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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (A Flavia de Luce Mystery, #1)
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)

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3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  73,470 ratings  ·  10,144 reviews
To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story—of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vani...more
ebook, 298 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Delacorte Press (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Felicia
This book probably deserves 4 stars, but to me, as far as how much I enjoyed it, 5 stars baby!

Having just read Steig Larssen's "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" I hadn't expected to stumble on a heroine as quickly that I'd love as much. But Flavia fits the bill!

This is a historical mystery, set in England in the late 40's/ (51 maybe?) Anyway, Flavia is 11 going on 40. She's a genius, perhaps a mad one, who knows. She is drawn into a wonderful mystery that I don't want to spoil, but her tenacity and...more
Hannah
Aug 16, 2010 Hannah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hannah by: Tatiana G.
Shelves: 2010-reads, mysteries
I really wanted to like this more then I ended up doing. The story started off slowly, then picked up steam with a murder to solve and some interesting backstory on stamps. What hindered my enjoyment of the book, the story and the murder mystery was, unfortunately, the main character and detective: Flavia duLuce.

To say that young Flavia is precocious is an understatement. She has to be one of the most intelligent, well spoken, criminal minds since Sherlock Holmes. Problem is, she's only 11 years...more
Tatiana
Jun 15, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of non-violent mysteries
Flavia de Luce is an 11-year old amateur sleuth, a future chemist and poison enthusiast. She lives with her widowed father and two older sisters at Buckshaw - a decaying English country-side mansion. Flavia's days are occupied with chemical experiments and schemes of spiking her evil older sister Ophelia's lipstick with poison ivy. That is until one fateful day a dead bird with a postage stamp stuck to its beak is found on the doorstep of Buckshaw. Even more, soon after Flavia finds a dead man i...more
David
I absolutely loved Sweetness. The narrator-protagonist is one of the cleverest, liveliest, most entertaining characters I have had the pleasure to meet in many a year. I laughed aloud many times and couldn't wait to get back to reading this gem. Flavia is the 11-year-old daughter of a widower in England in the 50s. She loves science and mystery, despises her haughty clueless sisters, and is plotting to poison them and get away with it. When mysterious crimes happen at the family home, she thrust...more
Trin
A historical mystery, set in England, narrated by a precocious 11-year-old girl. I feel like I should have loved this, but mostly it just bored me. Flavia’s narration, designed to show off how brilliant she is, lacked the necessary wit and charm, and her investigation into a couple of murders and some missing stamps was full of weird leaps of logic and sideways-step conclusions. I never felt involved or like any part of the story was real or mattered.
Kathryn
"There are times, Miss de Luce... when you deserve a brass medal. And there are other times when you deserve to be sent to your room with bread and water." -- Inspector Hewitt to Flavia de Luce: budding sleuth, brilliant chemist, and diabolical eleven-year-old.

After very high hopes, I almost gave up on "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" after about seven chapters, finding little literary sweetness to induce in me a hunger to devour the remaining pages. Yet, the overwhelmingly positive revi...more
Laurie
Ignore the title, please, and go for the essence. Flavia de Luce is an eleven year-old Sherlock Holmes with a predilection for the dark side of rural crime and a hobby of poisons. This will be the first in what promises to be an utterly original and delicious series. Adult preoccupations and values may confront Flavia, but they do not greatly impress her; by the story's end, the reader can only agree.
Nancy
A mystery about a precocious child, whom I would like to like, but suspect that she would not be enjoyable to be around. Flavia, when not tormenting her eldest sister, attempts to solve a murder in 1950 in Great Britain. I wanted to like this book, as much as the title appealed to me, but only finished out of a sense of duty, having bought the book based on the reviews rather than borrowing it. A good lesson, to remind me of the perils of random purchasing.

My quibbles, if anyone is so interested...more
Sparrow
Feb 09, 2010 Sparrow rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sparrow by: tracey coleman and Linda Harrison
Shelves: reviewed
This book is CSI to The Series of Unfortunate Events' McGyver. In my scale, a three-star rating is neutral, and that's a pretty accurate evaluation of how I feel about this story. At the risk of sounding disapproving, I'm going to make a couple of notes about why I didn't love the book. They're not things I really disliked about the book, though, just to be clear. I'm also really terrible about reading mystery stories, so, I’m disqualifying myself from evaluation. These are my general reactions,...more
Nadia
Finally! I'm done! The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie has been read and crossed off of my TBR list. And now I must ask you not to hate me, because truthfully, though I did enjoy aspects of the book, I did not love it. I found it to be rather predictable, long-winded and slightly dull at times. There were moments when I had to put the book down or just rush ahead in order to avoid a passage that went on about something or other that just didn't hold my interest. I can understand why this book...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 19, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who enjoy quirky and unusual mysteries
Delightful!

