Author: Alan Bradley
Goodreads Rating: 3.75
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Beside the fact that this title is a total mouthful (both in the sense of pie and being long) it was a wonderful story. I can't rightly tell you why I picked it up because I vaguely remember someone insisting that I read it, but I can't tell you who or why or when-a mystery in itself. As a lover of crime books (I'm in the middle of yet another at the writing of this post) and a lover of crime shows, I can tell you that this book isn't quite like anything I've read before or really encountered. The closest I can get to describing it is the lovechild of, an older, Nancy Drew and Richard Castle from the TV Show.
In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story—of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school’s tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder—but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse….
An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions—and a rich literary delight.
My review following the jump.
That synopses says it all. Flavia is adorable, and is a British Nancy Drew-with murder. Super exciting right? She's super smart which on some characters would be super annoying but Bradley makes Flavia entirely believable. Although I would have been more entertained had she not been such a Chemistry buff (as my high school Chem teacher how I did...he would laugh.)
So Flavia- was not at all disturbed when she stumbled upon a dead body in her backyard. I don't know if its America or if its 2012, or what but any child would be disturbed out of their mind and in counseling until they were 30. This little girl on the other hand, sets out to solve the crime instead of returning to her life as it was. Its a good thing to because had she not meddled in the business of the police then the case might not have been solved.
I really loved the rivalry with her sisters-including when she melted down her sisters lipstick and added poison ivy to it. Who would think of that!? The best though, was when Ophelia (the sister who got the poison ivy lipstick) gave her a kiss on the cheek after rescuing her from being kidnapped. Sisters, what a relationship.
What was also great was the way that this story was woven together and the mystery within it. As you got each clue to the puzzle their were times when I was figuring out whodoneit faster than Flavia- because she was only 11, but that was okay because at times I was wrong, and she shows you how.
This book is a great read for people who want a mystery minus all the shoot outs and the technical jargon that floats around in these book along with the thrills. So if you want more of a laid back traditional Sherlock Holmes type of mystery-this series is surely for you.