The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley Rating: 3.5 Stars
Source: Library (audio)
Description: Life at Buckshaw for 11 year old Flavia de Luce is very uneventful. Her days are spent in her chemistry lab, being tormented by her sisters, and figuring out how to get her revenge on said sisters. Until one day a dead bird with a stamp pinned on its bill is found at the door and the next day a body is found in the cucumber patch. And curious precocious Flavia has no intention of leaving the murder solving to the police.
Why I Picked This Book: I had heard great things about this series and the premise sounded unique enough that I wanted to give it a try.
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this mystery. One of the reasons I've waited so long to try the series is that I wasn't sure how an adult mystery could have a primary detective who was an eleven year old girl. For the most part it really worked. Flavia does read like a adolescent though a fairly odd, overly precocious adolescent. I thought her relationship with her sisters was entertaining - especially her war with Ophelia. As the mystery itself unraveled it revealed quite a lot about the inner workings of Buckshaw and Bishops Lacey. The pacing of the story was a bit uneven and got slow in parts. While the beginning was interesting and the last 1/3 sped by there was some dragging in the middle and some excessive detail. The information on the stamps themselves was interesting and I enjoyed the secondary mystery involving the suicide of the teacher 30 years in the past. While I guess the who fairly early on I didn't truly guess the why until it was revealed. While The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie didn't blow me away I did enjoy it - especially the last 1/4. I'm curious to see how the series and Flavia develop.
Audio Note: Jayne Entwistle does a fantastic job narrating. Her voice sounds perfect for Flavia without sounding too young for the older characters. I'm very glad to see that she does the narrating for the rest of the books in the series.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes. While I'm not running out immediately to get the next book I am intrigued to see where the series goes.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes. I think most mystery readers would enjoy this.
Challenges Met? Library Challenge