May 15, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley

The single element which adds such charm to Alan Bradley’s mystery novel, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, is its eleven year old narrator, Flavia de Luce. Armed with determination and a natural ability to sleuth she attempts to solve the book’s central mystery--a body she happened onto in her family’s garden. With a spirited original voice, “I shivered with joy whenever I thought of the autumn day that Chemistry had fallen into my life,” she trails clues involving stamp collecting, magical illusions, and her passion, poison.

Unlike some mystery novels it gives us substantial hints throughout the story, and so provides a nicely solvable mystery by the story’s conclusion. SWEETNESS is a mystery with some literary heft but still manages not to take itself too seriously. Flavia’s account of the events is over the top funny, and the book is a good choice for younger readers too. I am definitely picking up the next book in the series, and crossing my fingers in hope that the novelty of a precocious crime solver doesn’t wear off. In my estimation, Flavia de Luce may emerge as our generation’s Nancy Drew.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished this one and I simply adored it. Can't wait for more from Flavia!!


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