Book Reviews: The Weed... and H is for Homicide

Monday, August 23, 2010

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."


Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Alan Bradley sounds fantastic!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Loved BOTH ALan Bradley books. Glad to see ou are a fan as well. Love that Flavia.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

It's so much fun to find a new character like Flavia. New characters that are that charismatic are rare.

Jenners said...

This is such a good pairing! Flavia and Kinsey are two of my favorite detectives. And in both cases, I tend to like them more than their "mysteries."

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Jenners - That's the perfect way to describe it! I love Flavia and Kinsey and will continue to read both series because of them, but the mysteries themselves are usually just mediocre. I read them because they are such wonderful characters.

Silvia said...

My girls 10 and 12, and I, love Alan Bradley. We are in the 5th book and already have them all. Flavia is a favorite.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Silvia - That's such a perfect age to read the Flavia books. I wish they were around when I was that age! I can't wait to share them with my daughter.