The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: Buckshaw Chronicles #1 by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flavia de Luce is a self-taught chemist who adores experiments and poisons. She’s also 11. She, Ophelia, and Daphne, her two older sisters, live with their reclusive stamp collecting father in the family’s ancestral home of Buckshaw. Flavia amuses herself by distilling decoctions and fighting with her sisters. Until first a dead bird with a postage stamp on its beak shows up on their doorstep. And then a dead man shows up in their garden. Flavia is thrilled and throws herself into solving the mystery. Bradley keeps his plot whirring along. Flavia cycles from Buckshaw all over creation investigating clues: breaking into houses, spying, sneaking into rooms at the local inn. At least it’s all for a good cause. And Bradley makes it clear from the outset that Flavia is not your typical pre-adolescent. So finding her picking locks isn’t much of a surprise. In spite of her many scurrilous activities, Flavia doesn’t take advantage of the people around her. She’s doggedly focused on solving the mystery and does what she feels necessary towards that end. Which do tend a smidge on the gruesome side. TSBP has suicides in addition to the murders, and a kidnapping. I’d rate it as a little more descriptive than a typical newspaper article, but less so than a tabloid. Minimal reveling. It’s a fast-paced, page turner of a murder mystery, with an unusual and remarkable heroine. I look forwards to more books about her adventures.

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