The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Flavia de Luce

Book 2
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BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Alan Bradley's A Red Herring Without Mustard, discussion questions, and an essay by the author.

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 madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head?

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty mystery novel from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

Praise for The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place

“Flavia [is] irrepressible, precocious and indefatigable. . . . A whole new chapter of Flavia’s life opens as she approaches adolescence. Will she become the Madame Curie of crime?”—Bookreporter

“Outstanding . . . As usual, Bradley makes his improbable series conceit work and relieves the plot’s inherent darkness with clever humor.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“There’s only one Flavia. . . . Series fans will anticipate the details of this investigation, along with one last taste of Flavia’s unorthodox family life.”—Library Journal (starred review)
 
“Bradley’s unquenchable heroine brings ‘the most complicated case I had ever come across’ to a highly satisfying conclusion, with the promise of still brighter days ahead.”—Kirkus Reviews
4.1
168 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Dell
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Published on
Mar 9, 2010
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780440339175
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Cozy
Fiction / Thrillers / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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See entire series

Fans of Flavia de Luce rejoice—here’s a special eBook original short story, in which the eleven-year-old connoisseur of chemistry is immersed in her element: solving a mystery!
 
Murder! the letter says, Come at once. Anson House, Greyminster, Staircase No. 3. How can Flavia de Luce resist such an urgent plea? After all, examining a dead body sounds like a perfectly splendid way to spend a Sunday. So Flavia hops upon her trusted bicycle, Gladys, whose rubber tires hiss happily along the rainy road, and arrives at her father’s mist-shrouded old school. There, a terrified boy leads her to the loo where, sitting in a bathtub, is what appears to be a statue. But, no: To Flavia’s surprise, the thing is in fact a naked dead man. Save his face, he seems to have been carved out of copper. Never one to shy away from the macabre, Flavia gets to work—only to find that when an investigation begins with a metallic cadaver, ever more curious twists are to be expected.
 
Acclaim for Alan Bradley’s beloved Flavia de Luce novels, winners of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award, Barry Award, Agatha Award, Macavity Award, Dilys Award, and Arthur Ellis Award
 
“If ever there were a sleuth who’s bold, brilliant, and, yes, adorable, it’s Flavia de Luce.”—USA Today
 
“Part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Flavia is a pert and macabre pragmatist.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“This idiosyncratic young heroine continues to charm.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Delightful . . . a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Think preteen Nancy Drew, only savvier.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“The most intrepid and charming adolescent chemist/detective/busybody in all of rural, post–World War II England.”—The Seattle Times
“Every Flavia de Luce novel is a reason to celebrate.”—USA Today
 
ALAN BRADLEY, AUTHOR OF THE MOST AWARD-WINNING SERIES DEBUT OF ANY YEAR, RETURNS WITH ANOTHER IRRESISTIBLE FLAVIA DE LUCE NOVEL.
 
“[Alan] Bradley has created one of the most original, charming, devilishly creative and hilarious detectives of any age or any time.”—Bookreporter
 
It’s Christmastime, and Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Alan Bradley's Speaking from Among the Bones.
 
“[Flavia is] the most intrepid and charming adolescent chemist/detective/busybody in all of rural, post–World War II England.”—The Seattle Times
 
“Quirky and delightful . . . Flavia is a classic literary character who manages to appeal to both young and old readers equally.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
 
“Bradley’s plot twists and turns delightfully.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST MYSTERIES OF THE YEAR BY THE SEATTLE TIMES
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