Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Book Summary from

Great literary crime detectives aren’t always born; they’re sometimes discovered, blindfolded and tied up in a dark closet by their nasty older sisters. Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce’s bitter home life and vicious sibling war inspires her solitary diversions and “strange talents” tinkering with the chemistry set in the laboratory of their inherited Victorian house, plotting sleuth-like vengeance on Ophelia (17) and Daphne (13), and delving into the forbidden past of her taciturn, widowed father, Colonel de Luce. It comes as no surprise, then, that the material for her next scientific investigation will be the mysterious corpse that she uncovers in the cucumber patch.

Fearless and darkly imaginative, Flavia hurries to solve the murder and acquit her father of suspicion. Following the lead of its clever protagonist, Sweetness is entirely inventive, fast-paced, and quick-witted, with tongue-in-cheek humour that derides the macabre seriousness of subject.
Alan Bradley plants the story deep into the setting of 1950s England, with a portrait of an eccentric home life that is all too wickedly familiar. The story’s twists are supported by the time and place as well as the unusual interests of the characters which range from stamp-collecting to making poisons all of which are highly researched and ingeniously incorporated.

My Review - 4 Great to the last drop

Flavia is my favourite character of the year, she made this mystery extremely entertaining.  She is only 11 and made me enjoy even more the deliberate childlike interest on solving the crime.  She reminded me of Pippy Longstocking and Annie, they all could have been best of friends.  She made me laugh and gasp her quick tongue, so wrong but so right also, adults couldn't help but love her but also want to smack her one. She kept on talking about Glady's, I thought it was her horse, nooooo, it was her bike, (rolling on the floor laughing), the adult in the book i'm sure rolled their eyes when they said who is Glady's and Flavia responded my bike like it was normal to name your bike.

She was brilliant, definitely an up and coming star in life, entrepreneur.  Her passion was Chemistry, a true scientist.  What child has a laboratory in their house, I still find this disturbing, in an intriguing way.  Flavia had far to much time alone and she took full advantage of getting down and dirty in the investigation.  She had me saying 'hmmm good thinking Flavia, how you think about that' she was just brilliant.

Those that enjoy historical fiction will enjoy this story, I was able to get through it but it was the part that wasn't my cup of tea, the history on the stamp collection that the overall mystery was around.  Also all the scientific words but it added to the genuine passion Flavia had.

In the end of the story she asked the Detective what symbol in his little book was for her, he told her P but didn't say what it stood for, I think it was for Pain in the ass :-)  She tried to out smart the Detective many times, she enjoyed a good little white lie at times.

You will not get enough of Flavia, I will be reading the next in the series because I want more Flavia de Luce.


  1. I've read two of his books. Both were good with Flavia the best!

  2. I enjoyed this when I read it, but I haven't felt compelled to get the next one in the series. I'll be watching for your review of it.

  3. This sounds like something I might need to pick up. Thanks for the review :)

  4. Ooh, glad to hear you liked it so much! I've been wanting to read it.

  5. I keep debating whether to add this to TBR list or not... I think I will now :)

  6. I love the synopsis of this book. Although I've heard mostly mixed reviews, I still want to read this one. I'm glad you enjoyed it - that bumps the book up my TBR.


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