Stephanie Griffin's Reviews > The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
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's review
Nov 27, 11

Recommended for: everyone.
Read from November 17 to 27, 2011

SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, written by Alan Bradley, has so far won 9 writing awards. It’s the first book in a series of six starring the precocious Flavia de Luce. It is a mystery set in 1950s Great Britain and focuses on a murder and a rare postage stamp.
After 11-year-old Flavia finds a body in her family’s garden, she uses her knowledge of science and her wits to solve the crime.
The book is written for a general audience but there isn’t anything in it that would prohibit a younger reader from enjoying it. There are lots of science references and I even learned something about British history. I’d never heard of the Black Hole of Calcutta before (look it up!). Those who like science will love the old laboratory that Flavia uses! Bradley’s descriptions are fabulous and one of the best things about this book. The laboratory and the Pit Shed were so realistic I could smell them.
The book is not perfect; there are instances of things being too convenient and one place where Flavia amazingly does something I believe her high intelligence would normally disallow. I enjoyed SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE not just because it was a good story but because Flavia has a dark side which we are made aware of. I also really appreciated her persnickety spunkiness. Her aloneness made me sad, although she is too preoccupied to acknowledge it, but I’d like to think that when she grows older she will find a soulmate. In the meantime, I will continue to read this series!

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