Chris Horne, April 23, 2009 (view all comments by Chris Horne)
It's hard to believe that the author was never a precocious 11 year old girl, because the voice rings so true. I am a particular fan of the Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh mysteries, and there's a good element of that style in this work. The English village mystery, an amateur sleuth, the manor house, a bygone era...
But the heroine is fresh and new and fantastically portrayed. Though I was a reader and academically successful, I was never at Flavia's level, but I bet that I found myself as dramatic and important as she does, and it just works. She uses her brains, but still doesn't get it all right away, making it more believable.
The story flew - I didn't want to put it down. The characters, while odd, were easy for me to picture. The dialogue is solid and the book isn't too wordy with descriptions.
I hope to see more Flavia soon.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (19 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)
This beguiling debut from 70-year-old Alan Bradley has been worth the wait, an enchanting and masterfully told mystery that reveals itself at a perfect pace. Clever and delightfully devilish, Flavia de Luce is an intriguing young heroine that you'll be sad to part with.
by Tracey T.,
If Nancy Mitford wrote I Capture the Castle or Cold Comfort Farm and starred in them Harriet the Spy you'd have something close to the quirky charm of Bradley's Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Even if you figure out the probable culprit before it's unveiled in the book, the joy is in following the sleuthing of the intrepid Flavia. Reading this book is especially delightful when paired with a cup of tea and a slice of sweet, sweet pie.
by Tracey T.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Canadian journalist Bradley's rollicking debut. In an early 1950s English village, Flavia is preoccupied with retaliating against her lofty older sisters when a rude, redheaded stranger arrives to confront her eccentric father, a philatelic devotee. Equally adept at quoting 18th-century works, listening at keyholes and picking locks, Flavia learns that her father, Colonel de Luce, may be involved in the suicide of his long-ago schoolmaster and the theft of a priceless stamp. The sudden expiration of the stranger in a cucumber bed, wacky village characters with ties to the schoolmaster, and a sharp inspector with doubts about the colonel and his enterprising young detective daughter mean complications for Flavia and enormous fun for the reader. Tantalizing hints about a gardener with a shady past and the mysterious death of Flavia's adventurous mother promise further intrigues ahead." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day"
"Bradley won a Dagger award and multi-book deal when one of the judges was captivated by Flavia's character. Her charm continues to mesmerize, the book is now sold in 19 countries and, since its release in the U.S. this spring, has launched onto indie best-seller lists. Locally, it's a staff favorite at Broadway Books and Powell's, and has close to 200 folks signed up waiting for a copy from the Multnomah County Library." Peggy McMullen, The Oregonian (read the entire Oregonian review
by Charles Todd, author of The Ian Rutledge series,
"While Flavia De Luce is winning your heart, she may also be poisoning your tea. She's the most wickedly funny sleuth in years, brilliant, unpredictable, unflappable — and only eleven. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie offers the freshest new voice in mystery yet."
by Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell,
"A wickedly clever story, a dead true and original voice, and an English country house in the summer: Alexander McCall Smith meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Please, please, Mr. Bradley, tell me we'll be seeing Flavia again soon?"
by Louise Penny, author of Still Life,
"Alan Bradley's marvelous book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is a fantastic read, a winner. Flavia walks right off the page and follows me through my day. I can hardly wait for the next book. Bravo!"
by Gordon Dahlquist, author of The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters,
"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie offers the reader the precious gift of a richly imagined and luscious new world — but uniquely so, for this is the world of Flavia Sabina de Luce: an eleven-year-old, utterly winning, and altogether delightfully nasty piece of work. An outright pleasure from beginning to end."
by Carolyn Hart, author of the Death on Demand series,
"Alan Bradley brews a bubbly beaker of fun in his devilishly clever, wickedly amusing debut mystery, launching an eleven-year-old heroine with a passion for chemistry — and revenge! What a delightful, original book!"
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