It is the summer of 1950 and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.
To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story, that of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school's tower 30 years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder, but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse.
An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions and a rich literary delight.
©2009 Alan Bradley; (P)2009 Random House Audio
"Brilliant, irresistible and incorrigible, Flavia has a long future ahead of her...Bradley's mystery debut is a standout." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Fun for the reader.... Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce, the heroine of ... Bradley's rollicking debut." (Publishers Weekly)
Didn't want to listen to a child's voice
no no no no no no no no
Yes, this audiobook is the perfect storm. The Story is entertaining, The Woman who recorded it had the perfect voice and inflections to relay the story, it is an intelligent plot, and flows perfectly.
When Flavia and the inspector both come to the same conclusion from entirely different clues.
No, but I would enjoy more.
When Flavias sisters slipped up and showed they care
Evocative, imaginative writing
Flavia, of course! Alan Bradley writes convincingly of a young teen, full of herself, but written so that we have insights into her "self-delusion." Flavia plays the roll of the omniscient narrator, but she is still a kid and it shows at times!
Jane has the perfect voice for Flavia and for British novels. Her voice is smooth, never irritating, and varied sufficiently in pitch and cadence to represent the many characters without ever becoming boring.
Flavia's conversation with her dad (who is in prison) was very well written and offered insight into the characters.
If you like Jeeves (Wodehouse) and other high-quality writing that is clean and interesting, you are bound to love these books!
I rejoiced throughout this entire book. The turn of phrases....so surprising! so refreshing! so delectable!
"He puffed up like a courting pigeon." and suchlike. I laughed aloud many times.
I think this writer, Bradley, must just be such a fun, interesting, intelligent man to have conceived this witty, dewy-fresh heroine, Flavia. I loved her mix of childish arrogance and childlike vulnerability, and her touching compassion, and how very imperfect her family is. They are imperfect the way all typical families are: still perfectly okay for the people within them to survive, and even thrive.
But, thank god for not another sappy-happy picture-perfect family!!
To me, it was a profound and moving caricature sketch of the love that exists in families, even where words and touches to prove it are absent.
I love, love PG and PG-13 adventures and mysteries, and generally have to hang out with the young (Bloody Jack adventures) or the old (Mrs. Pollifax), to get that right mix. But here is a book directed at adults, with a young heroine. Such a neat combo. So many wonderful literary and cultural references to keep you engaged.
More exciting than Ladies Detective Agency, but similarly inducing of quiet joy.
Just read it. It's brilliant.
Flavia is a bit of a sociopath--trying out potentially lethal chemistry experiments in her sisters--and precocious beyond imagination, but the story is terrific. I will read the entire series with anticipation.
I enjoy historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance. Also steampunk, sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and fiction. I'm open to about anything
What can I say? I just adore Flavia. Maybe it's a combination of her genius, which makes her seem older than her years, and those flashes of the little girl who craves love and attention. The language the author uses, a sort of multi syllabic music ably played in varying tones by Jayne Entwhistle, delights the ear. There were a couple of instances when I felt the similes Bradley uses are likely outside the scope of comparison for an 11 year old, but these were easy for me to get past. The plot line is compelling, and the mystery isn't a terribly easy puzzle to solve. The characters remain distinct enough to know who says and does what. There isn't a lot of growth in Flavia's character in the course of the book, but the action takes place over a short period of time, and this is the first in a series. Overall, if you like a good cerebral mystery, this is definitely worth a full credit.
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
Less descriptive detail
The eleven year old sleuth.
The eleven year old sleuth..
I have no interest in another book in the series.
Love audiobooks for commuting and anywhere really.
A well deserved Debut Dagger award for Alan Bradley. Flavia DeLuce is an unusual character, but she is full of life and this is conveyed perfectly by Jayne Entwistle. Her thoughts about the goings-on as well as the pleasure she takes in tormenting her older sisters is deftly portrayed, I found it hard to not believe the story wasn't being told by an 11 year old.
The story was enjoyable as well as entertaining. I am looking forward to reading the others books in this series. If you enjoy an English mystery and don't mind an unusual narrator voiced by a talented reader, give this one a try.
Librarian, reader, commuter. I got tired of the radio and CDs and switched to audio books. Now I listen to books while I quilt, clean, etc
Yes, to me it was. There is a lot of extraneous similies and analogies in the book that I found annoying in print but in audio, you were privy to a very intelligent, eccentrically educated young girl in 1950s England. Fairly well-to-do and access to ancestral libraries and chemistry lab, this child has an enormous amount of knowledge. Her internal voice is very amusing and has a depth of insight.....even when she is wrong. Flavia is an original.
Without indulging in a spoiler, there was a very suspenseful set of circumstances in the end. I drove several extra miles to finish the chapter.
No, but she certainly brought the prose alive. Jayne Entwistle made Flavia, her sisters, and all the characters be come vibrant, eccentric, human beings. I did go buy others in the series and also another series that Entwistle narrates.
This reminds me of those classic children's books where children are left to their own devices. Driven by curiosity and a sense of adventure, the children solve problems and mysteries have fantastic and dangerous adventures.
I've been enjoying audio books for decades and have never heard a better casting match than performer Jayne Entwistle and the lead protagonist eleven year old, Flavia de Luce in Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia, who rides a bicycle named Gladys, has a "passion for poison" and makes one think of Sherlock Holmes (albeit a female adolescent version) is delightful. I was thoroughly entertained and will be listening to the next Flavia mystery as soon as I can download it. Mr. Bradley, thank you!
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