Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

   I know I'm probably one of the last people in the world to read this book, but I finally finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and I must say, it is a very charming little mystery novel.  The story takes place at Buckshaw mansion in 1950.  Flavia de Luce is the youngest of 3 sisters, but at only 11 years old, she is by far the smartest of the de Luce sisters.  Flavia has a great affinity for chemistry, and even has her own laboratory in the mansion.  She is most interested in poisons and their different varieties, including recipes and antidotes. When strange things begin to happen at Buckshaw, such as a dead bird mysteriously appearing at their doorstep with a stamp stuck to its beak, and the death of a stranger in the de Luce's back yard, Flavia uses her knowledge of science and chemistry to solve these mysteries.

   Flavia is one of the best new literary characters that I have encountered.  She is both a curious child, and a wise, unbelievably intelligent scientist.  But this dynamic makes the book appealing to a wide range of readers.  I've even seen this book included on a few summer reading lists for middle school and high school students this year.  Lucky for us, Alan Bradley has written 2 other follow up novels starring Miss Flavia de Luce.  I look forward to reading both The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag and A Red Herring Without Mustard.  And according to Amazon, the 4th book in the series, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows will be available on November 1 of this year.