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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

by

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery Cover

ISBN13: 9780385343497
ISBN10: 0385343493
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. With her high level of knowledge, her erudition and her self-reliance, Flavia hardly seems your typical eleven-year-old girl. Or does she? Discuss Flavia and her personality, and how her character drives this novel. Can you think of other books that have used a similar protagonist?

2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie falls within the tradition of English country house mysteries, but with the devilishly intelligent Flavia racing around Bishop’s Lacey on her bike instead of the expected older woman ferreting out the truth by chatting with her fellow villagers. Discuss how Bradley uses the traditions of the genre, and how he plays with them too.

3. What is your favorite scene from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?

4. With her excessive interest in poisons and revenge, it’s no surprise that Flavia is fascinated, not scared, as she watches the stranger die in her garden. In your view, is her dark matter-of-factness more refreshing or disturbing?

5. Flavia reminds us often about Harriet, the mother she never knew, and has many keepsakes that help her imagine what she was like. Do you think the real Harriet would have fit into Flavia’s mold?

6. Flavia’s distance from her father, the Colonel, is obvious, yet she loves him all the same. Does their relationship change over the course of the novel in a lasting way? Would Flavia want it to?

7. Through Flavia’s eyes what sort of a picture does Alan Bradley paint of the British aristocracy? Think as well about how appearances aren’t always reality, as with the borderline bankruptcy of Flavia’s father and Dr. Kissing.

8. Discuss the meaning (or meanings) of the title The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

9. What twists in the plot surprised you the most?

10. Buckshaw, the estate, is almost a character in its own right here, with its overlarge wings, hidden laboratory, and pinched front gates. Talk about how Bradley brings the setting to life in this novel – not only Buckshaw itself, but Bishop’s Lacey and the surrounding area.

11. What does Flavia care about most in life? How do the people around her compare to her chemistry lab and books?

12. Like any scientist. Flavia expects her world to obey certain rules, and seems to be thrown off kilter when surprises occur. How much does she rely on the predictability of those around her, like her father and her sisters, in order to pursue her own interests (like solving the murder)?

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 17 comments:

naessa, October 24, 2014 (view all comments by naessa)
It’s Christmas at Buckshaw and 11 year old amateur detective and chemist Flavia concocts a surefire method (chemically, of course) to prove that Father Christmas is real. In the meantime, Flavia’s father has rented out their manor house out to a film crew in a desperate attempt to stave off the tax man. Naturally, a murder is committed and Flavia meddles, despite the best intentions of Inspector Hewitt to keep her out of it. This is the fourth entry in the charming Flavia de Luce mysteries. And on a more superficial note, the jewel colored books look beautiful lined up on my shelf.
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naessa, October 24, 2014 (view all comments by naessa)
I love this series. Precocious 11 year sleuth Flavia de Luce is like a cross between Nancy Drew and Merricat Blackwood. If you like your mysteries to be cozy and quirky, I would highly recommend reading this book (and the rest of the series too!).
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Margaret Hanes, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Margaret Hanes)
Received this book as a gift. Enjoyed it immensely and want to read more from this author. If you like mysteries, try this one.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385343497
Subtitle:
A Flavia de Luce Mystery
Author:
Bradley, Alan
Publisher:
Bantam
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
7.71x5.37x.88 in. .67 lbs.

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Related Subjects


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Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery Used Trade Paper
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Bantam - English 9780385343497 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Review A Day" by , "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
"Review" by , "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?"
"Review" by , "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!"
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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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