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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most engaging characters I've ever met in a book....
Oh I loved, loved, loved this book!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie introduces us to eleven year old Flavia DeLuce. She lives with her father and two sisters in an old mansion in 1950's England. The house is full of nooks and crannies - and a old chemistry lab. Flavia practices making poisons there. (yes poisons!) She and her older sisters are constantly...
Published on Feb. 4 2009 by Luanne Ollivier

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully unique main character; just an average mystery
My Review: I went into this book, the beginning of a series, with pretty much no information on it. I only knew that it was Canadian and I recognized the cover because the series is popular in the library where I work. What I came away with was a solid debut with a very unique main character.

Flavia is in a category all her own. She has quite an engaging...
Published 1 month ago by The Baking Bookworm


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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most engaging characters I've ever met in a book...., Feb. 4 2009
By 
Luanne Ollivier - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
Oh I loved, loved, loved this book!

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie introduces us to eleven year old Flavia DeLuce. She lives with her father and two sisters in an old mansion in 1950's England. The house is full of nooks and crannies - and a old chemistry lab. Flavia practices making poisons there. (yes poisons!) She and her older sisters are constantly thinking of ways to torment each other. Their eccentric father keeps himself occupied with his philatelic obsession.We are introduced to Flavia in the first paragraph of the novel....

"It was as black in the closet as old blood. They had shoved me in and locked the door. I breathed heavily through my nose, fighting desperately to remain calm. I tried counting to ten on every intake of breath, and to eight as I released each one slowly into the darkness. Luckily for me, they had pulled the gag so tightly into my open mouth that my nostrils were left unobstructed, and I was able to draw in one slow lungful after another of the stale, musty air."

Flavia escapes unharmed, but plans to pay her sisters back. However, the appearance of a dead bird with a postage stamp speared through it's beak and her father's horrified reaction distract her. But it is the dead body found in the cucumber patch that really enthralls her. When her father is arrested for the murder, Flavia sets out to solve the crime on her own.

Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book. The crime is interesting, but it is Flavia's personality that is the real draw for me.

"Whenever I'm out of doors and find myself wanting to have a first-rate think, I fling myself down on my back, throw my arms and legs out so that I look like an asterisk, and gaze at the sky. For the first little while, I'm usually entertained by my 'floaters, those wormy little strings of protein that swim to and fro across one's field of vision like dark little galaxies. When I'm not in a hurry, I stand on my head to stir them, up, and then lie back to watch the show, as if it were an animated cinema film."

Although the idea of an eleven year old for a protagonist seems unusual for an adult detective novel, it just somehow works. Harriet the Spy for grown ups. (I really wanted to be Harriet when I was younger!)

This is the first in a series that Bradley has planned - The Buckshaw Chronicles. I will be on the edge of my seat waiting for the second!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll Go For Another Slice ..., Feb. 25 2009
By 
Dave and Joe (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Wonderful writing, incredible detail, terrific story ... and a heroine who is 11 years old. After a few pages I had to stop, say to myself out loud 'suspend disbelief' and then will myself to accept the lead character as a possibility. After that bit of work, I had a romping good time. Flavia is a charmer, brave when she needs to be, girlish when she wants to be, clever constantly. I'll read more. The author would be well advised himself to remember that Flavia is 11 years old ... as I think on occasion in the writing of this book, he forgot that fact.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully unique main character; just an average mystery, June 20 2014
By 
My Review: I went into this book, the beginning of a series, with pretty much no information on it. I only knew that it was Canadian and I recognized the cover because the series is popular in the library where I work. What I came away with was a solid debut with a very unique main character.

Flavia is in a category all her own. She has quite an engaging voice and humour which was, honestly, my favourite part of the book. Now, I know that some readers have taken exception to eleven year old Flavia's voice because she does give off a 'too old and wise for her years' feeling. Sure she's refreshing, precocious and tenacious but you will need to suspend your belief that there was such a brilliant, well-spoken eleven year old with science expertise out there in the 1950's. That said, her banter with her older sisters was what made the book for me and I really enjoyed her.

The book is set in a small town England in the 1950's which I found interesting and refreshing. Unfortunately I found the mystery to be just okay. It wasn't very complicated or, truth be told, overly riveting for me. A few times I was a step ahead of Flavia's deductions but it was Flavia and her unique wit that kept me captivated.

Note: For those readers who are not fans of blatant violence and/or swearing then this may be a book for you as both were minimal throughout the book.

I think this would be a good, cozy read and I will most likely be picking up the next book in this six book series.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

** This book review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written mystery., May 26 2014
This review is from: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Paperback)
This is one of my favourite mystery book I've read. The characters are incredibly unique and engaging. The detective in this story is Flavia de Luce, who is an 11 year old chemist who uses her special skills to track down a killer. Flavia is instantly lovable, her general disregard for the rules and strained relationship with her sisters will take her into the hearts of readers.

Definitely check out this great book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, May 9 2014
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Book 1, in the Flavia de Luce series

This is a delightful old fashioned mystery set in the English countryside in 1950. It features Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old amateur sleuth who pulls herself away from her beloved chemistry lab in order to clear her father in a murder investigation. This debut novel was written in 2009 and was well received by critics, 5 more books were written for adults and have since been published.

Flavia de Luce is a brilliant, bold, adorable and a gem of a character. She comes alive on the page and her voice is so distinctive, a precocious young heroine with extraordinary vocabulary (she certainly has a doozy one) it is hard not to be engaged by this compelling lead detective. Although I was totally absorbed by this tale I do question to whom this book was meant to appeal? When an 11 year old girl is the protagonist you would think a younger audience is the target but when a language has such a deep level and details paint realistic experiences it makes for a tedious read and may be a bit much for the younger minds. Oh! Yes I remember this series is for adults…. Hum…ok.

Flavia is far too mature for her age, putting this aside was my best bet to enjoy this mystery at its fullest. In fact I now say this story is rather captivating, one that moves quickly giving us bits and pieces until we have the final picture. There are a lots of clues covertly hidden waiting for us to discover and this is a fun pleasure. Added to all this mix is a touch of humour. This is an uplifting adventure that was slow to grab me but it finally did as I further read along.

Next “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag” is on my TBR list….I give Mr. Bradley thumbs up for picked such original titles.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poor cover, March 16 2014
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This review is from: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Paperback)
Love the story, but purchased used, and was a bit disappointed in the condition of the cover. It was smelly and quite soiled - worse than I had expected, but my Granddaughter seems to like it as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars New, fresh mystery, Feb. 3 2014
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A new take on the old formula! Flavia is utterly engaging, and totally wonderful! Alan Bradley is a rising star in this genre. I look forward to reading all the rest!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Flavia strikes again, Aug. 10 2013
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The quirkily endearing 11 year old Flavia de Luce solves the mystery.

Recommended for British mystery lovers.

Enjoyable on Kindle.
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3.0 out of 5 stars fun, silly, light, Aug. 7 2013
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This was a nice light summer read. The main character is likeable enough that the reader easily forgives the implausibility of manynof the plot twists.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not so _cozy_, June 20 2013
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Bill - See all my reviews
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I enjoy mystery novels that fit in the _cozy_ category -- that is, mystery, detection, character development without serial killers, forensic gore, or the supernatural. So Bradley's novels provide this; however, there is the deep blackness of the relationship between the main character, Flavia, and her sisters, which is bleak, ugly, and painful.
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (Paperback - Nov. 10 2009)
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