The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieGoodreads: The Sweentess at the Bottom of the Pie
Series: Flavia de Luce #1
Source: Library

Summary: When a dead bird appears on the back stoop and is followed by a dead man in the cucumber patch, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce knows it is up to her to solve the mystery.  Armed with her vast understanding of chemistry as well as a lot of spunk, Flavia will attempt to stay one step ahead of the police and clear her family from the accusation of murder.

Review: In The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley introduces readers to a spunky heroine with a tongue as keen as her mind.  Flavia’s sense of self-importance and her astute observations of the people around her create a unique narrative voice both funny and witty, if sometimes a bit old for her years.  Though the mystery she investigates proves interesting enough, Flavia’s spirited determination to solve it drives the book more than the actual plot.

To keep Flavia grounded in the world of a child despite her advanced knowledge of chemistry and penchant for solving crime, Bradley provides Flavia with two older sisters.  Their antics as they think of new ways to annoy each other and to get revenge for past annoyances suffered helps to lift the tone of the book, if Flavia’s lighthearted delight in solving crime does not already make murdered men more palatable than in the average mystery novel.  Furthermore, the childish jokes Flavia concocts to provoke her sisters sometimes seem reflected in the plans she designs to gain access to clues.  It is refreshing to see these immature plots backfire; even prodigy children do not always get the edge over professional investigators in this series.

Now that Flavia has gotten her first taste of adventure, I cannot wait to follow her through more mysteries.  The girl has always shown herself bold and a little cocky, and surely success will have whetted her appetite for more puzzles to solve.  I am interested to see if success goes to her head and, of course, to see some more chemistry in action!

Thanks to Kim at exLibrisLady for recommending this book as having a protagonist interested in chemistry!

Published: 2009

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