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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Book:

Flavia lives with her father and her two elder siblings Ophelia and Daphne in a historic mansion. The family cook Mrs.Mullet and their gardener Dogger are there as help. Dogger also doubles as Flavia’s mentor and her best friend teaching her important tricks such as lock-picking.

Things get stirred up when they find a dead bird at their doorstep with a stamp tagged to its beak. This is the first time her father appears scared. Very soon, she finds a dead man on their cucumber patch who utters his final word ‘Vale’.

Who is this dead man and more importantly who or what killed him? Could her father be the killer or was it the infamous pie made by Mrs. Mullet? What was the significance of the stamp in the dead bird’s beak? Flavia is determined to do a lot of sleuthing and uncover the truth..

The View:

I picked this book for my book club meeting but could not eventually make it because of other commitments. I always make it a point to read books that are lined up for book club meetings (even if I can’t make it). Not only are they such interesting choices but they also provide me with the varied genre reading that I am so serious about these days.

“The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” is a story about an extra-smart 11-year-old girl Flavia de Luce. This mystery is clean with no sexual situations, violent villains or obnoxious psycho killers… and solved the age-old way with just pure brilliance, a lot of guts and some superior knowledge about chemistry. The slight humor, sibling rivalry and the dreaded pie added a nice touch to the story.

Flavia is a fascinating young girl. She has a passion for poison, enjoys quarrelling with her siblings and getting into places/situations where she is not supposed to be. She stands out as a brilliant sleuth and more than once I had to remind myself that she was only 11 years old.. that is when her bicycle rides and her sibling quarrels did not remind me of her age.

I thought this would remind me of the Nancy Drew books that I used to love reading when I was young, but this mystery is a class apart. Rated a 5 on 5 as this book delivered more than what I expected. It caters to all ages and I will definitely read it with my lil girl someday.

Mental note: If you have a sibling like Flavia DO NOT (I repeat), DO NOT use lipstick 🙂



4 Responses

  1. I’ve went back and forth on this one, but after reading your great review I will definitely have to pick this one up….

  2. I’m going to check this book out thanks to your review! Thanks for posting!

  3. Kavyen, excellent review! I have been dying to read Red Herring Without Mustard, another Flavia story, because I’ve so much good about Alan Bradley’s books. Thank you for mentioning the cleanliness of the content, as that is always a concern for me and for the book club too.

  4. been meaning to read this one since last year. LOL – now i must read it sooner to find out about the lipstick

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