Review of 'The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie'

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

the_sweetness_at_the_bottom_of_the_pie.jpg Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old with a passion for chemistry living in 1950s English countryside in Buckshaw, the family mansion, with her stamp collecting father and two sisters Ophelia and Daphne. One day a dead bird is found on the doorstep with a postage stamp in it's beak then the next morning she discovers a man dying in the garden - The same man who her father had been arguing with the night before. Intrigued by the mystery, Flavia begins her investigation and along the way discovers secrets of the stamp collecting industry and her family, but will the murderer take his revenge on the amateur detective?

This is the first book of the wildly successful “Flavia de Luce” series of books (now numbering 10 volumes) featuring our young heroine and from what I have read it is a great start. It really seems to capture the viewpoint of a young girl complete with her petty (and actually fairly sinister) squabbles with her sisters, and her naïve outlook though with the unusual twist of her happening to be very good at chemistry (and making tea, evidently). The adults around her seem to be largely witless or, at least, careless as she goes about her investigation, blindly going where others would fear to tread albeit by bicycle rather than car. The story does tend to drag on a bit and get caught up in what seem to be largely superfluous details but is generally quite engaging and interesting, keeping you guessing from one chapter to the next.

A fun, easy and occasionally amusing read with engaging and an interesting amateur detective with more than a few twists.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-08-26

Genre: Crime/Mystery

Publisher: Anchor Canada

Publication Date: 2009

ISBN: 9780385665834