The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (The Buckshaw Chronicles #1)
by Alan Bradley
Doubleday Canada (Random House)
Buy from Indigo
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
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
Mini Book Review: As usual when I love a book I struggle with reviewing it. My jumbled way of writing (not to mention my way of speaking) cannot due justice to the brilliance of this story. Flavia is a delightfully wicked little imp. She is charming yet devilishly naughty and positively brilliant. I fell in love with her within 5 paragraphs of this wonderfully charming, yet fast paced story. Bradly is a gifted storyteller and it was the kind of book you just don't want to put down. The opening paragraph hooks you in and it just keeps getting better and better. It is full of dark twisted humour, fascinating secondary characters and an enchanting setting. I need to move in to Buckshaw just to spend time in my dream library. I am a little disappointed that I have to read 4 or 5 other books before I can get to the next story in this wonderful series. I look forward to learning more about Flavia and her truly unique world. I think fans of The Spellman Files will enjoy as well.
"I made the Girl Guide three-eared bunny salute with my fingers. I did not tell him that I was technically no longer a member of that organization, and hadn't been since I was chucked out for manufacturing ferric hydroxide to earn my Domestic Service badge. No one had seemed to care that it was the antidote for arsenic poisoning."
I purchased this after my coworker and Fellow Jen recommended it to me - Thanks Jen, you were bang on
Note about my Reviews
Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!