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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

by Alan Bradley

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4,4714521,094 (3.86)725
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English (444)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (455)
Showing 1-25 of 444 (next | show all)
Flavia is a young chemist who is brilliant at solving mysteries. Follow her through this well written mystery of a murder, right in her own garden! Intricate and fun!
  mcorbink | Jul 4, 2014 |
This review may contain spoilers.

I like mysteries but have never really loved them (except for Nancy Drew, but that may have been a right-time, right-circumstances thing). But with Flavia de Luce, I really got sucked into this book. It was well done. I really like the chemistry talk (kinda goes with my interest in forensic crime/police procedural TV shows). At the same time, Flavia just has a lot of gumption. She's smart, and she's almost fearless-- both because she's an invincible youngster but also because of an innate morbid fascination. Any comparison with Wednesday Addams would be apt.

Ah, but what's the story?, you may ask. It starts out... well, let's skip the first little bit so you can enjoy that for yourself. Soon enough, the cook--yes, this is 1950s Britain and classism is an underscored reality-- finds a dead snipe on the doorstep, with a Penny Black stamp impaled on its beak. Her father is clearly unnerved by this when he sees it. Upon recovering himself, he snatches the offending object from the creature.

The dead jack snape will not be the only death on the property. Later that night, after Flavia overhears a heated argument between her father and a red-haired stranger, the same red-haired stranger is found lying in their cucumber patch. Flavia stumbles upon him as he takes his dying whispeedr, "Vale!"

And so starts the mystery that occupies the rest of the book. It is engrossing. And you should read it, to find out, like the best, "who dun it?"
  pegasus.rose.99 | Jun 25, 2014 |
Lovely mystery replete with young sassy smart girl of 11 going on 40 who helps to solve quite a mystery. Exciting! ( )
  hklibrarian | Jun 2, 2014 |
Not my favorite. Too slow moving and lacked a certain amount of believability in the characters. In fact, I don't think I liked any of them at all. ( )
  klarsenmd | May 29, 2014 |
Flavia De Luce is my new favorite "detective" even if she is only 11 years old! ( )
  Chatty_Cathie | May 18, 2014 |
Book 1, in the Flavia de Luce series

This is a delightful old fashioned mystery set in the English countryside in 1950. It features Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old amateur sleuth who pulls herself away from her beloved chemistry lab in order to clear her father in a murder investigation. This debut novel was written in 2009 and was well received by critics, 5 more books were written for adults and have since been published.

Flavia de Luce is a brilliant, bold, adorable and a gem of a character. She comes alive on the page and her voice is so distinctive, a precocious young heroine with extraordinary vocabulary (she certainly has a doozy one) it is hard not to be engaged by this compelling lead detective. Although I was totally absorbed by this tale I do question to whom this book was meant to appeal? When an 11 year old girl is the protagonist you would think a younger audience is the target but when a language has such a deep level and details paint realistic experiences it makes for a tedious read and may be a bit much for the younger minds. Oh! Yes I remember this series is for adults…. Hum…ok.

Flavia is far too mature for her age, putting this aside was my best bet to enjoy this mystery at its fullest. In fact I now say this story is rather captivating, one that moves quickly giving us bits and pieces until we have the final picture. There are a lots of clues covertly hidden waiting for us to discover and this is a fun pleasure. Added to all this mix is a touch of humour. This is an uplifting adventure that was slow to grab me but it finally did as I further read along.

Next “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag” is on my TBR list….I give Mr. Bradley thumbs up for picked such original titles. ( )
  Tigerpaw70 | May 9, 2014 |
Flavia is truly one of a kind. ( )
  zguba | Apr 25, 2014 |
Flavia helps her father who is accused of murdering an old schoolmate. Fun read. ( )
  SparklePonies | Apr 19, 2014 |
"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." This according to the narrator, eleven year old Flavia de Luce regarding finding a dead body in the cucumber patch.

Delightful. The style is quirky and fun, with a real relish for language and the period. I'm going to say this is a three and a half star read. Agh, this rating system is difficult! :) I may change my mind. (this is this month's group read and discussion.) ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
"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." This according to the narrator, eleven year old Flavia de Luce regarding finding a dead body in the cucumber patch.

Delightful. The style is quirky and fun, with a real relish for language and the period. I'm going to say this is a three and a half star read. Agh, this rating system is difficult! :) I may change my mind. (this is this month's group read and discussion.) ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
I was fortunate enough to win this book from one of this sites drawings. I have now managed to find time to read it. The story is told from the perspective of an 11 year old girl set in the 50's. Whilst I'm no expert on the period, it is obvious that the author has done his research and he quickly draws you into her world.

