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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie | [Alan Bradley]

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

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.
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Publisher's Summary

In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1543 )
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Story
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 (89)
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Performance
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  •  
    R. O'Hare Northern Virginia 12-13-10
    R. O'Hare Northern Virginia 12-13-10 Member Since 2006

    rointysonsva

    HELPFUL VOTES
    85
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    384
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    4
    Overall
    "dragged a little"

    Lots of childish banter, but it passed the time. I'd call it ok, not great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Westwood, MA, United States 08-15-10
    Rachel Westwood, MA, United States 08-15-10 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Greatly enjoyed."

    Yes, this reminds one of Nancy Drew (although much more complex), and yes the reader chooses a child like lisp, BUT, the book was a lot of fun and the reader very appropriate for the main character. Good for older children AND older adults!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxane RIO RANCHO, NM, United States 06-17-10
    Roxane RIO RANCHO, NM, United States 06-17-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    53
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Introducing a delightful young sleuth!"

    The charm of this mystery lies in its refreshing sleuth--a cold-blooded, brilliantly precocious eleven-year-old girl named Flavia de Luce, who reminded me more than a little of Wednesday Addams. I am glad to discover that there has been a sequel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Krueger San Diego, CA 06-15-10
    E. Krueger San Diego, CA 06-15-10 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    6
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    0
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    "I couldn't get through it"

    I get why people like the book - the main character is adorable. BUT I couldn't understand what they were saying half the time, the accents were so thick. I ended up bored and never went back to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Moses Lake, WA, USA 06-14-10
    Randy Moses Lake, WA, USA 06-14-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    4
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    0
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    Overall
    "Fun. A nice break"

    This is a fun Book. A nice break from the norm, every childs dream come true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Mead, WA, USA 03-12-10
    Laura Mead, WA, USA 03-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    23
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Good, brainless fun!"

    This is a prime example of a book that I would NEVER be able to get through a paper copy of, but the audio book is good fun and definitely worth using up a credit. This is because Jayne Entwistle is such a talented narrator with a truly delightful voice. She has good material to work with, however. Bradley's vivid imagery, clever use of idioms, and attention to even the smallest details, coupled with Entwistle's endearing British accent, make this a perfect read-aloud. I only gave it 3 stars because of several annoyingly unlikely coincidences in the story line.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Cali 03-05-10
    Aaron Cali 03-05-10 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    1
    Overall
    "Excellent book and audio"

    If there were a 4.5 I would give it that. I really liked this book a great deal, but I just couldn't buy into the idea that this girl was 11 years old. I thought the character was both charming and smart, but I imagine her to be more like 15. Other than that the story was interesting and the writing was very well done, if a little flowery. I look forward to more from this author. And the narrator was great. I think she really brought Flavia alive for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-08-10
    Nicole Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-08-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    9
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    0
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    Overall
    "Fun and rather simple"

    The main character is a bit to clever compared to most young people i know. the knowledge and interest in chemistry at that age seems nearly impossible. The story itself was interesting and a fun listen, very appropriate for young adults. The narration is very nice, with a soft accent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke Fort Collins, CO, USA 12-08-09
    Luke Fort Collins, CO, USA 12-08-09 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    "The Sweetness"

    fantastic characters, especially the protagonist

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Ligonier, PA 08-13-13
    Wayne Ligonier, PA 08-13-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I suggest any dealing with "Audible, Amazon be avo"
    What disappointed you about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie?

    Unable to download


    What did you like best about this story?

    nothing


    How could the performance have been better?

    Forget Kindle & buy a computer instead


    Any additional comments?

    avoid kindle enen a free one is no bargin

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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