Monday, November 14, 2011
Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Flavia de Luce is a chemistry prodigy with a special interest in poisons. At age eleven she can craft a variety of poisons in her attic laboratory. As the child of a distracted single father, Flavia is frequently left to her own devices, as are her two self-obsessed sisters. One day a dead bird with a stamp on its beak, and a dead man, turn up at the De Luce estate. What follows is a bizarre trip into the past, stamp collecting, and chemistry. Flavia quickly proves that she can out-investigate the local police.
This book is nothing if not original. I've never met a character quite like Flavia. I did find the book to be a bit on the long side. An eleven year-old protagonist, no matter how unique, cannot necessarily sustain 300+ pages of interest. I found that to be the case here. If the book was reduced by a third it would have been cleaner, tighter, and more enjoyable. Overall an entertaining and unique read, and I will likely look for more books in this series.
Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Bantam, 2010) ISBN: 0385343493