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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie Audiobook

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

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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

4.1 (3391 )
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Performance
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  •  
    L. Mansfield 11-20-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Charming Heroine, Fabulous Narration!"

    The 11-year-old protagonist in this story, Flavia, is intrepid, hilarious, brilliant, and delightful. Jayne Entwhistle does a spectacular job of capturing her quirky, humorous personality, and the story races along with more than a little intrique and suspense. Most of the charm is in the heroine's perspective of the world and how she approaches the thorny problem of solving a murder and clearing her father's name. 1950s England springs to life through Flavia's eyes and her adventures, both at home with her trying sisters, and in the world at large detecting crime, are captivating. Highly recommended!

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 07-11-15
    Lori 07-11-15 Member Since 2017
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    "Perfect narration!"
    Would you listen to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie again? Why?

    Yes! I laughed often throughout the book and will enjoy revisiting Buckshaw and Flavia in the future!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Flavia, of course. She's witty and brave and has delightful descriptions for things that happen around her.


    What about Jayne Entwistle’s performance did you like?

    Love it,


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It's not really that kind of book. It's a light listen, thoroughly enjoyable and just what one needs to escape the complexities of living in the real world for awhile.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek 01-30-12
    Derek 01-30-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Absolutely first class in every respect"
    If you could sum up The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie in three words, what would they be?

    The heroine is an eleven year old chemistry genius who is a fine detective. The stories are excellent and the humour and tension are, in equal parts, superb.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plots are well crafted and believable, even though the heroine is young.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't pick one scene as a favourite as the whole book is wonderful in so many different ways.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Suitable for all ages.


    Any additional comments?

    The author has a gift for writing a credible and edge of seat gripping yarn and enable us to put ourselves in the place of his heroine.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enjoys Books 09-09-09 Member Since 2008
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    "A brilliant narrator"

    It's so interesting how narrator affect listeners. Both my wife and I can't find enough good things to say about Jayne Entwistle. I want to listen slowly just to make both the story and narration last forever. Will look for both author and narrator in the future.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Dog Alabama 06-15-10
    Helen Dog Alabama 06-15-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Audio Book adds value"

    I listened to this book and just loved it. I read the next one (Hangman...) and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I missed the fabulous narration by Jane Entwistle. Her reading of this book really makes a good book, great. Thanks Jane!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Kelseyville, CA, United States 09-03-09
    William Kelseyville, CA, United States 09-03-09 Member Since 2014
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    "Clever, amusing story ... disliked narrator"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but ended up finishing it in the print form. I could tell I would like the bright, mischievous heroine if I didn't have to listen to the narrator's exaggerated interpretation of her humor and self-confidence. Entwistle chose to narrate Flavia's tone of self-delight in such a way that she sounded smarmily smug. I understand that she was attempting to convey the self-congratulatory pride and sibling rivalry that is a trait of this character, but it made me dislike an otherwise quirky and original protagonist.

    Listen to the sample ... if it doesn't grate on your nerves, you'll find the book well worth the listen. (written not by William, but by his wife)

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billie P. Sessions 02-01-17
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    "Hope you 'like' Analogy's . . . 'as if' . . ."
    What would have made The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie better?

    Leave out hundreds of analogies! Seriously - nearly every other sentence throughout the entire book was an analogy. "Like" - Bradley must sure be the King of Analogies! They were so tiring, in nearly every other sentence. Soon I was just waiting for what he would come up with next. Many were clever - but so distracting. The book would have been half as long without them. Someone should count them for the Guinness Book of World Records. The book was written from the viewpoint of an 11 year old. Maybe an 11 year old would like it. I can't believe I didn't push delete. I was tempted so many times. Listening to it was 'like' dragging fingernails down a chalkboard.' I will be asking for my money back. I kept thinking there would be a redeeming quality. Not so much.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alan Bradley again?

    NO, only if he gives up 98% of the analogies!! But then the books would be short stories. (He must have gotten A's in high school English for his analogies. They are 'like' the gift (or plague) that keeps on giving - or distracting as the case may be.)


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    OMGOsh. Are you kidding me? The reviews warned me. They were so right. At first the voice was 'cute', then very soon it was so irritating I could only listen for about 30 minutes, then I would need to switch over to another book I had recorded. And many times, you could tell she was adding a smile to the tone in her voice in places where it was not appropriate. Just annoying. The voice would put me in a bad mood, it was "like dragging fingernails down a chalkboard." Oh - did I use that before? You bet I did.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Hmmmmmm. The premise was okay .. . . but what a waste of time, energy and good mood all around.


    Any additional comments?

    Be sure to listen to the narrator before you buy! Then consider again. And again before you buy.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny Landen Edgewood, KY United States 12-01-16
    Penny Landen Edgewood, KY United States 12-01-16 Member Since 2006
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    "Poor story and irritating narrator."

    As a murder mystery, it was illogical. The 11-year-old heroine was supposed to be precocious, but her raptures over chemistry were ridiculous. The narrator adopted an artificial tone that was annoying. She may actually be British, but she sounded like she was faking an accent.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 04-29-16
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 04-29-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A very ANNOYING story"

    I did not particularly like the main character Flavia de Luce, nor the mystery story. I agree with one of the other reviewers: who cares about the dead guy in the garden and who cares who killed him, or why. I certainly didn't and the story went on and on and on. I finished listening to it, but did not enjoy it at all.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yoshi 02-20-15
    Yoshi 02-20-15
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    "Couldn't get past first Chapter: Narration Problem"

    I read previous reviews complaining about the narrator, and I listened to the sample and thought "that's not bad..." and got the book because the physical copy has been recommended to me a few times before.

    The narrator sounds like your friend who is a friendly gossip, and is telling you something particularly fun/juicy. Which in small doses, is fun, and brings a smile to your face. It's infectious and just plane friendly! But here's the thing, the ENTIRE book is like that. It makes it sound like EVERYTHING is a gooey truth. There is no nuance. And it makes it highly irritating.I just want to say "Hey, it's okay, I get it, just talk normally for now, and when it's something really good, you can lay it on thick."

    Unfortunately, I just couldn't get through the first chapter, and I really really wanted to like it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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