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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A…

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (edition 2010)

by Alan Bradley

Series: Flavia de Luce (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,4406411,109 (3.82)1 / 938
Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.
Title:The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery
Authors:Alan Bradley
Info:Bantam (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading

Work Information

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

  1. 193
    Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (lorin77)
  2. 122
    The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King (clif_hiker, 47degreesnorth)
  3. 188
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (nysmith)
  4. 111
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (foggidawn)
  5. 101
    The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (chinquapin)
  6. 93
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (inbedwithbooks)
    inbedwithbooks: Deze twee boeken vertonen veel gelijkenis, door de hoofdpersonages, nl.jonge rijke betweterige meisjes.
  7. 71
    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.
  8. 71
    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)
  9. 115
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (lauranav)
    lauranav: Both show relationships and point of view of a young girl.
  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
    Premeditated Myrtle by Elizabeth C. Bunce (soelo)
  13. 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.
  14. 43
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (dara85)
  15. 10
    The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (47degreesnorth)
  16. 00
    A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor (starfishian)

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» See also 938 mentions

English (629)  Spanish (4)  German (4)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (643)
Showing 1-5 of 629 (next | show all)
I really liked Flavia and would like to see more of her, but I thought the plot dragged at times, especially when filling in the backstory of her father and his school days. I'd also like to learn more about Dogger! ( )
  mportley | May 10, 2023 |
Cheeky 11 year old British girl chemist solves intricate mysteries through clever deduction and serendipitous clues.
The audio book reader was engaging, slipping smoothly between Flavia's girl character and chemist savant. The audio book reader deserves a 4/5. ( )
  drmom62 | Apr 21, 2023 |
I really enjoyed the first in the Flavia de Luce novels. It was interesting to read the authors afterward which describes Flavia as precocious and perhaps that was what I was feeling whilst reading. She is 11 but comes across as significantly older in my opinion. I look forward to continuing with this series. ( )
  LisaBergin | Apr 12, 2023 |
I am so excited to have discovered another great mystery series! What made this book stand out to me was the main character, Flavia. She is a smart, confident, 11 year old girl. When asked about the choice to have Flavia be the main character Alan Bradley responded,"I think the reason she manifested herself as a young girl is that I realized that it would really be a lot of fun to have somebody who was virtually invisible in a village. And, of course, we don't listen to what children say--they're always asking questions, and nobody pays the slightest attention or thinks for a minute that children are going to do anything with the information that adults let slip."

I think Bradley made the right decision as Flavia's character really adds a lot of humor to a story about murder. It makes for a perfect cozy mystery comfort read. Now I will say that although the main character is a child there are still horrific events in the series that is not suitable for children.

Along with the novelty of a unique sleuth there is also a strong pull of nostalgia to these books. Now while I have never lived through the 1950's it did reminded me of my own pre-internet childhood. Flavia travels through her town on a bicycle and goes to the library to do research, and fights with her older sister. All things that my 11 year old self can easily connect with. ( )
  kaylacurrently | Mar 5, 2023 |
I liked this book much more than I thought I would at the beginning. I am so glad that I stayed with it. At first I thought it would be about a dysfunctional family seen through the eyes of a bratty 11-year-old. But it's not really like that. True, the family has some issues, and I'm curious to see how they might be resolved or developed in future books. But Flavia as a narrator really grows on you. Her humor is wickedly funny sometimes, and she is a real original.
This is a clean, pleasant read, pretty well suitable for anyone who reads murder mysteries.
For some bizarre reason, a couple of local libraries have this shelved with juvenile fiction. I don't think it is. True, it may be about an 11-year-old, and a young person may well be able to read it and enjoy it, but I don't think it should be categorized as a children's mystery. That would keep some people away. It's really a worthwhile read, with a number of satisfying literary and historical references. It's set in England of 1950, so a tiny bit of knowledge about British history at that time helps. Loved the plot line about stamps. It's one of the things that made this book intellectually fun.
Looking forward to more in the series! ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 629 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bradley, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bond, JillyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bronswijk, Ineke vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Entwistle, JayneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, EmiliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montgomery, JoeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paavilainen, MaijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polak, JędrzejTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandbjerg, KristineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stålmarck, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Bronswijk, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,
who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?

The Art of Cookery (1708), William King
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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Wikipedia in English (2)

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.

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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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