The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Review)

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pieby Alan Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flavia de Luce is not your average 11 year old. With a knack for chemistry and time at her disposal, the 1950s English countryside never looked so good. Flavia spends her days pouring over chemistry textbooks, jars of chemicals and Bunsen burners while conducting her own experiments on her less-than-loving older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. Their father, Colonel de Luce, is a philatelist and spends most of his time away from his children in his study pouring over his stamp collection. Harriet, their mother, disappeared when Flavia was an infant and has been presumed dead. But things do not remain sleepy in the small village of Bishop’s Lacey and Flavia is given a small glimpse into her reserved father’s past when a mysterious message, a dead jack snipe with a rare stamp on its beak, is found on the porch.

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.

The dead jack snipe isn’t the worst of Flavia’s troubles. The body of a stranger is discovered in the family’s cucumber patch and Colonel de Luce is accused of murder. All of Colonel de Luce’s personality quirks and mysterious ways are held against him by the police as evidence that he is the culprit. Flavia takes to her bicycle to begin her own investigation to determine who this man is, why her father is the prime suspect and who the real killer is. Gathering clues and researching her father’s past at the library, Flavia begins to piece together the puzzle, always a step or two ahead of Inspector Hewitt.

I had learned that a lie wrapped in detail, like a horse pill in an apple, went down with greater ease.

Intelligent beyond her years and persistent, Flavia discovers the answers to all of her questions. At times, the story is a little unbelievable. Flavia manages to complete the task of a seasoned investigator with ease, but isn’t that the great thing about fiction? A murder mystery for all ages, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie has everyone guessing “Whodunnit?” and falling in love with a quirky Flavia along the way.

Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie, who cares for all the crinkling of the pie

View all my reviews

I enjoyed this book overall. There were some moments that I found completely unrealistic, like how Flavia had such a knack for chemistry, but that ended up adding to what made me like Flavia.

Reading this made me think of reading murder mysteries when I was younger (I was slightly obsessed to be honest) and while I figured out who the culprit was,  I still enjoyed the ride.

Would I have picked up this book had it not been a book club pick, probably at some point, yes. Will I continue the Flavia de Luce series, I think so. I am in no rush to finish it and I think it is going to be one of those series that time can come between books without interfering with the story, but I hate to leave an unfinished series.

So until we meet again Flavia de Luce, I enjoyed reading about you experimenting on you sisters and discovering more about your father.


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