I loved this quirky book.

The amateur sleuth and chemistry enthusiast Flavia de Luce is a very unusual 11 year old, but I’ve known many 11 year olds unusual in their own ways, so Flavia worked for me just fine. She’s completely over the top, yet somehow believable, at least within the narrative. She’s a fabulous character and a brilliant creation.

I smiled several times on almost every page, especially in the first part of the book. As with many mysteries, there was some quite scary (f...more
Misty
Flavia de Luce is not your average eleven year old. She lives in a decaying mansion. She has a passion for chemistry, especially poisons. And when she finds a man dying in her cucumber patch, it doesn't occur to her to be worried or scared. Instead, Flavia senses something delicious may come of it: adventure.
Thus Flavia sets out to find out just who the man is, and how he came to be dying in her cucumber patch. But what starts off as a fun, mysterious way to spend the summer of 1950 turns into s...more
Heather (DeathByBook)
This is a new favorite! I read it in two sittings and am ready to start agiain. Flavia de Luce is one of my top new detectives. I only wish I could have her over for tea to discuss the difficulty of living with older sisters and perhaps, poisons. I'm sure it has been said by many and I agree, that this book is an absolute delight.
Brenda
Clever plot, unusual subject (stamp collecting), interesting setting and time, and amusing characters flesh out this funny little mystery. Flavia is a smart and snarky little detective whose passion is poison. I look forward to more Flavia.
Robert
If I were an eleven-year-old girl, I’d like to think I might resemble Flavia de Luce. Precocious, ubiquitous, and intelligent, she’s filled with energy and life, refers to her sisters as Feely and Daffy, and has an unbounding curiosity about the world around her, even though there’s always the chance she could blow up Bishop’s Lacey with her latest science experiment. Not knowing what trouble she might find herself in next kicked my curiosity into overdrive. Her voice kept me finely tuned into h...more
Meagan
I'm not usually one for mysteries because they're so much about the plot and not so much about the character, so it takes a good one to keep me interested.

Unfortunatley, this one did not. I found it terribly dry and borderline nodded off at several points. I guess I was hoping for more of a 'Mysterious case of the dog in the nighttime'. Instead it just seemed to almost trudge along at an alarmingly tottering pace.

I did find the main character, Flavia, fairly charming and I think if she were wri...more
Tea Jovanović
Prva knjiga iz serijala od šest romana o devojčici Flaviji i njenim čudnim interesovanjima i dogodovštinama... Nažalost, publika je kod nas nije prihvatila, a ni izdavač se nije adekvatno potrudio da je predstavi čitaocima... Knjiga u kojoj uživaju i tinejdžeri i odrasli širom sveta... Autor je rado viđen gost po sajmovima knjiga u svetu... Ne skida se s bestseler lista... Must read za mlade i one koji vole dobru knjigu... Veoma je zabavna! :)
Lisa Kay
Three-speed BSA Keep Fit
description
★★★★★ This is a review of the audiobook. Jayne Entwistle does a perfect eleven-year-old Flavia in this audiobook – in tone, intellect, and mischievousness! I know I enjoyed it twice as much than if I’d only read Alan Bradley delightful book. What fun! This first in the Flavia de Luce Mystery series is a jewel.

I loved being transported back to the 1950s and joining Flavia as she took her bicycle*, Gladys, on her investigation round her charming English village of Bishop’s...more
Kasia S.
I cant' believe this is the author's first work, in short it's really amazing, I mean a gloriously adorable kaleidoscope of words and textures and emotions, pure bliss to read! Set in 1950's England, the mystery has a rustic feel to it but is very easy to read and enjoy. It's not often that the protagonist is an eleven year old little girl, who's as feisty and cunning as it gets. Flava de Luce has a love affair with chemistry. Glass flasks and potions are more fun than hanging out and doing kid...more
Annalisa
Jul 05, 2009 Annalisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annalisa by: Leslie
It took me such a long to time to get this book, to understand what the author was writing about, that I found myself not excited (although not exactly reluctant) to keep reading. A mystery should have a fairly easy job of keeping the suspense going, but Bradley doesn't really pull you in for a long time. It was not until halfway through the book that I was finally interested in the story. I heard it's the author's job to teach you how to read his or her book. That's what this book is lacking: a...more
Lightreads
You’d really think a book about an eleven-year-old smart-mouth named flavia de Luce who lives on an old English estate in 1950, loves chemistry and poisons, and solves crime would be inherently awesome. Unfortunately, no book is inherently awesome. Why do I have to keep learning this over and over again?

