Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet sweet murder

Back to the bookshelf! I just finished The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. And wow. What a great book. I make no bones about being a big mystery fan. I'll be happy to read any detective novel you toss at me. From Doyle to Baldacci and everyone in between. Love 'em. I also like to look out for books my kids might enjoy. For the most part they prefer their Fantasy novels, Robert Jordan, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the like, but they're occasionally open to other options. Luckily I ran into a couple books by Alan Bradley and they piqued my interest. The stories revolve around one Flavia de Luce, an 11 year old English girl and are based in 1950. She's quite precocious but plagued with two older sisters with whom she does daily battle of pranks and verbal sparring. Miss de Luce is also an aspiring Chemist and the book is littered with her pontificating on different chemical formulas and reactions, in great detail. While this may sound off putting, it really is fascinating, but I've always been a science nerd. The vocabulary is also extremely wide ranging with a great deal of classical allusions and quotes from great literature, some of the rarer words and phrases are explained on the spot.
The first book tells the story of a dead body in their cucumber patch and the search for a rare invaluable stamp. It's twisting and turning, the final reveal is somewhat clear, but as it's aimed at a younger audience I didn't have a problem with it. There is quite a bit of pathos and loads of humor. I give it 5 and half out of 6 Amelia Peabodys.
And yes. There is a pie involved. No, the recipe, is thankfully not included.
More about Miss de Luce and the series at her website.


  1. Hi Evan, are these suitable for a 16 yr old boy?

  2. Yup. Especially if he has a scientific bent. There's a small amount of very obtuse innuendo but it's fast paced and interesting all the way through.