By Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Eleven-year old Flavia de Luce is an inquisitive girl and wise beyond her years. She is obsessed with chemistry and poisons, and delights in aggravating her two older sisters to no end. The most fascinating thing to ever happen to Flavia was watching a man’s life expire in her family’s cucumber patch. When her father Colonel de Luce is arrested for killing the man, Flavia sets out on her bicycle to uncover the truth. Her clues: a dead black bird on the front stoop, an odd orange postage stamp, and the final mysterious word the murder victim uttered.
I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, and when I found it at the library, I snatched it up. Some parts of the book worked for me and others didn’t. I thought the story was well-written and researched, and it gives the reader a glimpse of English small town life just after WWII. Of course, the highlight of the book was Miss Flavia. She is quite a unique protagonist in the mystery genre. This clever and precocious girl used her smarts to deduce who done it well before the police detectives. It took several chapters to get used to the prose, and much of the chemistry talk was lost on me. I also thought that the pacing of the story was slow, just too wordy and overly descriptive in spots.
THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE was definitely worth reading. It’s similar to the cozy mysteries I love – quaint setting, no graphic scenes, and a clever amateur sleuth. I’ll probably give the next Flavia book a try, though I may stick to the library with this series.
Source: Borrowed from the library