Sunday, May 9, 2010

Week 18: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) - Alan Bradley (370 pages)

Set in England in 1950, we are introduced to Flavia de Luce. Flavia is a precocious young girl, aged 11, who is fascinated with Chemistry. Flave (as she is called by family) is the youngest of three children. Older sisters Ophelia (Feely) and Daphne (Daffy) tend to pick on or ignore Flave and her eccentricities. 

Mysteries are not generally a genre that I enjoy, but this book was quite the exception. Flavia is an engaging character and her curiosity gets her in and out of scrapes. The mystery at the center of this novel involves a body found in the garden of Buckshaw (Flavia's family home). Flavia, being the fearless and strong-willed person that she is, goes forth in solving the murder. Flavia confounds the local police and has a helper in the family "jack of all trades" Dogger. 

So as not to spoil the story, I will forgo anymore plot points. I will say that this is a great debut novel by Alan Bradley. Bradley is 70 years old and has five books planned with Flavia as the protagonist. He was about 11 years old in 1950 and the book may be a bit autobiographical - whatever the circumstance, this was an engaging novel and I am looking forward to picking up #2, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag. I highly suggest this book, especially if mysteries aren't your thing - you may find yourself rooting out loud for Flavia!


  1. I can't wait to read this! It has been on my list for some time and it's our June Book Club Selection! YAY! Back to my reading or I will miss week 18!

  2. I have to disagree. I just finished this novel as well and I could barely get through it. I found the writing style to be very old fashioned and could not suspend my belief enough to think that an 11-year-old would be able to do the things this one did. I think he's a good writer and the mystery was intriguing but I just didn't care for this book.