‘Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’ captures attention

Anne Yoskoski, Managing Editor

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” is the first book in the series of novels written by Alan Bradley that focus on the young, poison obsessed Flavia de Luce.

In this first novel, the reader is introduced to Flavia’s family and her family home, where a dead body has been discovered. Based in 1950, Flavia basically becomes Harriet the Spy in order to solve the murder and learn everything she can in the process.

For the average reader, this book may start slowly.

There are so many minute details, including Flavia using her chemistry knowledge to give her sister a non-lethal dose of poison via her lipstick, that the beginning seems to trudge on.

Once the introductions are over, things unfortunately continue to trudge forward at a glacial pace.

There are at least four pages describing Flavia biking to the library, then the history of the library, then her voyage to find the librarian.

Bradley makes up for this, however, simply by making Flavia the protagonist. While many agree that an eleven year old chemistry expert is far-fetched, the presentation makes it okay.

The reader finds themselves siding with the extremely clever Flavia and supporting her insane and probably dangerous hunt for a killer.

The book is clever and witty.

The unique eleven year old protagonist is aimed at an adult audience, placing the reader inside this odd situation where it suddenly becomes clear Colonel de Luce isn’t raising a normal girl, but a miniature adult.

Mystery readers will find the book to have an obvious ending, while novice readers may be surprised.

The book is worth picking up when one is out of things to read.