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)
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I loved this book! It was written well for listening, pictures so adequately painted through the authors words. I listened to the book at work and many times found myself laugh aloud at the antics of Ms. Flavia.
If you've ever had a precociously intelligent 11 year old in your life with a flare for drama mixed in with unflappable optimism, then you will fall for Flavia. At first drawn by the titles in this series, I was then disappointed by the choice of narrator- a deal breaker for me. But now as I start the series over in preparation for the latest release (I haven't done this before, but each release is years apart) I can't imagine any other- now that I understand the character better.
The whole concept behind this series is very complex. The first layer seems simple mystery, a murder solved by a motherless child run amuck in a chemistry lab left behind by some ancestor on the family's English estate. Yet the backdrop of the setting is revealed in layers and the as the plot thickens so does the complexity of the events and circumstances that drive the motivations of each person in Flavia's family life. Her mother, who disappeared when she was only a yr old, 2 elder sisters that taunt and tease her with their jealousy guarded memories of her, and their stoic, aloof father that hides in his library with his stamp collection still mourning her loss.
Once you get past the novel narrative style- she becomes Flavia, and you will love her.
This book is told from the prospective of an 11 yr old genius with a curious mind. Its is a murder mystery with humor and intelligence. The narrator is perfect for this book. Its funny and interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!
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.
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.
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