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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

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4,813484961 (3.86)1 / 800
English (479)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (490)
Showing 1-25 of 479 (next | show all)
This is the first book of the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. Flavia is a whiz kid who is into all-things chemistry. She lives with her father and two older sisters; her mother passed away when she was a baby. Flavia sets out to solve the mystery behind a stranger's death in order to prove her father's innocence. It took me a while to get into the story, almost halfway through the book. Also, I don't know what to make of Flavia, she is smart, but in a creepy kind of way. Her relationship with her Father and siblings is strange too, I mean she put poison ivy in her sister's lipstick in order to get back at her. Weird. It's cleverly-written though. ( )
  VavaViolet | Aug 31, 2015 |
I had a bit of mixed feelings about this book. I actually thought Flavia was a bit of a sociopath at the beginning because why else would she put poison ivy in her sister's lipstick? I mean, normal people just punch their sisters if they're upset with them. Not meticulously plan revenge masked as a science experiment.

This was a quick read, and I did end up liking it. I thought the overall mystery plot was rather clever, and Flavia did grow on me, but I still think she has sociopathic tendencies. I will probably read the second book at some point because I already own it but doubt I'll make a point to continue the series after, unless the second book wows me. ( )
  wisemetis | Aug 28, 2015 |
It took a little while for this one to grab me, though I'm not sure why, since it has all the hallmarks I enjoy. It's a mystery, and I seem to be on a bit of a mystery jag these days. It's also the first in a series, which for whatever reason I didn't realize until after I'd started reading it. And the heroine, Flavia de Luce, is a precocious little girl with a penchant for chemistry and mystery, and two impossible older sisters. Partway in, the flow of the story, a murder mystery involving the body of a stranger in the garden patch, got me more interested, and I found it quite enjoyable from then on. There is much cleverness and intellect here, and at times I forgot that Flavia is but eleven years old. Whether that is a good or a bad thing remains to be seen. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
Listened to this on audio was hilarious. Loved the reader (Jayne Entwistle) as she reminded me of Audrey Hepburn. What a treat of a story, on to the next! ( )
  untitled841 | Aug 20, 2015 |
Flavia de Luce is a genius living with 2 sisters, who she does not get along with in the least, her father who does not like to leave the house, a cook who is not a very good one according to Flavia and her father's valet/chauffeur/gardner etc. Flavia is a genius in the area of chemistry and is often experimenting on her sisters. There is a murder at their house and her father is arrested for the crime. Can Flavia solve the murder and free her father. A fun read. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Aug 18, 2015 |
I was not as impressed with this book as many critics seemed to be. The 11-year old protagonist seemed just a bit unrealistic with her knowledge of chemistry and her ability to get around the English countryside on her bicycle. I did find the setting interesting, though. I am not sure that I have ever read a book set in the English countryside in the early 1950's. The descriptions of post-World War II England were interesting. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
A fun read! Young Flavia tracks down a murderer while learning the history of two rare stamps. ( )
  addunn3 | Aug 3, 2015 |
A cozy mystery like so many cozy mysteries - set in 1950's England, in a small village, with a body in the garden of a crumbling big old house called Buckshaw. And yet, it is unlike any other cozy mystery that I've read. The amateur sleuth is Flavia de Luce, a wickedly smart 11 year old with a love of chemistry. Flavia is not frightened by the murder, but instead takes it upon herself as a challenge to solve the crime. The story is told by Flavia, and in true cozy mystery style, you know that everything will work out ok. There are a few situations where it is a bit unbelievable that an 11 year old would be able to come up with some of the things she says, but the fact that she loves to read makes it almost believable to me. I have a granddaughter who might be a pretty good match for her. :)

While Flavia is smart, she is also a child in so many ways. She has that innocence that existed in 1950. She fights with her sisters, and believes them when they tell her that she is the unloved one in the family. Her mother is dead and her father lives in his own world.

