The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan C. Bradley

Why I Read It: Recommended to me by knitting circle.

Where I Got It: The library.

Who I Recommend This To: Mystery lovers, poison aficionados, and fans of precocious kids with English accents.

Narrator: Jayne Entwhistle

Publisher: Random House Audio (2009)

Length: 10 CDs

Series: Flavia de Luce Book 1

This was one of the most delightful mysteries I had read in some time. Set in 1950s England and told from the view point of the master slueth Flavia, an 11-year old girl, the reader is taken on bicycle rides, assists on chemistry experiments, and of course, solving a murder. Flavia is fascinated with chemistry in general and poisons in specific. Her knowledge of both drives this mystery and, without surprise, is key in solving the murder.Tormented by older siblings, ignored by most adults, motherless, and far too smart for her own good, Flavia steals the show. The mystery is centered on a small group of academics and philately (the study of stamps). And yes, there is pie. This book was fast-paced and over too soon. Luckily, there are more Alan C. Bradley mysteries waiting for me at the library.

The narrator Jayne Entwhistle did a marvelous job; I truly felt she was a kid again reading this book. I especially love how she made Flavia’s voice revel in the downhill bikerides and slip into seriousness over her chemistry or perk up at the thought of some mischievousness.

What I Liked: The poisons; the heroine is a well-grounded 11-year old girl; there’s stamp collecting; mystery kept me in suspense and guessing.

What I Didn’t like: Flavia’s choice in candies.

Note: This review was originally published on on 04/20/2011 and republished, and reformatted, here with permission of Lady Darkcargo.

2 thoughts on “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan C. Bradley”

  1. The term “delightful” is an apt one as this is very much a delightful book and a delightful series. I’ve enjoyed each one thus far and have the fourth waiting for me to read. I am very much attached to Flavia, her bike Gladys, and her family, not to mention that old house. The great thing about these books is that, in addition to the mystery of the moment, there is an ongoing mystery about her mother’s death and I see the family dynamic growing and changing with each book. Well worth reading.

    If you want you should post your link to this in the R.I.P. reviews. Since I started R.I.P. early it technically counts anyway. 🙂

    1. I’ve read Books 1 and 2 in this series – I should pick up the rest. Flavia is a treat.

      This review was originally posted on last year (note at bottom of review) and reposted here. So, I think it would be cheating a little to count in the RIP 2012.

      I still write for Darkcargo (awesome site!) once a week, but like having all my reviews in one place, hence why they are slowly being reposted over here.

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