The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

[a Novel]

Book Club Kit - 2010
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Winner of the 2007 Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger

A delightfully dark English mystery, featuring precocious young sleuth Flavia de Luce and her eccentric family.

The summer of 1950 hasn't offered up anything out of the ordinary for eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce: bicycle explorations around the village, keeping tabs on her neighbours, relentless battles with her older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, and brewing up poisonous concoctions while plotting revenge in their home's abandoned Victorian chemistry lab, which Flavia has claimed for her own.

But then a series of mysterious events gets Flavia's attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath. For Flavia, the summer begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw: " I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life."

Did the stranger die of poisoning? There was a piece missing from Mrs. Mullet's custard pie, and none of the de Luces would have dared to eat the awful thing. Or could he have been killed by the family's loyal handyman, Dogger... or by the Colonel himself! At that moment, Flavia commits herself to solving the crime -- even if it means keeping information from the village police, in order to protect her family. But then her father confesses to the crime, for the same reason, and it's up to Flavia to free him of suspicion. Only she has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim's identity, and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luces' murky past.

A thoroughly entertaining romp of a novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is inventive and quick-witted, with tongue-in-cheek humour that transcends the macabre seriousness of its subject.
Publisher: St. Albert : SAPL, 2010
ISBN: 9780385665827
Branch Call Number: BRADL
Characteristics: 8 books, 1 manual ; in plastic container


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Feb 06, 2018

I would like to apologize to anyone waiting for this book as of 02-06-18. I have spent a half hour trying to figure out how to return this book. (I accidentally downloaded it as an Adobe EPUB.) This is insanely difficult. Frankly, I do not know if it's even possible. Returning a Kindle book is also very difficult, but at least it's possible.

Jan 26, 2018

I loved this book, the main character is so witty, likable and intelligent. The author did a wonderful job of getting childhood and sister dynamics correct with their constant irritation mingled with love of each other.

Oct 27, 2017

I love the story line in this book series - unfortunately, the author gets too caught up with delve into details that are not part of the story line - and if I was reading the book and not listening to it - I would just skip over.

barigsoy Oct 12, 2017

A terrific yarn about a bright and precocious little girl who solves a murder. The author captures a child's wonderment perfectly. It is humorously written and was fun to read.

Oct 10, 2017

The first in a mystery series about 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, chemist and detective. Entertaining. Filed under adult mystery but could surely be young adult or even children's fiction.

Oct 07, 2017

I did not enjoy this as much as others - I found it engaging at first. The young 11 year old girl is a lot of fun as a character and her life in the big house where she explores chemistry, is ignored by her father and tortured by her sisters, makes for a good beginning. But as it progressed I found it became repetitive and lost its sparkle for me.

esgouliaras Sep 02, 2017

The best mystery novel and series I have come across recently! You will quickly fall into the world of Flavia de Luce and not want to leave. Thankfully there are 9 books in the series to enjoy. All by the talented Alan Bradley!

Jul 20, 2017

How does a 70+ year-old male author get being a precocious pre-adolescent so right. I loved this story about a young amateur detective (and poisoner) who lives in a decaying British manor with her father and annoying older sisters.

LPL_MeredithW Jul 09, 2017

I listened to this charming mystery novel on audio, and while the plot was nothing special, the performance was incredible! Jayne Entwhistle does a fantastic job bringing to life 11-year-old aspiring chemist and amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce, as well as all the other residents of Bishop's Lacey. Give this one a listen, for sure.

Apr 12, 2017

I love this series. The characters are well developed, the writing style is humorous, the plots keep me engaged.

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Aug 20, 2015

Like murder mysteries? Can you compete with an amateur chemistry student who is 11 years old? Funny, unexpected murder mystery with a likeable, young heroine! Watch out - her specialty is poisons!

Aug 19, 2015

mystery fiction, yng girl interested in chemistry, mystery of father's trial

Apr 30, 2011

11 yr old Flavia de Luce murder mystery. 1st in a series

Jul 28, 2010

Flavia de Luce is an 11 yr. old chemistry whiz. She has two older sisters with whom she is at odds. Her father, a philatelist, is distant and unavailable and she is largely parented by the housekeeper and the gardener. She helps solve the murder of one of her father's school friends who is found dead in the garden.

black_cat Jul 05, 2010

An adult book but can be read by advanced younger readers. Main character is a young, strong female who finds herself in danger while investigating a mystery that arrived at her doorstep.

Age Suitability

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mlabreche11 May 28, 2013

mlabreche11 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

cino1 May 03, 2011

cino1 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Dec 21, 2010

hil_elrick thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Amie Jun 10, 2009

Amie thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Quote

deborahg99 Aug 04, 2016

"As I stood outside Cow Lane, it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

No....eight days a week."

Aug 20, 2015

“I remembered a piece of sisterly advice, which Feely once gave Daffy and me:
"If ever you're accosted by a man," she'd said, "kick him in the Casanovas and run like blue blazes!"
Although it had sounded at the time like a useful bit of intelligence, the only problem was that I didn't know where the Casanovas were located.
I'd have to think of something else.”

Feb 02, 2010

"I was me. I was Flavia. And I loved myself, even if no one else did." - p 59

Oct 29, 2009

I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.


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