I joined the 1% Well Read Challenge again, trying to read 13 books by April 2011. No specific to read list but all have to be off the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I'm sloooowly working on that one anyway!
And i finished the second Flavia de Luce mystery last night. Or this morning. It was like 1 am when i finished up. The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley picks up just a few weeks after the first volume ends. Flavia is playing in the Bishop's Lacey churchyard when she hears a woman, crying. She finds Nialla, a young woman stuck in town with her employer, Rupert, with their van broken down. Rupert is actually a famous puppeteer on that new-fangled gadget, TV. To pay for getting their van fixed and camping in the churchyard, they agree to put on a puppet show for the town.
As the murder didn't actually happen until about halfway through the book, i don't want to give much more away. I was actually interested in trying to figure out who it was that was going to die. Flavia is the star of the story of course. She knows that as she's eleven people either ignore or dismiss her and she plays that up for all the advantages she can get. She's brilliant, in the mental way and the slang way. We get some more information about her family, by way of Aunt Felicity, her father's sister who comes to visit. I am sure if we get enough books we'll see the mystery of Harriet unfolded. I do wish we had a little more info about why the de Luce's have money problems. The excuse the father gives is that Harriet dies without a will so lawyers have been haggling for the last 9 years. but even if the property didn't go to the husband, wouldn't it go to the girls in some sort of trust?
It is strange to read about life in 1950 Britain though. Flavia rides all over the countryside on her bike without a worry. The family doesn't have a tv and the girls aren't allowed to use the telephone. They only own Harriet's old car but don't use it, they walk most places and occasionally hire the one local taxi. It's just so different. I can imagine living then myself, but just barely. in another 25 years from now it will be even more difficult for people to imagine this time.
A 6 from me. Part 3 coming out next year, called A Red Herring without Mustard.