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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Cover



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 Bishops 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 favourite scene from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?

4. With her excessive interest in poisons and revenge, its 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 Flavias mould?

6. Flavias 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 Flavias eyes what sort of a picture does Alan Bradley paint of the British aristocracy? Think as well about how appearances arent always reality, as with the borderline bankruptcy of Flavias 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 Bishops 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)? Is Flavia truly surprised when Feely and Dogger come to her rescue?

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

BjoLiz, October 24, 2013 (view all comments by BjoLiz)
This is the first in a series of charming mysteries with 11 year old Flavia de Luce as the main character. This book is about murder, rare stamps, chemistry, and family. In the middle of it all is Flavia - a precocious girl with 2 sisters, a father, an off balance gardener-chauffeur -handyman and a not so good cook all playing interesting parts in the story. Readers will delight in Flavia's fun use of chemistry in seeking revenge on her sister as well as her ability to ferret out historical as well as current information to solve the crime that happened in her family garden.
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Product Details

Anchor Canada
General Fiction
Bradley, Alan
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.1 x 1 in .75 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 400 pages Anchor Canada - English 9780385665834 Reviews:
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