Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)
Author: Alan Bradley
On the Shelves: Fiction> Crime/Mystery
Flavia de Luce 11 is an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. In the summer of 1950, inexplicable events strike Buckshaw, her decaying mansion home. A dead bird is on the doorstep, a postage stamp on its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man dying in the cucumber patch. His last words must save her father imprisoned for his murder. (Goodreads 2014)
I originally picked up book 4 in this series, “I am Half Sick of Shadows” last year (feel free to click the title to see that review!). Either way, I enjoyed it so much, I had to go back to the start of the series and read them all. So here is my review of the first Flavia De Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley.
It concerns a young girl, a love for poisons and chemistry, and a curious case of a rare stamp which has lead to magic tricks, mystery, mayhem and murder around Buckshaw. Bradley’s writing is engaging, witty, sweet and often downright bizarre at times throughout this book. Flavia is trying to solve the mystery surrounding the stamps, clear her father’s name of being accused of murder, and of course- trying to play poisoning tricks on her eldest sister, by toying with her Lipstick.
I can’t really talk about this book any more without spoiling it but all you really need to know is that I found it enjoyable. Flavia was funny, somehow charming whilst pretentious and and while there were parts where the story dragged, the amusing characters made up for it. The story was well paced, although some parts were a little drawn out. The characters are well written and, I think memorable. Throughout the book you see Flavia’s relationships with the other members of staff like Dogger, who was a POW in the war and has many challenges in daily life. Like in Book 4, I also enjoyed seeing Ophelia and Daphne show little signs of affection towards Flavia, even though they do take the mickey out of her and often it seems like they couldn’t care less about her. In this book you do see Flavia be a little selfless, in trying to sacrifice herself to save her father and his reputation, which is lovely because she is a stubborn and selfish eleven year old girl. It is nice to see her try to be selfless occasionally.
Going off the two books of this series I have read, I highly recommend this to people who enjoy quirky murder mysteries and I will be continuing with the series.