This one is just . . . lacking . . . something. I mean, Flavia’s great – she’s the sort of crazy who, at eleven, plans to write a magnum opus on poisons and note, under cyanide, that it is “parti...more
Margaret
Boy, I really wanted to like this book more - it has such promise! A brainy 11 year old sleuth(ess) who's into poisons and chemistry, plus the book starts out with her escaping from being tied up and thrown into a closet of her huge, stately English house - all very promising. I thought at first I was getting a 1950's British "Wednesday" (Addams). But things don't turn out that way. Flavia de Luce, the precocious main character (the book is told first person), just didn't ring consistently true...more
Carrie
LOVED this story. I thought I had the mystery figured out about three different times, and I was wrong! I love being surprised at the end and loving every minute of it.
Jacqueline Carey
This is not a book you read for the compelling mystery at its center. Oh, there's a mystery, and I guess it's perfectly adequate. This is a book you read for the awesome and hilarious narrative voice of its 11-year-old protagonist, precocious poisoner Flavia de Luce. Flavia is a character I'd gladly pass a few hours with any day of the week.
Carol
Flavia de Luce tells her story which opens with her having been gagged and locked inside a dark closet by her sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. Daphne is thirteen and Ophelia is seventeen and Flavia is only eleven. Flavia is a fascinating character. She spends hours in her chem. lab on the top floor of the east wing of the family mansion, Buckshaw. Flavia specializes in poisonous chemical combinations. She taught herself the considerable chemistry knowledge she has by starting with Intro. to Chemist...more
Sue
Fun read. Enjoyable mystery romp in early 1950s Britain with 11 year old Flavia de Luce, a bit of a chemistry genius (it's in the deLuce genes apparently as is quirky behavior). I liked her blend of childishness with absurd degree of knowledge.

She still reminds me of Pendergast from the Preston and Child novels, or what Pendergast must have been like in that mansion in New Orleans where he grew up.

Rating ... probably 3.5. Not quite a 4 for some inconsistencies, but well done. And I will read mo...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

This delight is a debut mystery! A debut mystery, if you please, and a Crime Writers of America Dagger Award winner, and written by a Saskatooni writer, and just flat funny.

Whatever they do to the water in Saskatoon, they should do it to some Murrikin cities that're famous for nothing (eg, Dubuque or Terre Haute) so's they can make their mark on the cultural landscape. Bradley and Bidulka haling from the same city...what up with that?!

Flavia de Luce is an eleven-year-old chem...more
Michael
Full review on my blog.
This is a pleasing little murder mystery by Alan Bradbury set in rural England during the early 1950s. You've got to love Flavia de Luce. She is something akin to an 11 year old female Sherlock Holmes before he honed his deductive skills. She's brilliant but still too full of her own cleverness to spot enough of her mistakes early enough to stay out of trouble. Her head is also full of a riot of information, jostling for attention so much that the important clues sometimes...more
Kinga
Right in the beginning I have to confess: I bow with pleasure to the steady critical success of this book. It is a fine quality and totally enjoyable summer (beach) reading, no doubt.

At first glance it is a traditional whodunnit with a twist: an exceptionally bright (and exceptionally wordy) 11-year-old girl is our tour guide, or the detective if you like. The story moves around some famous and very valuable stamps, stamp collecting, respectful and shady stamp collectors and so forth. Let's leav...more
Nikki
Third book of the readathon! Is it really only my third? Normally I do better than this.

Anyway. In one way, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is wholly successful. It's fun, absurd, sometimes actually funny, and endearing. The idea of a child sleuth like Flavia de Luce is perfect, and her clever untangling of the crime as well. I quite liked her interactions with the adults around her, too, particularly Inspector Hewitt.

On the other, the nostalgia for the post-war, public school England tha...more
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1074866
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

With an education in electronic engineering, Alan worked at numerous radio and television stations in Ontario, and at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, before becoming Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where
...more
More about Alan Bradley...
The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia de Luce, #2) A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce, #3) I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia De Luce, #4) Speaking from Among the Bones (Flavia de Luce, #5 ) The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce, #6)

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