Great start to a new series! Flavia de Luce is a charming child, not completely childlike but yet not fully adult, either. She functions in both worlds -- the realm of murder, policemen, unwitting and "witting" adults, as well as in her small family as the youngest of three sisters. Flavia is bright but not nerdy, clever but not obnoxious, and always eager to excel and to please those few adults who treat her as an equal. There's a good dose of gentle humor in her character, and in Bradley's writing. By the time I'd read half the book, I had already started looking for others in the series and had recommended it to several friends.
The book included an excellent interview with the author. I was wondering how a 70-ish Canadian man could be inspired to write about an 11-year-old British girl of the 1950s, and this brief conversation gave me insight into Bradley's way of writing and thinking.
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kimsieg, January 12, 2013 (view all comments by kimsieg)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a classic mystery tale told from the point of view of a young girl. A mini detective in the making. Flavia de Luce is a precocious, bright, fearless girl with a nack for being at the right place at the right time (or wrong time). You can't go wrong picking up this book and diving into the de Luce family household.
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nrlymrtl, August 31, 2012 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
This was one of the most delightful mysteries I had read in some time. The reader is taken on bicycle rides, assists on chemistry experiments, and of course, solving a murder. Flavia is fascinated with chemistry in general and poisons in specific. Her knowledge of both drives this mystery and, without surprise, is key in solving the murder.Tormented by older siblings, ignored by most adults, motherless, and far too smart for her own good, Flavia steals the show.This book was fast-paced and over too soon.
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Peter Ellis, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by Peter Ellis)
I am the first to admit that I don't typically read mysteries; that particular genre has always been more the realm of my parents, who are avid mystery readers and collectors. Thus, I was a bit skeptical at first when my father suggested this particular series, since he knew full well that it's not typically my cup of tea.
However, I found myself sucked into the story, despite my typical distaste; Flavia is such a well-constructed character that it's quite easy to believe that she is, in fact, capable of all the things she does. Reading the book, it's quite easy to forget exactly how young she actually is, since she takes things on with such a maturity that she could easily find herself mistaken for someone much older. The plot and the characters behind them kept the story moving wonderfully, and the small side-stories with various characters added a depth and richness that the novel uses to tie together the entire picture in a manner Flavia herself would be most proud of.
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.
"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 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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