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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

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  •  
    Enjoys Books 09-09-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Mansfield 11-20-09 Member Since 2009

    Alabama Heretic

    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 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 06-08-13
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 06-08-13 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    "Flavia is a Lass with Great Chemistry!"

    This book is both a fun listen and interesting . . . I love that it is narrated from an eleven year old's point of view . . . a curious, intelligent girl who speaks the Queen's English . . . and not unlike our own daughter, is not in the least grossed out by blood, dead specimens, dissecting things and generally grew up loving chemistry and research. So when she discovers a dead man among the cucumbers in the English garden, it only gets better from there. The story spans some 30 years and Flavia must work to solve the unfortunate man's murder by doing a lot of "foot work" and risk her life doing it. The story is NOT predictable at all, and I look forward to the next story in the series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Derek 01-30-12
    Derek 01-30-12 Member Since 2016

    Retired and living in Spain, I am an avid reader. Audible has added a new dimension as I can experience excellent readers/actors too.

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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 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    barbara United States 01-29-12
    barbara United States 01-29-12 Member Since 2017

    I especially enjoy historical mysteries. I don't like to know how things end before I begin.

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    "A treat for mind and ear"

    I could hardly wait to recommend this to my grand daughters and their parents. A delightful story that will entertain anyone who can read. The central character is a precocious young English girl whose vocabulary and skills in a chemistry lab suspend belief and yet I accepted them. The plot moves quickly while still masking its twists and turns from the reader. I look forward to reading another in the series. Hope Bradley can keep up the pace.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sixty Some Chico, CA 02-20-10
    Sixty Some Chico, CA 02-20-10 Member Since 2012
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    "Opposing Viewpoint"

    In choosing this book I broke my own two important rules. #1- Read ALL the reviews #2 LISTEN to the sample. The reviewer who said the narrator was annoying was so right. Unfortunately I read a few of the positive comments and clicked "buy". I disliked the narrator from the first chapter and could not get through even 2 hours before quitting. I understand that she is trying to sound like a young girl and it really misses the mark. To me, the narrator makes Flavia sound like a brat.
    I'm glad this book has such a great following, for it is clever and amusing, but do listen before you buy. I don't even want to read the print version now as I would "hear" that voice. Flavia is ruined for me. And only myself to blame.

    51 of 64 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Plude 01-25-12
    G. Plude 01-25-12 Member Since 2012

    orchid lady

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    "Definitely not!"

    I did not find the story particularly intriguing. In fact I really didn't care who the dead man in the garden was or who killed him. But the worst of it was Flavia herself. What an obnoxious annoying child! Ms. Entwistle did an excellent job of making an already annoying child that much more annoying. There was something so unlikeable about Flavia it did not surprise me in the least that her sisters hated her.

    Hearing Flavia out loud put me off entirely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    L New York NY, United States 04-18-10
    L New York NY, United States 04-18-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Can't wait for more in this series!"

    Irresistable! I agree with Jonathan of Ottowa's review wholeheartedly. This is one of two (so far) Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley - I think both are delightful. I highly recommend this series and hope Bradley will write more, and that Entwhistle will narrate them - she brings them so beautifully to life. The main character is a smart, witty, observant, precocious (in a fun, amusing way) Pippi Longstocking type character - full of mischief, independent spirit and bursting with the sheer joy of being alive. Flavia, whose mother died when she was one, lives with her sisters and father on her family's old country estate in England. She loves scientific experiments and solving mysteries. She weaves facts about science and history with funny and often wise observations about life - these contribute to and never get in the way of the flow of the story. The descriptions of English country life and of the landscape and village characters are also good and round out the story. It was an act of genius to pair this delightful heroine with narration by Jayne Entwhistle - It's an inspired combination that adds to the truly fun experience of listening to the story. I have been a member of audible for years and cannot remember enjoying a character or a story more than this. This book (as well as The Weed That Strings The Hangman's Bag) have made me smile and laugh out loud with the wit, spunkiness and vibrance that Entwhistle conveys through her narration of the character of Flavia. Please write more in this great series, Mr. Bradley, and please have Entwhistle narrate any forthcoming books in the series, Audible. Though written by a man, I think perhaps this series might appeal in a special way to females. It is not a children's book, but will appeal to persons of any age who remember what it was like to be eleven years and old and full of enthusiasm, curiosity and energy for life.

    2 of 2 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 10 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 1 people found this review helpful

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