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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by…

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

by Alan Bradley

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5,205525858 (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)
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    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
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    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (foggidawn)
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    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 (522)  German (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (534)
Showing 1-5 of 522 (next | show all)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley
4 stars
Miss Marple, move over! Flavia de Luce is on the case and she brings a unique, wickedly funny voice to the English cottage mystery. The mystery is very entertaining. It combines long buried secrets with rare stamps and amateur magic. But it’s Flavia’s vibrant personality and precocious intelligence that makes the story.
It might seem that Flavia is an unlikely, exaggerated character, but I found her to be mostly believable. A highly gifted 11- year-old, left mostly to herself can be a dangerous thing; dangerous to others and a danger to herself. I was afraid for Flavia and I wanted to sic the authorities on her father for his neglect of her. This however is what makes the story possible. Flavia on her own is a formidable opponent against older sisters as well as criminals. I’m so looking forward to the next book.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
I didn't like this at first. Then I warmed up to it. Upon finishing it, I can only give it 3 stars.

It was enjoyable enough that I could finish it: it moved quickly; it was entangled enough that it kept you intrigued.

But there were some drawbacks, mainly the narrator, Flavia de Luce. I've read a few other books with precocious 11 year olds getting themselves into trouble, and I'm not opposed to that idea at all. But the reader can always see the limits of their inexperience that eventually are revealed to the narrator as well. Not Flavia - she's right about everything, one way or the other. If the author had found a couple ways to make her more her age, I think that could have tempered my feelings about her. Instead, I'm left to feel bad for her big sisters for having to put up with such a brat.

And I'm not sure we ever found out how exactly her mother died. That entire dynamic - these three girls growing up with a distant father in a crumbling mansion - was all but ignored, and I for one wish it hadn't been. I was left more worried about if they would lose their home than anything else at the end of this story.

Flavia can be enjoyable. I like that she's intelligent, curious, confident, and never a victim. I like that she's brave, level-headed, and fearless.

But too much rang false - or too fantastic - for me to completely buy into this. If another Flavia de Luce story made its way into my hands, I'd read it. But I don't see myself seeking them out. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
I thought the story was very creative and the main character engaging. I listened to the mp3 version, and enjoyed the reader. ( )
  khaddox | May 8, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 522 (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
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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.)
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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)

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