Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag

Alan Bradley
Doubleday Canada 2010

Flavia's back ... with all the family and friends from Bishop's Lacey and Environ - Buckshaw, St. Tancred's, Culverhouse Farm, and Gibbet Wood. Aunt Felicity has joined the household as a guest, annoying each and every one in their turn. "Father said, 'she still has all her own teeth --- and she knows how to use 'em.'"

Flavia finds herself untangling two deaths. Rupert Porson, the beloved puppeteer, has had an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity.The death of a child some years before may not have been an accident.

Colorful characters are plentiful, and Flavia sets aside her chemistry experiments and schemes of vengeance against her insufferable big sisters and races about on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, in search of Bishops's Lacey's deadliest secrets. There's Mad Meg who lives in Gibbet Wood, the catatonic woman in the dovecoat, the German pilot obsessed with the Bronte sisters, and Porson's assistant, the charming but erratic Nialla.

Alan Bradley is a genius .. he juggles this mix of oddball characters like a magician. The plot twists and turns, and I truly couldn't guess the final outcome until the very end.

I so look forward now to his next book in the Flavia series  A Red Herring without Mustard that he's currently working on now in Malta, where he lives with Shirly and Amadeus and Cleo, his wife and two "calculating" cats.

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