Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by…

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

by Alan Bradley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,180522862 (3.85)1 / 816
Title:The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Authors:Alan Bradley
Info:Doubleday Canada (2009), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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. 111
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (foggidawn)
  3. 112
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
  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. 94
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (lauranav)
    lauranav: Both show relationships and point of view of a young girl.
  7. 50
    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)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (520)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (532)
Showing 1-5 of 520 (next | show all)
I read Sweetness as a group read, it definitely isn't a book that I would pick up on my own accord.

Flavia is an 11 year old chemist and poison master who becomes an amateur sleuth when a dead bird with a stamp skewered on it's beak shows up on their doorstep. I can't decide how much I believe her, 11 seems young to be an expert chemist and to be cycling back and forth between the estate she lives on and the nearby village(s). I have seen 11-year old geniuses on Jeopardy's Kids week and I suppose the villages of 1950s England would have been safer than the streets today (not with a murderer on the loose, though!), but I think giving her a year or two would have made her just a bit more plausible.

I did enjoy her narration, however. She was quirky, energetic, and very amusing. She somewhat reminded me of Dr. House (from the TV show) in the way that a seemingly unrelated something would give her the idea that would solve the mystery.

When it comes to mysteries (which I don't read often) I much prefer the high-paced mystery/thriller. Sweetness was definitely not high-paced, the clues were spread out between slower-paced scenes. I think there was a bit of unnecessary stuffing and the book could have been shortened just a tad to help with the pacing.

All in all, a fun young character and a decent read, but nothing overly special. ( )
  vnorthw | Apr 15, 2016 |
Jayne Entwistle
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
Whoa lots of impressive vocabulary words for an 11-year-old narrator -- and I loved it! Flavia de Luce is a precocious investigator and budding chemist who puts me to shame with her self-assuredness and tenacity. I liked her a lot, even though I didn't feel an immediate kinship with her (for instance, like I did with Anne of Green Gables). Still, she's a spunky little heroine and it was impossible not to root for her. AND, try as I might, I didn't manage to figure out the mystery before she did -- she was a step ahead of me all the way! ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Flavia de Luce is an eleven year old who spends her days rattling about her big old house, tormenting her older sisters, and engaging in arcane chemical experiments. Then she discovers a dead body in the cucumber garden, and her boundless curiosity embroils her in a murder mystery decades in the making.

Flavia is a wonderfully unique character, precocious, brave, and alternately cruel and sweet in the way that young children are. The mystery itself is a little tangled: I'm not sure that all the attention to the custard pie and snipe pie were necessary, although I suppose it was meant as a red herring, and the whole deal with making Bonepenny a diabetic felt like one complication too many. On the other hand, I loved that Jacko's old resurrection magic trick helped explain Twinning's death, and I thought the way Flavia puzzled out the true meaning of the witnesses saying that Twinning looked like a saint right before he jumped was very clever indeed.

I loved the complicated, repressed, and strange de Luce family, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series for more of them. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old chemistry whiz who finds a dead body in the garden outside her home. She sets out on an adventure to solve the mystery before the police do. Her family lives in a huge ancestral home in a small British village. They are really incidental to the story in this book, but they allow her the freedom for her curious mind to search and find answers. I enjoyed this book, but am not sure whether I'll read any more in the series. ( )
  MelAnnC | Feb 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 520 (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 (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonardo, CatherineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

--William King, The Art of Cookery (1708)
For Shirley
First words
It was as black in the closet as old blood.
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.
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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...?

Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

» see all 12 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
7 avail.
404 wanted
5 pay11 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.85)
0.5 1
1 28
1.5 3
2 82
2.5 34
3 412
3.5 209
4 825
4.5 140
5 441


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,249,763 books! | Top bar: Always visible