The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie : A Flavia de Luce Mystery Book 1

3.8 (110,644 ratings by Goodreads)
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It is June 1950, and a sleepy English village is about to be awakened by the discovery of a dead body in Colonel de Luce's cucumber patch. The police are baffled, and when a dead snipe is deposited on the Colonel's doorstep with a rare stamp impaled on its beak, they are baffled even more. Only the Colonel's daughter, the precocious Flavia - when she's not plotting elaborate acts of revenge against her nasty older sisters in her basement chemistry laboratory, that is - has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim's identity, and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luce family's murky past.Flavia and her family are brilliant creations, adding a darkly playful and wonderfully atmospheric flavour to a plot of delightful more

Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 140 x 218 x 34mm | 480.81g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0752891936
  • 9780752891934
  • 510,011

Review quote

`If ever there was a sleuth who?s bold, brilliant and, yes, adorable, it?s Flavia de Luce, the precocious 11-year-old at the center of this scrumptious first novel? * USA TODAY * 'Impressive as a sleuth and enchanting as a mad scientist (`What a jolly poison could be extracted from the jonquil?), Flavia is most endearing as a little girl who has learned how to amuse herself in a big lonely house? * NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS * Flavia is a character that I hope will age very slowly, as I hope to read this series for a good long time. It has a very fresh feel, and a very good sense of time and place. I loved the way the detective was kind to Flavia, almost fatherly, yet keeping to a professional relationship. Her struggles with her sisters were a bright spot in a delightful book. Highly recommended -- Maggie Mason * DEADLY PLEASURES * A delightful whodunnit, winner of the 2007 CWA Debut Dagger, featuring amateur sleuth Flavia de Luce...Hilarious, eccentric and mischievous -- Cath Staincliffe * DEADLY PLEASURES * Charming... a terrific story with a good plot and a wonderful supporting cast -- Jeff Popple * DEADLY PLEASURES * Flavia is her own girl and I loved her. Fiesty and hilarious, Flavia waltzes precociously but not annoyingly so through the adult world with intelligent and logical panache...The first-person narrative is exquisite, page after page had me laughing at the sheer brilliance of the setting and the dialogue and Flavia's unique turn of phrase ... This first offering a great foundation on which to grow the next and a perfectly lovely gorgeous read over several grey chilly Winter afternoons * DOVE GRAY READER * Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Canadian journalist Bradley's rollicking debut * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY - USA * Flavia De Luce is an eleven year old with a penchant for poisons and she is by far the most balanced and normal member of the household. She is also precocious, endearing, as fiercely intelligent as she is independent, with a Holmesian fascination with science particularly the chemistry of poisons....An entertaining, funny, exciting and engrossing novel -- Margaret Murphy * SHOTS * Oh how astonishing and pleasing is genuine originality! won the Debut Dagger award in 2007 and it would be hard to imagine a more worthy winner. This is a book which triumphantly succeeds in its objectives of charming and delighting. And on top of that it is genuinely original. I resort to - and it is very, very rarely that I use this - that old cliche, a must-read -- Nick Hay * REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE * A dark Nancy Drew set in a gothic Midsomer. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is delicious * WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY * The character of Flavia de Luce is one of the most original new leading characters that I have read in a long time. She is precocious, witty and adventurous...When you read the first sentence of this novel you enter the extraordinary world of Flavia de Luce and do not emerge until the book has finished. It's like entering the lost world of the Mitford sisters where the girls are allowed to run completely wild * CRIME SQUAD * Here's another candidate for our gallery of striking and apt covers, but looks apart, Alan Bradley's very unusual crime novel grabbed my interest as soon as I opened it...Fresh, original and fun! * CORNFLOWER * An absolute treat. It is original, clever, entertaining and funny....Philately and chemistry. Not a combination I could ever imagine being especially appealing. But Bradley really has something. The story-telling star dust that enables him to pull the whole tale together leading the wonderful Flavia through an extraordinary maze of mystery and intrigue and driving the reader to turn those pages in glorious anticipation * MATERIAL WITNESS * At once precocious and endearing, Flavia is a marvellous character. Quirkily appealing, this is definitely a crime novel with a difference' * CHOICE * This warm and funny novel begins when Flavia finds a dead body in her father's cucumber patch. She uses her scientific knowledge to investigate the death and uncovers some dark secrets about her own family's past. This is a clever, witty and totally gripping read with lots of surprises * ESSENTIALS * This is a charming period crime novel with a grotesque gallery of characters reminiscent of the inhabitants of Mervyn Peake's cult Gormeghast trilogy. It's 1950, and Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11-year-old with a fully equipped chemistry lab at the top of Buckshaw, the crumbling family seat, discovers a body in the cucumber patch. When Flavia announces this at breakfast, her news is met with indifference by her wonderfully appalling older sisters Ophelia and Daphne ("How very like you") -- Carla McKay * DAILY MAIL * (It) reads like a cross between Dodie Smith's I Capture The Castle (posh family fallen on hard times, dead mother, disengaged father, crumbling pile) and the Addams family (Flavia has a well-appointed laboratory where she makes poisons to test on her spiteful elder sisters). A strong plot, involving philately, ornithology and prestidigitation, and a wonderful supporting cast make this Canadian novelist's debut delightfully entertaining -- Laura Wilson * GUARDIAN * Told through the observations of science-experimenting snoop of an 11-year-old girl, this jolly-good-fun murder mystery is as indulgent as a Bunty annual. Flavia de Luce, daughter to a philatelist colonel father and late mother...proves herself as indomitable a sleuth as you would expect a girl who says "oh, piffle" to be * GOOD HOUSEKEEPING * Engaging, entertaining, bright and breezy; and above all, great fun! * Good Book Guide * Hilarious, eccentric and mischievous * Deadly Pleasures * It's like entering the lost world of the Mitford sisters where the girls are allowed to run completely wild * Crime Squad * At once precocious and endearing, Flavia is a marvellous character. Quirkily appealing, this is definitely a crime novel with a difference * Choice * A clever, witty and totally gripping read with lots of surprises * Essentials * Flavia is mercilessly addictive * Daily Telegraph * A breath of fresh air to the world of period-piece sleuthing * Independent * Flavia is enchanting * New York Times * Delightfully entertaining * Guardian * Certain to become a national treasure * Daily Mail * Praise for the cosy crime Flavia de Luce Mysteries - perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Midsomer Murders:The Flavia de Luce novels are now a cult favourite * Mail on Sunday *show more

About Alan Bradley

Alan Bradley is a retired Director of Televison Engineering at the Media Centre of the University of Saskatchewan, where he lectured on screen writing. He is the author of the memoir, THE SHOEBOX more

Rating details

110,644 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 27% (29,933)
4 39% (42,846)
3 25% (27,209)
2 7% (7,721)
1 3% (2,935)

Our customer reviews

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. For more of my reviews, please visit Thebookheap at wordpress. http://thebookheap.wordpress.comshow more
by Andrea Thompson
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