The writing is fast paced and the story is one you don't want to put down. The heroine is like-able even if she is awfully bright for someone so young. I look forward to his other books and thoroughly enjoyed this one. It is the perfect beach book, my only complaint was that it was over too quickly. ( )
  ExpatTX | Mar 31, 2014 |
Fun! ( )
  ewillse | Mar 23, 2014 |
OMG!!! It have taken about 6 months to read this book. A little bit difficult but very interested. I have the other three books of this series. May be some day I can read complieted. ( )
  wankorobo2 | Mar 7, 2014 |
Fun! ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
Fun! ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
Fun! ( )
  PatienceFortitude | Mar 6, 2014 |
What a great book. A solid mystery, wonderfully quaint setting, and completely brilliant little heroine. I adored Flavia. She's so clever and endearing. Definitely will be reading more Flavia de Luce books. ( )
  virginiahomeschooler | Mar 4, 2014 |
amazing beginning to an enchanting Series of murderer mysteries. Flavia as precocious eleven year old detective and self taught chemist and student of poisons kept me laughing. well done! Alan Bradley, I'm. so glad you decided to put your ingenious young heroine onto the page! ( )
  LilyMarlene | Feb 26, 2014 |
I enjoyed this very much. Flavia was a bit like Tiffany Aching of Terry Pratchett's [b:Wee Free Men|34494|The Wee Free Men (Discworld, #30) (Tiffany Aching, #1)|Terry Pratchett|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1284280817s/34494.jpg|62580] and its sequels: prickly, competent, and desirous of knowledge for its own sake. She reminded me a bit, too, of the young Mary Russell in King's [b:The Beekeeper's Apprentice|91661|The Beekeeper's Apprentice (Mary Russell, #1)|Laurie R. King|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1298438298s/91661.jpg|891863], already a match for Sherlock Holmes even at a young age.

Flavia, extraordinarily clever, is the youngest of three daughters of a withdrawn, reclusive father in 1950's Britain. The effect of World War II is everywhere; one of the characters still suffers from PTSD, and others casually refer to air raid sirens, soldiers, and the aftermath of war. Flavia comes across a dying man in the garden one morning, and finds herself caught up in a mystery that stretches back her father's school days. She must rescue herself and her family from a clever criminal, while solving a decades-old murder. ( )
  Turrean | Feb 15, 2014 |
great 11 year old detective, very fun, bright & sparkly ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
The characters, setting, and premise made this book seem promising. Ultimately, though, I didn’t find it as rich an experience as I’d hoped--Flavia’s passion for chemistry seemed somewhat tacked-on, and I found her voice pretty irritating, even though I generally have a pretty high tolerance for precocious youths. (Maybe I should clarify here that this tolerance only extends to fiction.) ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
A really good mystery that rings all the major themes of a novel. Enjoyable for everyone of all ages. A good to introduce youngsters into the world of reading and books. ( )
  charlie68 | Jan 26, 2014 |
Synopsis: Flavia de Luce is a preciouses child with a love of chemistry and a passion for poisons. Hearing an argument between her father and a red-headed man then finding the stranger dead in the garden, she concludes that her father has committed murder. Using her wits and with support of her friend and father's former army subordinate, Flavia sets out to discover the truth behind this murder and one occurring during her father's years in school.
Review: Although it is difficult to believe that an 11 year old could have as much poise and logic a Flavia displays, the mystery is compelling and most of the characters are if not likable at least interesting. This book is a nice lead-in to the rest of the series. ( )
  DrLed | Jan 16, 2014 |
Loved it. Loved. It. LOVED IT. ( )
  capriciousreader | Dec 20, 2013 |
This was fun, I did enjoy it--but I expected to love it, and in the end I rather doubt I'll be seeking out more books in this series--thus only three stars. I'm rather shocked I didn't love it--I'd expect this book to be exactly my cup of tea. A cozy mystery, set in 1950s England, with an old ancestral pile and a nearby village populated with quirky characters that you could just imagine Miss Marple doing her sleuthing in.

The narrator and amateur sleuth here though is no elderly spinster. Flavia de Luce is eleven years old--going on thirty? Not that she doesn't have her moments of being a child. Indeed, much of the time she struck me as a brat and I felt sorry for her sisters or anyone who'd have to deal with her. She's exasperating--and sometimes endearing--and how much you love (or don't love) the book will depend on how much you buy into and love her character and voice. This certainly isn't the kind of mystery that hangs on a clever twist. The villain is really quite predictable--Bradley is no Christie or Tey. And despite the praise this book has received, I wouldn't quite rank this with literature in the way of mysteries by Dorothy Sayers or Umberto Eco. It's well-written, yes--I was never jarred out of the narrative, there's humor here too. But whatever it is that hooks me on an author or series at first outing, this didn't quite have it.

Mind you, Flavia did grow on me through the book. At first I saw only the brat--over the course of the book I saw more of the vulnerable child. Even if in the end she's more worthy of being called "brilliant but scary" than Hermione Granger. Maybe a bit too much of both. She might grow on me in future books--if anyone has read further into the series, I'd love to know if you think the books got better, more compelling or moving. Certainly for a debut book, this is a strong outing. Worth a try--I certainly can understand why others loved it. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Dec 9, 2013 |
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