Monday, February 8, 2010

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

✰✰✰✰✰ Flavia Sabina de Luce is an 11 year old amateur sleuth with pigtails and a passion for poison. Flavia is happiest when she is holed up in her Uncle Tarquin's abandoned Victorian chemistry lab. When not concocting poisons or re-enacting the great discoveries of chemistry, our precocious heroine can be found riding her trusty bicycle, Gladys, about the eccentric village of Bishop's Lacey.

Set in post-World War II England in 1950, the intrigue begins when a dead jack snipe with a stamp pierced by its bill turns up on the doorstep. Just hours later Flavia stumbles upon a dying man in the cucumber patch of her family's estate, Buckshaw. Suddenly the de Luce family's world is turned upside-down, and Flavia's father is arrested for murder.

Flavia discovers that weeks earlier the priceless Ulster Avenger belonging to King George the Sixth was stolen. This is not the first time that theft and death have been associated with her Father. As a schoolboy at Greyminster School, Mr. de Luce was present when his favorite teacher, Mr. Twining, fell to his death after another Ulster Avenger went missing.

Flavia sets out to discover if there could be any connection between the stamp delivered to her Father via the dead bird and the two incidents of theft followed by death. We are invited to follow Flavia as she sets out to solve the crime and ends up in jam herself. Can this 11 year old girl outwit everyone and save herself before it is too late?

The Bottom Line: Alan Bradley's debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is deliciously fun, quirky, and original. Most enthusiastically recommended for mystery buffs who appreciate fast-paced action and an engaging writing style. This is a fantastic, captivating debut, and I, for one, am looking forward to following Flavia as she untangles future mysteries.

Details: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Published by Delacorte Press in 2009. Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages. ISBN: 978-0-385-34230-8

For more information, visit Flavia de Luce

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