The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie ~~ Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
It is the summer of 1950 -- and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life."

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is an enthralling mystery, a wonderfully told tale of deception -- and a rich literary delight.
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About the Book
  • Published:
    Feb-2009 (Hardcover)
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    Print / eBook / Audio
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This book is something else. I loved the unique amateur sleuth-a precocious eleven-year-old chemistry whizby the name of Flavia de Luce; the setting-1950's remote English country village; the mystery-a dying man in the garden in the early hours of the morning. The characters in this cozy mystery are truly wonderful. First we have Flavia herself. She's a chemistry genius, but her main penchant is for creating posisons. We have her two older sisters-Opheila (Filly) and Daphne (Daffy) who Flavia enjoys tormenting. We have her father-a strange quiet man who still mourns the disappearance of his wife and a man who is totally engaged with his stamps. His daughters are pretty much left to their own devices. Then there is the housekeeper - Mrs. Mullen and of course the man of all tasks Dogger-a man who is suffering from post-traumatic stress from the war. This mismatched household lives in a crumbling mansion called Buckshaw. The whole story begins with a dead bird showing up on the doorstep of Buckshaw one morning. This act nearly derails Flavia's father and it starts the whole ball rolling (so to speak). Flavia finds a dying man lying in the cucumber patch the next day, and she determines to find out what happened to this stranger. Young Flavia has a scientific mind, so she employs the same skills when trying to solve a murder. Her investigation takes her back thirty years when a well-loved professor threw himself to his death from top of the highest steeple at the school where Flavia's father is a young student. This book is so much fun and Flavia is such a delight, that I intend to read the others in this wonderful series. This brilliant book won the Golden Dagger award in 2009 for best first mystery novel. Alan Bradley does a marvelous job of portraying Flavia. She is a one-in-a-million fictional character that will stick with me for a long time.
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