The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When young Flavia de Luce, aspiring chemist, finds a body in the cucumber patch outside her father's house, she finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and murder...
I'm not really sure how my love of detective fiction led me to this tale of an eleven year old girl in 1950s England solving a mystery involving stamps but I'm glad it did.
Flavia de Luce is a precocious English girl with a passion for chemistry in general and poisons in particular. She lives in an English country house with her father and two sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. The mystery component of the book is secondary to the delightful antics of Flavia. She's funny as hell and wise beyond her years.
Bradley's writing takes what probably would have been a two star mystery and kicks things up several notches. The writing style reminds me of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers with a pinch of P.G. Wodehouse and was a delight to read.
The mystery itself isn't that great, although Bradley red herring-ed my ass about a fourth of the way through. Parts of it reminded me of Nancy Drew and others reminded me of the cozy mysteries of yore. I was less than 100 pages in when I resolved to read the entire series.
Four out of five stars. I'm looking forward to reading more adventures of Flavia de Luce.
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