Tatiana'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
Mar 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, mysteries-thrillers-horror
Recommended for: fans of non-violent mysteries
Read from April 23 to 26, 2010

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 in the cucumber patch and witnesses his last breath. Flavia is not shocked or upset by the event (after all, she doesn't even know the man). Quite the opposite, she is energized and excited - finally she can apply her genius brain to something useful - to solving a crime!

At the core of the novel is a murder mystery. It is not particularly complicated or mind-blowing, it is rather easy to solve. But the strength of "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" is not in the mystery. It is in the setting, an amusing cast of characters, and mainly - in its narrator. Flavia is a charming heroine with a very distinct "voice" that is a perfectly blended combination of childish innocence and book smarts.

"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" is a delight to read. It is light and has an air of innocence about it. The story is set in 1950 (although it feels like a decade or two earlier at times), the time when 11-year old girls could still ride their bicycles to the nearby villages without the fear of being snatched by some psycho, and it's a relief to read a book without constantly freaking out about a child's safety.

I think this book will appeal to a lot of people who enjoy reading mysteries without gore and excessive violence, those who are looking for a comfort read, an English country-side mystery sprinkled with humor, poisons, and philately.
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Reading Progress

04/23/2010 page 50
13.37% "A very distinct, memorable "voice." Not sure about the rest yet"
04/24/2010 page 102
27.27% "Love Flavia!"
04/25/2010 page 180
48.13% "Flavia is a pistol!"
03/05/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Misty "humor, poisons, and philately."

Tatiana Thank you. Very inoffensive (for a change). I enjoyed it, hope you will too.

message 3: by Bry (new)

Bry Awesome review! This, and the sequel, has been sitting on my shelf for ever now! I need to get to it!

message 4: by AH (new)

AH Good review. It sounds like a good book to read.

message 5: by Merty (last edited Dec 04, 2010 08:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Merty Reading this for bookclub and am loving it! Your review was "spot on"!

Angelina I don't really understand why people like these books....For me the whole story was hard to believe and very unconvincing.... and Flavia as a character was pretty strange to say the least...(less)

Angelina And I do love mysteries without much violence and the English-countryside!

message 8: by Kaye (new) - added it

Kaye This sounds quite fascinating.

message 9: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie Great review, Tatiana. I really want to read this now! :D

Tatiana I hope you like it, Bonnie. Flavia is not everyone's fave, but she is mine. I am about to start book 4 in the series.

message 11: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie I actually went to pick that up the other day and had no idea it was #4! Need to catch up. :)

message 12: by Cyan (new)

Cyan Sounds interesting. Haha, you never fail to make the book sound more interesting then the actual review up top ^. I see your comments on almost every book review I read :D Now i'll just look for your name when readng reviews and read yours instead xD

Tatiana Cyan wrote: "Sounds interesting. Haha, you never fail to make the book sound more interesting then the actual review up top ^. I see your comments on almost every book review I read :D Now i'll just look for yo..."

Thank you. Glad my reviews are of use to someone:)

Karissa Glad to see I wasn't the only one who thought it took place a couple decades earlier at times.

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