Thursday, August 13, 2009
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Protagonist: Flavia de Luce
Setting: Bishop’s Lacey, England, 1950s
Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11-year-old chemist whiz who turns to detecting when her father is jailed for the murder of a man found in their garden. She was also the only one around when the man uttered his one dying word: “Vale.” This sets Flavia on a hunt for the truth, pigtails flying behind her as she zips through town on Gladys (her bicycle). The best part of this book are the eccentric characters which populate Bradley’s book (which includes Flavia’s two older sisters, who she is always tormenting – when they are not tormenting her). But there’s also a fine plot – involving a rare stamp stolen years ago and another death. And it turns out the man found dead in their garden was once a close school friend of her father’s, before they had a falling out. And so the plot thickens. This book utterly charmed me – and apparently others. At least two more books featuring Flavia are in the works.