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

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag

Part of the Flavia de Luce Mystery Series
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The second outing for the wonderful Flavia de Luce. Flavia investigates another murder in Bishops Lacey and tries to track down the ingenious killer using her powers of deduction and her chemistry lab. Brilliant and charming this is an excellent crime series.

Flavia de Luce series:
1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
2. The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
3. A Red Herring Without Mustard
4. I Am Half Sick of Shadows

If you like Alan Bradley you might also like to read books by Lisa Lutz, Catriona McPherson and Simon Brett.

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

The story opens with the immortal words 'I was lying dead in the churchyard' (spoken, astonishingly, by Flavia herself) and ends with a funeral watched by the De Luce family on a newly-installed television set. Inbetween, Alan Bradley weaves a hauntingly nightmarish tale that involves Punch & Judy - and in particular Mr Punch's nemesis, the hangman, Jack Ketch - a frighteningly realistic puppet show, and a hitherto unexplored corner of Bishop's Lacey known as Gibbet's Wood. The plot, beginning with the arrival in Bishop's Lacey of a travelling puppet show, features a grisly murder during a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk in the village hall and reaches back to an earlier, even nastier crime centring on an ancient, rotting gibbet that has lain like a shadow over the village for years. For Flavia, undoing the complex knot that ties these strands together will test her precocious powers of deduction to the limit - and provide a shocking insight into some of the darker corners of the adult world.


The intricate plot unfolds neatly against a charming period backdrop of 1950s England, while the precocious but indomitable Flavia is so original a character that the book is a joy to read. * GOOD BOOK GUIDE * Engaging, entertaining, bright and breezy; and above all, great fun! * Good Book Guide * Hilarious, eccentric and mischievous * Deadly Pleasures * It's like entering the lost world of the Mitford sisters where the girls are allowed to run completely wild * Crime Squad * At once precocious and endearing. Flavia is a marvellous character. Quirkily appealing, this is definitely a crime novel with a difference * Choice * A clever, witty and totally gripping read with lots of surprises * Essentials * Flavia is mercilessly addictive * Daily Telegraph * A breath of fresh air to the world of period-piece sleuthing * Independent * Flavia is enchanting * New York Times * Delightfully entertaining * Guardian * Certain to become a national treasure * Daily Mail * Praise for the cosy crime Flavia de Luce Mysteries - perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders: The Flavia de Luce novels are now a cult favourite * Mail on Sunday *

About the Author

Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley was our Guest Editor in March 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Alan Bradley was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. 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, SK, where he remained for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994.

He became the first President of the Saskatoon Writers, and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. His children’s stories were published in The Canadian Children’s Annual, and his short story, Meet Miss Mullen, was the first recipient of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award for Children’s Literature.

For a number of years, he regularly taught Script Writing and Television Production courses at the University of Saskatchewan (Extension Division) at both beginner and advanced levels.
His fiction has been published in literary journals and he has given many public readings in schools and galleries. His short stories have been broadcast by CBC Radio.

He was a founding member of The Casebook of Saskatoon, a society devoted to the study of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockian writings. Here, he met the late Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant, with whom he collaborated on their classic book, Ms Holmes of Baker Street. This work put forth the startling theory that the Great Detective was a woman, and was greeted upon publication with what has been described as “a firestorm of controversy”.

The release of Ms. Holmes resulted in national media coverage, with the authors embarking upon an extensive series of interviews, radio and television appearances, and a public debate at Toronto’s Harbourfront. His lifestyle and humorous pieces have appeared in The Globe and Mail and The National Post.

His book The Shoebox Bible (McClelland and Stewart, 2006) has been compared with Tuesdays With Morrie and Mr. God, This is Anna. In July of 2007 he won the Debut Dagger Award of the (British) Crimewriter’s Association for his novel The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first of a series featuring eleven year old Flavia de Luce.

Alan Bradley lives in Malta, with his wife Shirley and two calculating cats.

Author photo © Shirley Bradley

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd February 2011


Alan Bradley

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Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


368 pages


Crime / Mystery
Thriller / Suspense
eBook Favourites

Crime & mystery



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