book, "Take myself, for instance: I am often thought of as being remarkably bright, and yet my brains, more often than not, are busily devising new and interesting ways of bringing my enemies to sudden, gagging, writhing, agonizing death." Oh Flavia! Such a funny, smart-ass. And she's only 11! Another delightful murder mystery in which Flavia de Luce is miles ahead of the police. Ver ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have heard good things about this series from others. I decided to finally give it a chance. Unfortunately my library didn't have the first volume, but they did have the second volume and that is where I started. This feels like a stand alone mystery, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Flavia is a likable character. It is hard to remember she is only 11 years old. She is a great detective and chemist and is sure to do good things as she gets older. I think this will be a fun series ...more
Valerie Best
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a little while to get into this one, which surprised me, because I liked the first book in the series so much.
But, I powered through, and this one was really great too. The mysteries Bradley creates are interesting and intricate, without being too complicated to follow (mostly), but his writing is the real star of these books. Bishop’s Lacy has such an genuine sense of reality, like you could turn the knob and walk right in. He’s good at managing a large cast of supporting characters
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Margie by: Llyr
Shelves: series, mystery
This is book #2 in the Flavia de Luce series. Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old genius chemist and brilliant detective to boot. This is an adult, not young adult series, despite Flavia's age.

I loved the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and this one was a good read and good mystery as well, with several engaging back stories, a "shocking" murder and a host of interesting characters.

However, I have trouble "suspending disbelief" in Flavia's abilities, especially in her sleu
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Flavia de Luce fans
Another lovely and funny Flavia de Luce mystery.

One afternoon Flavia stumbles upon a traveling puppet show van at the local church's graveyard. The van is broken and in the temporary absence of the mechanic, stranded in Bishop's Lacy for a few days. Not to waste their time, performers decide to do a couple of shows to entertain local public. Of course, Flavia doesn't hesitate to befriend the famous puppeteer Rupert Porson and his beautiful (and pregnant) assistant. Tragedy strikes when during th
Oh Flavia, you and your poison...

This second installment in the Flavia De Luce series was a bit slower than the first (the murder doesn't even occur until half-way through the book!) but more revealing of the De Luce family background, which made up for the slower start. Flavia is freakishly observant and manipulative, and she's 11 years old.

The mysteries are told from the viewpoint of a very precocious, highly intelligent child. She misses things that an adult would grasp immediately, but she
Gretchen Bernet-Ward
This book is deserving of 10 stars if I could give them. The irony, the wit and the revealing portrayal of 1950s English village life, is both hilarious and horrible. Events are seen through the eyes of young Flavia de Luce, an implausibly precocious girl who lives with her family in genteel decline. Flavia’s encounters turn into forensic investigations and she has an inherent love of chemistry, brewing dangerous concoctions in her late grandfather’s lab.

The village of Bishop’s Lacey appears to
Mellie Antoinette
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Robin. Rupert. Meet De Luce. Flaaaaavia De Luce. She’s like 13 but your deaths were just a small matter of murder, so no big!

So, this had a twisted who done it! It was kind of delightful! I’m continuing the series!
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read many mystery books, but I am hooked on this series--and have gotten my mom hooked as well. In this second book, 11-year-old Flavia continues her adventures in the British countryside where she roams wild with her unhealthy interest in murder and poison. In this book, a visiting puppeteer is murdered, and the cast of suspects is wide. Bradley, a Canadian, has a magnificent knack for creating characters who are brilliant and quirky in that perfectly British mold. Really, it would be a ...more
☼Professional Thorn☼
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have to say, Alan Bradley's ability to evoke a time and place is simply amazing. Whether I enjoyed the mystery or not I would probably read this series just for the opportunity to escape to these small towns in 1950s England.

IF you adored the SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE I hardly think you need me to urge you on to read Flavia #2. However, if you are like me and somewhat on the line as to whether to continue, let me give you a little nudge to go ahead and pick this book up too. First, th
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where

Other books in the series

Flavia de Luce (10 books)
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)
  • A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3)
  • I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce, #4)
  • Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce, #5)
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)
  • As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (Flavia de Luce, #7)
  • Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd (Flavia de Luce, #8)
  • The Grave's a Fine and Private Place (Flavia de Luce, #9)
  • The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce, #10)

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