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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Flavia de Luce Mystery #1

by Alan Bradley


In 1950, in the village of Bishop's Lady in a once grand mansion named Buckshaw, eleven-year-old aspiring chemist Flavia deLuce lives with her reclusive father, a stamp collector, and her two older sisters. She has inherited a lab from her deceased eccentric uncle. She is obsessed with poisons.

When she discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch she decides to solve the case herself. There is a puzzling clue that appears in the form of a dead bird found on the doorstep with a postage stamp pierced to its beak. There are mysteries in the past to be resolved: the theft of a rare stamp, her father's possible involvement in the suicide death of a school mate... Or was it suicide? Then there is her mother's mysterious, tragic death during a mountain climbing expedition. These are all challenges for the young girl.

This is an entertaining read. It is filled with interesting and in some cases wacky village characters. It is well written and filled with period details. There are unexpected twists and turns which keep the reader on his (or her) toes. There are no explicit sexual situations, no explicit violence. The narrative is filled with humor. We cannot help but love and admire this English Nancy Drew. Will we be seeing more of her in the future?

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie #1  [review]
The Weed That Swings the Hangman's Bag #2  [review]
A Red Herring Without Mustard #3  [review]
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows #4 [review]
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches #6 [review]

The Book

Delacorte Press / Random House
April 28, 2009
Historical mystery - 1950 England

The Reviewer

Barbara Buhrer
Reviewed 2010
© 2010