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4.0 out of 5 stars
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on June 20, 2013
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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on March 16, 2014
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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on August 7, 2013
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2010
When I read the back of this book in the bookstore I was excited. I am a chemistry buff and when I read that the main character was an aspiring eleven year old chemist named Flavia de Luce I just had to buy it.
When I read the back of this book in the bookstore I was excited. I am a chemistry buff and when I read that the main character was an aspiring eleven year old chemist named Flavia de Luce I just had to buy it.

The book takes place in the summer of 1950. Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him die. Thus starts the mystery of who killed this man and why a dead bird with a postage stamp pinned on its beak was found on the doorstep of Flavia's home.

Flavia is the youngest of three girls in a family who has lost the matriarch of the home. A budding chemist who loves to torture her sisters, Flavia is smart and loves to roam and learn. Her father is into philately and is removed emotionally from the girls and seems quite unaware of their lives. When the father is arrested for murder, Flavia is determined to solve the mystery of the dead man from the cucumber patch.

I was expecting a lot from this book and unfortunately I was disappointed. Mysteries always seem to disappoint me due to lack of character development and so much emphasis on plot, but I thought this one might be different, but it was not. I was hoping for more chemistry and more attachment to characters; the book did not deliver either.

"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley should appeal to those who love mysteries without gore, violence or bad language. It is a squeaky clean book, which is a good thing. It contains enough chemistry and poisons to entertain those who just want a spattering of chemistry knowledge and it also provides a good dose of knowledge about philately.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2009
Flavia, the main character of this book is indeed a precocious 11 year old girl.She also is extremely witty and wise. Unfortunately, she is also the narrator of the story... The text is rich and full of beautiful imagery but, try as I may, I cannot rid myself of the adult who has actually written the book. As I read, the little voice keeps saying: "This is not real...not real...not real, or for that matter realistic.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2009
This book was more of an adolescent read. It was easy to follow and I did enjoy the character. But,to me, it lacked depth. Ifelt for Fiona and how lonely she was.
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