Reread (on audiobook) April 16, 2013. I still think this is a wonderful book and a delightful character! I listened to this to refresh my memory prior to reading the sequel(s). I'm quite sure this is one of those series I'll be revisiting often in future years. The audio version is narrated by Jayne Entwhistle and I thought her voice was perfect for this.
Original review: Read January 18, 2010
What a delightful book! It's a sort of English cozy, full of historical details, with an outrageous child protagonist, who is sometimes scary with her single-minded intensity. She is at once both precocious and naive, delightful and alarming, and utterly fearless. The cast of characters with their charming eccentricities rivals Alexander McCall-Smith as does the laugh-out-loud humor. I sincerely hope this will be made into a movie, and I have already put my name on the waiting list for book # 2, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, coming out in March. While written for adults, precocious older children and young adults would also find this enjoyable.
Book description from Amazon:
"In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-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. “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.”
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 — 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 thirty 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."
Flavia de Luce series
01. The sweetness at the bottom of the pie - read
02. The weed that strings the hangman's bag - read
03. A red herring without mustard - read
04. I am half sick of shadows
05. Speaking from among the bones