Friday, 20 June 2014

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie


Author: Alan Bradley
Genre: Mystery, Canadian
Type: Paperback
Pages: 385
Source: Used bookstore
Series: #1 in the Flavia de Luce mystery series (6 books in series currently)
Publisher: Anchor Canada
First Published: 2009
First Line: "It was as black in the closet as old blood."

Book Description from GoodReads Flavia de Luce 11 is an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. In the summer of 1950, inexplicable events strike Buckshaw, her decaying mansion home. A dead bird is on the doorstep, a postage stamp on its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man dying in the cucumber patch. His last words must save her father imprisoned for his murder.

My Review:  I went into this book, the beginning of a series, with pretty much no information on it.  I only knew that it was Canadian and I recognized the cover because the series is popular in the library where I work.  What I came away with was a solid debut with a very unique main character.

Flavia is in a category all her own.  She has quite an engaging voice and humour which was, honestly, my favourite part of the book.  Now, I know that some readers have taken exception to eleven year old Flavia's voice because she does give off a 'too old and wise for her years' feeling.  Sure she's refreshing, precocious and tenacious but you will need to suspend your belief that there was such a brilliant, well-spoken eleven year old with science expertise out there in the 1950's.  That said, her banter with her older sisters was what made the book for me and I really enjoyed her.

The book is set in a small town England in the 1950's which I found interesting and refreshing.  Unfortunately I found the mystery to be just okay.  It wasn't very complicated or, truth be told, overly riveting for me.  A few times I was a step ahead of Flavia's deductions but it was Flavia and her unique wit that kept me captivated.

Note: For those readers who are not fans of blatant violence and/or swearing then this may be a book for you as both were minimal throughout the book.

I think this would be a good, cozy read and I will most likely be picking up the next book in this six book series.  

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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