The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Book - 2009
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Winner of the 2007 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger

A delightfully dark English mystery, featuring precocious young sleuth Flavia de Luce and her eccentric family.

The summer of 1950 hasn't offered up anything out of the ordinary for eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce: bicycle explorations around the village, keeping tabs on her neighbours, relentless battles with her older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and brewing up poisonous concoctions while plotting revenge in their home's abandoned Victorian chemistry lab, which Flavia has claimed for her own.

But then a series of mysterious events gets Flavia's attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath. For Flavia, the summer begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw: " 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."

Did the stranger die of poisoning? There was a piece missing from Mrs. Mullet's custard pie, and none of the de Luces would have dared to eat the awful thing. Or could he have been killed by the family's loyal handyman, Dogger... or by the Colonel himself! At that moment, Flavia commits herself to solving the crime -- even if it means keeping information from the village police, in order to protect her family. But then her father confesses to the crime, for the same reason, and it's up to Flavia to free him of suspicion. Only she has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim's identity, and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luces' murky past.

A thoroughly entertaining romp of a novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is inventive and quick-witted, with tongue-in-cheek humour that transcends the macabre seriousness of its subject.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2009
ISBN: 9780385665827
Branch Call Number: MYS F BRA
Characteristics: 292 p. ; 22 cm

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j
jenniferkuntz
May 03, 2020

Reminiscent of Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, our heroine Flavia is both brilliant and endearing. The narrative is woven with so many details to build both the characters and the mystery. I genuinely thought a mystery involving an old stamp set in England would be musty and boring; instead, it felt like the reader is side by side with young Flavia as she is subjected to the torments of older sisters and the investigations she jumps into. Highly recommend for tweens to adults who enjoy a good detective tale.

c
CORI D. MORRIS
Apr 10, 2020

This series is incredible and makes me smile listening to it, the audiobooks are perfect and completely hilarious. Might be my favorite series of all time.

r
reinelune
Feb 03, 2020

Series recommended by Godsel. This is first featuring 11 yoa Flavia DeLuce. Challenging vocab, not sure if want to finish series.

k
kvanmooresma
Oct 23, 2019

I thoroughly enjoy Flavia. All of the book in this series make me happy.

a
awyss23
Jul 31, 2019

Once I suspended my disbelief about Flavia's age because that was just ridiculous it was a fun mystery.

l
lyndasclater
Jul 28, 2019

Bookclub: Apr/19

PawsFurBooks Jun 20, 2019

Funny story - I've tried reading this book, I think, 3 times before both in audio and print and could never finish it. But now I have finished it! *jazz hands* And it was really enjoyable.

I had been reading a lot of non-fiction that dealt with some heavy topics that were hitting me right in the feels and wanted something that was light but still witty and smart. This fit the bill! Flavia is such a wonderful main character to live through and she makes me wish I liked/was good at chemistry (alas, I am not, nor shall I ever be). For whatever reason, the narrator's voice didn't get on my nerves as it did before and I actually was impressed with it this time around. The narrator does a perfect voice for Flavia. And though this is classified at my library as adult mystery, I think a middle schooler who is of strong mental disposition (interpret as you will) would enjoy this and be appropriate.

k
KarenBeenken
Jun 07, 2019

5 stars!

r
ryner
Jun 05, 2019

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is understandably surprised to discover a dying man late one night in the garden of her family's English estate. When the investigators' suspicions come to rest on her own father as murderer, she resolves to solve the mystery first. Our heroine, a wunderkind in the field of chemistry, is also charmingly plucky and exceedingly entertaining. I'll definitely read further into this series.

b
Brontina66
May 03, 2019

I had heard about this book and had to wait a little before I could check it out, but it was definitely worth it. Flavia de Luce is an adorable character (well, her sisters would not agree, but still): she is (occasionally) compassionate, very smart, an expert chemist, curious and brave. Did I mention she is also a would-be poisoner? I don't think there are many 11-year-old sleuth in literature, but if there are, they cannot hold a candle to Flavia! The story is very original and rather complex. You need a background in the history of Victorian stamps, but the author, Alan Bradley, provides it in a relaxing and interesting way, so that you learn while enjoying yourself, and those are the best kind of books, if you ask me! There are also some serious themes, such as the war or the loss of a parent, and you feel that they are part of the world where Flavia lives and she knows how to deal with them. Well, I cannot wait to read the other adventures of my new favorite detective. I have actually already got the second novel on my Kindle!

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Age Suitability

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c
CORI D. MORRIS
Apr 10, 2020

CORI D. MORRIS thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

mlabreche11 May 28, 2013

mlabreche11 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

cino1 May 03, 2011

cino1 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

h
hil_elrick
Dec 21, 2010

hil_elrick thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Amie Jun 10, 2009

Amie thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Summary

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e
estherpatricia
Aug 20, 2015

Like murder mysteries? Can you compete with an amateur chemistry student who is 11 years old? Funny, unexpected murder mystery with a likeable, young heroine! Watch out - her specialty is poisons!

m
maggielo
Aug 19, 2015

mystery fiction, yng girl interested in chemistry, mystery of father's trial

l
ladnerlass
Apr 30, 2011

11 yr old Flavia de Luce murder mystery. 1st in a series

a
ampie
Jul 28, 2010

Flavia de Luce is an 11 yr. old chemistry whiz. She has two older sisters with whom she is at odds. Her father, a philatelist, is distant and unavailable and she is largely parented by the housekeeper and the gardener. She helps solve the murder of one of her father's school friends who is found dead in the garden.

black_cat Jul 05, 2010

An adult book but can be read by advanced younger readers. Main character is a young, strong female who finds herself in danger while investigating a mystery that arrived at her doorstep.

Quotes

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Geraldine9
May 24, 2018

"As I stood outside Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

No....eight days a week."

deborahg99 Aug 04, 2016

"As I stood outside Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

No....eight days a week."

e
estherpatricia
Aug 20, 2015

“I remembered a piece of sisterly advice, which Feely once gave Daffy and me:
"If ever you're accosted by a man," she'd said, "kick him in the Casanovas and run like blue blazes!"
Although it had sounded at the time like a useful bit of intelligence, the only problem was that I didn't know where the Casanovas were located.
I'd have to think of something else.”

m
mking
Feb 02, 2010

"I was me. I was Flavia. And I loved myself, even if no one else did." - p 59

m
michael12
Oct 29, 2009

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.

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