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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (edition 2009)

by Alan Bradley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,272530838 (3.86)1 / 818
Member:chrisjonesio
Title:The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Authors:Alan Bradley
Info:Doubleday Canada (2009), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:hardcover, mystery

Work details

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

  1. 143
    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (lorin77)
  2. 122
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
  3. 111
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (foggidawn)
  4. 81
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (chinquapin)
  5. 158
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (nysmith)
  6. 104
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (lauranav)
    lauranav: Both show relationships and point of view of a young girl.
  7. 61
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though Sweetness is more of a traditional mystery, it shares with Where'd You Go, Bernadette an endearing, precocious, and entertaining young narrator who pieces together clues from the adult world to solve a mystery. Character interactions are delightfully, humorously depicted.… (more)
  8. 73
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (inbedwithbooks)
    inbedwithbooks: Deze twee boeken vertonen veel gelijkenis, door de hoofdpersonages, nl.jonge rijke betweterige meisjes.
  9. 51
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (citygirl)
    citygirl: Castle is much darker and Flavia is more adorable than creepy (Merricat is quite creepy), but if you're interested in unusual young protagonists, with a very particular world view, try these.
  10. 51
    The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen (raizel)
    raizel: Both stories about brilliant and quirky children were recommended at the same time by my daughter. T.S. Spivet is the more real character and the book is beautifully written. Yes, T.S. Spivet is a boy, but I'm not sexist enough to let that bother me.
  11. 30
    The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (LongDogMom)
    LongDogMom: Flavia de Luce has a similar voice as Enola and both are young, precocious and underestimated detectives.
  12. 20
    Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes (y2pk)
    y2pk: Pre-teen girl investigating adult crimes, while putting up with her sometimes-strange family and home life. Emma Graham also appears in two other books, Cold Flat Junction and Belle Ruin. They should be read in order.
  13. 10
    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (47degreesnorth)
  14. 33
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (dara85)
  15. 00
    A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor (starfishian)
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English (529)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (541)
Showing 1-5 of 529 (next | show all)
I think this is a nice find for a mystery series. It moves quickly enough with no repetition. While the denouement isn't surprising, it wasn't a given, either. Though I'm not sure how I will like reading more of this prodigious sleuth, I'm willing to read two more before final judgment.

I'm also a bit conflicted about a male author writing about three sisters. Did he merely put a dress on a boy? Did he grow up with pesky sisters? ( )
  kaulsu | Jul 3, 2016 |
A friend lent me this book along with others in the series. What a delight!

Flavia de Luce is great! Intelligent, precocious, curious and not afraid of much. When she finds a dying man in the cucumber patch and he says his last word to her, "Vale," she is off on the hunt to solve who he is, why he was killed and why on their property.

Flavia lives at the ancestral Buckshaw property. It is large and comes complete with the meandering mansion, where she has an incredible chemistry lab in an upper floor of one of the wings. Here she conducts numerous chemistry experiments and has become quite knowledgeable in poisons. Being only 11 years old, this is quite unusual, but not for a girl like Flavia.

With an analytical mind, Flavia approaches solving the murder with her curiosity being stronger than her fear of murder. She needs to connect the strange clues to even get a direction to go in to find the solution. A dead bird on the doorstep; a bird that isn't even native to England, no less. A postage stamp stuck on its beak. The dead man in the cucumber patch, a conversation overheard between her father and the dead man. A missing piece of Mrs. Mullet's custard pie. The strange behaviour of Miss Mountjoy, the old librarian. What is the common thread to all this.

Flavia, with her curiosity and determination, sets out to unravel the deception that covers the real story behind all.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series! ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
This was a awesome summer read. Quick (much like this review), but held my attention throughout.

I give it two thumbs up! ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
This is a delightful mystery, with an unlikely sleuth--an eleven year old girl, who is bright and and has a mind of her own. She loves chemistry, so her attention to detail and analytical mind are a great advantage in solving a mystery when a dead man is found in her yard. I truly enjoyed the author's characterization of Flavia as well as his storytelling in general. ( )
  rwilliams2911 | Jun 21, 2016 |
A great book by someone who has waited all his life to write it. Set in the bucolic world of 1950's England (in the US, it would be called small town" and Bradley doesn't forget it!), a young heroine with a will of her own is isolated from the rest of her family and finds comfort in her chemistry and her books. The details about stamp collecting are fascinating and of course it makes perfect sense that tweezers and special paper are used. Of course!

Young Flavia is a breath of fresh air in a world full of hardened and caustic private eyes. Her lack of knowledge of how the adult world works makes her have to work a little harder to solve the murder in the garden patch of cucumbers, but her insight into the humans who comprise her family is spot on. At times, it seems that only she and Dogger, the damaged man-servant, are the only humans, with the chief cook and housekeeper a put-upon addition.

Despite a rather gangly start to the story, the moment she begins to talk to her father for probably the longest conversation in her young life is a pivotal moment in the events of the mystery, and provide insight into who this misanthrope truly is. And when you start figuring out that you don't know the ending, it is so much fun to flip the pages to get to the end. I was truly not disappointed." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 529 (next | show all)
It's a rare pleasure to follow Flavia as she investigates her limited but boundless-feeling world. And it's nice to know she'll be back.
 
Impressive as a sleuth and enchanting as a mad scientist (“What a jolly poison could be extracted from the jonquil”), Flavia is most endearing as a little girl who has learned how to amuse herself in a big lonely house.
 

» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonardo, CatherineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paavilainen, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

--William King, The Art of Cookery (1708)
Dedication
For Shirley
First words
It was as black in the closet as old blood.
Quotations
That means King George the Sixth, and King George the Sixth is not a frivolous man. (chapter four)
It is not unknown for fathers with a brace of daughters to reel off their names in order of birth when summoning the youngest, and I had long ago become accustomed to being called "Ophelia Daphne Flavia, damn it." (chapter 16)
It occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. No... eight days a week. (chapter 5)
My particular passion was poison. (chapter 1)
'I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
...
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! In my fashion'

It's from his Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae. Perhaps you know of it? I shook my head. It's very beautiful, I said.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Blurbers
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Book description
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.

In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction — eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950 — and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. 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.

An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told take of deceptions — and a rich literary delight.

-----------------------------

For very-nearly-eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, the discovery of a dead snipe on the doorstep of Buckshaw, the crumbling de Luce country seat, was a marvellous mystery — especially since this particular snipe had a rather rare stamp neatly impaled on its beak. Even more astonishing was the effect of the dead bird on her stamp-collector father, who appeared to be genuinely frightened. Soon Flavia discovers something even more shocking in the cucumber patch and it's clear that the snipe was a bird of very ill omen indeed.

As the police descend on Buckshaw, Flavia decides it is up to her to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle. Who was the man she heard her father arguing with? What was the snipe doing in England at all? Who or what is the Ulster Avenger? And, most peculiar of all, who took a slice of Mrs Mullet's unspeakable custard pie that had been cooling by the window...?

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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. For Flavia, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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