The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
by Alan Bradley
In this second offering from the Flavia de Luce series (here's my review of the first) a puppet master, Rupert Porson, is murdered and 11-year-old Flavia is on the case. She begins to look into the man's death and the more questions she asks the more connections she finds to an accidental death of a young boy from some years earlier. The series is set in England during the 1950s, which means Flavia must be a bit more resourceful than just searching for something on the internet.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the introduction of the character Dieter, a German POW who loves British literature. Bradley has a wonderful way of painting the town of Bishop's Lacey
I loved learning a bit more about Flavia's mother in this book. Even if we only see it in glimpses, there's something mesmerizing about Flavia's dysfunctional home life. Aunt Felicity is a great addition to the family dynamic.
H is for Homicide
by Sue Grafton
After Kinsey's most recent case comes to a close, she heads back home and finds out that a friend has been murdered. A short time later she begins investigating an insurance scam and finds out that the two cases are connected. Soon she finds herself working undercover in the home of Raymond Maldonado, after befriending his ex-girlfriend Bibianna Diaz.
As with all of Grafton's mysteries, the strength is in the details and in Kinsey's cleverness. In H Grafton introduces us to a man with Tourette syndrome, a bi-polar pit bull and a grade school chum of Kinsey's, among others. It’s a fun addition to the series, though her situation never seemed as dire as it does in some of the other books.
I did think it was funny that Grafton used her H is Homicide letter on a novel that had very little to do with homicide. I is for Insurance Fraud maybe?
"Violence is a form of theater that only the disenfranchised can afford."