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.
ISBN: 9780385665827
0385665822
9780385665834
Characteristics: 292 pages ;,23 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Flavia DeLuce isn't about to be distracted by boys and make-up. Her chemistry lab and Gladys, her trusty bicycle is all she needs to find out what or who killed the man in the garden.


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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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ellenmargaret1953
Feb 13, 2019

Flavia is at it again, solving a number of mysteries from the past and two murders. She is an ingenue, sometimes a pest and always as curious as a cat paddling her bike around her village gathering clues and besting inspector Hewitt to the solution. Love it.

Hillsboro_JennyFl Jan 30, 2019

Meet 11-year-old Flavia De Luce; master poisoner and amateur sleuth. This is a delightful series with solid mysteries and characters you will love. A total comfort read for me!

c
captbligh
Jan 22, 2019

Beyond belief and way too cute; no 11 year old is like Flavia.

m
MaryLouK50
Jan 08, 2019

The audiobooks are delightful. Flavia comes to life through the voice of Jane Entwistle.

e
ElectricMayhem
Dec 28, 2018

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce is an aspiring chemist, when her father is arrested for murder she begins a search for the truth. Great narrator.

r
red_zinger
Nov 21, 2018

Book 1

I fell upon a delightful series quite by accident – and I was hooked on the first chapter and had to read the whole series. These are charming and witty mystery novels set in England in the 1950s. The charm comes from the main character, and written in her voice, 11-year-old Flavia de Luce. This curious and bright girl cannot keep herself away from dead bodies and trying to solve the mysteries while getting in the way, and much to the chagrin, of the Inspector and his team.

If you enjoy English wit and wisdom, you might also like: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, A Red Herring without Mustard, and I Am Half-sick of Shadows. For added pleasure, listen to them on CD: Jayne Entwistle’s British accent and talent make all her characters believable and real. (submitted by RK)

a
ApollosRaven
Sep 14, 2018

Flavia de Luce, volume 1. Outrageously good.

s
SuzeParker
Jul 10, 2018

If Flavia de Luce were a living, breathing girl, it's possible she would annoy me no end. As a fictional character whose thoughts I was privy to, however, she delighted me. At turns wise beyond her years and a child who longs to know she's loved, Flavia was the most endearing protagonist I've encountered in months. I thoroughly enjoyed Alan Bradley's turns of phrase, and I was thrilled to learn about four-fifths of the way through the book that it's the first in a series. (Not sure how I missed that; it's clear in the presentation of the book title above. Nevertheless, I had, and the fact that there was more Flavia de Luce to be had was a pleasurable knowledge as I came to the close of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

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Summary

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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.

Age Suitability

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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

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