May 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
I wanted to like this...cute story, cute protagonist, but it seemed to drag on, I couldn't wait to finish. I couldn't help but think that I would probably like this if I were 11 or 12. ( )
  kteeley | Jul 25, 2015 |
This book is about an eleven year old girl who loves chemistry and solving mysteries. She is VERY precocious and has a great sense of humor. Although I loved the book, it is very hard to believe that a girl of eleven would have her abilities. The other characters are amazed as well.
I did enjoy reading this book and will continue with the next; sometimes I have to just let go and believe! ( )
  jenngv | Jun 25, 2015 |
My co-worker Marie suggested this series. After the first 2 pages I was hooked. Big time. It is an incredibly well written story about a young girl in England a decade or so after the second world war. It is a mystery book and I am not really into mysteries but there is so much more to this story. The heroine is amazing, just like I would have liked to be as a kid. If I had been that smart! ( )
  okramsey | May 21, 2015 |
I read this book because it was recommended by my local library. This is a very entertaining mystery that is told by an 11-year-old girl who is interested in chemistry. She tries to solve a murder mystery after a strange man dies in her family's cucumber garden. The story is set in the English countryside shortly after World War II, and it is very enjoyable to follow Flavia as she bicycles around the area with her bicycle named Gladys, searching places for evidence and clues and interviewing interesting characters in her quest to uncover the truth of what happened. The story has the right mix of drama and humor, the descriptions and dialoge are very well written. I listened to this book on audio, and I really liked listening to the narrator. ( )
  AdrienneJS | May 18, 2015 |
To be fair, I only actually read the last bit of this novel. For most of it, I listened to the lovely Jayne Entwistle bring the story to life via audio book. It was brilliant. Her crisp voice read Bradley's words with a lively, clean, sound. And Bradley's words - oh, the simile, the vocabulary, the literary references - delightful. The main character, Flavia, is endearing and enchanting. I should like to have a child like her. He perfectly captured the mind of an eleven-year-old girl. The plot, twisting and twinning, characters full of mystery, the emotional depth all combine to make a nearly perfect novel. I'm hooked - utterly and completely, and I must have more of this marvelous story. ( )
  empress8411 | Apr 30, 2015 |
I read this book while at my sister's house this week. Let me paint you a picture of the chaos I blocked out to get to the end of this terrific story...My sister her husband their 15 month old daughter, my brother his wife their 15 month old son, my father his wife, my stepsister, her boyfriend, his dog and me all in the house for 5 days! Tghis book was so engaging I managed to block out all the noise, the baby cuteness the dog sweetness the visiting relatives to finish in 2 days! ( )
  mlake | Apr 28, 2015 |
Not a book for someone with ADD. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
Very entertaining and a fun read. ( )
  LauraLuzzi | Mar 26, 2015 |
Flavia is an eleven year old chemist with a specialization in poisons. If that one sentence does not make you pick up this book with alacrity than I simply don't understand the fundamentals of entertainment. But if you're still unconvinced, hold on it gets better.

Things take an interesting turn when a dead snipe with a postage stamp on its beak turns up on her family's doorstep. Later that evening a stranger comes to visit her father and to Flavia's astonishment, the two men argue in the night. The next morning, Flavia finds the stranger dead in the garden. Who murdered him? For what possible motive? And how exactly do stamps fit into this? Clearly, Flavia is the only one qualified to uncover this mystery.

I really can't properly express how much I enjoyed this book, so I'll just quit while I'm ahead. ( )
1 vote Juva | Mar 22, 2015 |
Loved it! Every book in this series is a delight. ( )
  akcurrent | Mar 14, 2015 |
An amusing and precocious heroine, an entertaining story. Wondering where they shelve it in the library, with the YA, the mysteries, or the YA for for adults, LOL. Will have to read more. ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 21, 2015 |
A mystery solved by a wonderful, although almost unbelievably brilliant, knowledgeable and wise girl/scientist who is supposed to be only eleven years old(!). That kept bothering me, so I just imagined her a little older, at around fifteen. I suppose the author wanted to exclude the possible implications her age could have in regard to relationships she could have if she were older. At eleven, you are first and foremost a child, as she is repeatedly reminded, at fifteen, you are a whole different person - a young woman, and things could get complicated, I suppose.
I also thought the book has lost its pace during the middle part where father tells Flavia the story as he remembers it from his childhood, but otherwise the book was a delightful and fast paced read, spiked with Flavia's witty comments.

The book also reintroduced me to the two outstanding works of art: Toccata in A Major from Paradisi and Bach's Goldberg Variations, for which I am very grateful. ( )
  flydodofly | Feb 19, 2015 |
This story was a delight. Flavia is clever and independent and very wise - particularly considering she is only 11 years old!
I loved the atmosphere which perfectly evoked the sense of place and time. Flavia's troubled relationships with her sisters and father add a poignant layer to the plot and take it from just a mystery story to a quite complex narrative. It is full of humour and science too - what a wonderful mixture - it really has everything. I am looking forward to the next installment. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Feb 15, 2015 |
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that this book was available at my library translated to Swedish. I really don't have time for library books, but sometimes I have to make an exception.

Flavia de Luce is a wonderful 11-year old girl with a passion for chemistry (nothing we really share, but I love that she loves it) and in this book she has to clear her father from a murder charge. But what have stamps to do with the murder?

I admit I had some trouble getting into the story, but I think it was because I only read a little of the book every day, I much prefer to just devour a book and not just take a chapter or two every day. So yesterday I just thought "what the heck let's finish this off" and then everything with the book felt a lot better.

This is a great book; I recommended this book to anyone that likes a good mystery book.

When I think about; Flavia could actually be the child of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell (See Laurie R. King). She loves chemistry and is an amateur detective...

Also I love the names of the sisters, Flavia, Daphne and Ophelia. It's just splendid!

4 stars

Review also posted on And Now for Something Completely Different and It's a Mad Mad World ( )
  MaraBlaise | Feb 3, 2015 |
Absolutely charming. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Absolutely charming. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
For some particular reasons, I just really, really love this book. Even it's kind of unrealistic at some points, that's didn't annoyed me. It has that kind of dark, witty humour that I love, and Flavia is fun and lovely, I guess.
  birdiesxo | Jan 19, 2015 |
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