The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Written in the style of a classic “whodunit” mystery, “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” is narrated by heroine/chemist/amateur sleuth, Flavia de Luce.

“Sweetness…,” book one of a 6-part series by Alan Bradley, set in the 1950’s English countryside, lays down the foundation for the quirky set of characters of the novel who, most likely will leave their unique mark in literature.

Flavia de Luce, the unlikely heroine of “Sweetness…”, is faced with a seemingly insurmountable task when, one morning, on her doorstep, she finds a dead bird with a postage stamp stuck on its beak, and the next day, she finds the body of a dead stranger in her garden. Through methods most people would deem unethical or downright strange, Flavia tries to solve the mystery that threatens her family and not-so-peaceful domestic life.

Flavia’s character is the most interesting thing in this book – somewhat of a mad genius obsessed with chemistry and poisons. Bold, curious, brilliant, outspoken and unexpected, Flavia’s narration of the events of the novel are both humorous and witty.

Though the “mystery” aspect of the book was not as intriguing as I had hoped, it is Flavia’s personality and character that really made this book for me. She is one of the more interesting characters I’ve encountered in a while – both exasperating and lovable at the same time.

Personal rating: 3/5

“The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.”
Alan Bradley
2009, Bantam Books. 370 pages

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