Tuesday, October 18, 2011

November pick...The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite. --Lauren Nemroff


Annell said...

I was hooked on this book from the first line. Flavia is one of the funniest and quirkiest characters I've come across. I love how intelligent she is along with her clever come backs and comments. I will definitely read this one again and am excited to read the rest of the series!

Favorite Quotes:
"So that was it. As at birth, so at death. Without so much as a kiss-me-quick-and-mind-the-marmalade, the only female in sight is enlisted to trot off and see that the water is boiled. Rustle up something, indeed! What did he take me for, some kind of cowboy?"

I hated Mrs. Mullet's seed biscuits the way Saint Paul hated sin. Perhaps even more so. I wanted to clamber up onto the table, and with a sausage on the end of a fork as my scepter, shout in my best Laurence Olivier voice, "Will no one rid us of this turbulent pastry cook?"

Anonymous said...

What a great pick Stephanie. This book has been in my "to be read" pile for about 2 years. Thanks for getting me to read it. ;)

Flavia cracks me up. She is someone who I would like to be friends with. I definitely wouldn't want her as an enemy! I rarely understand English slang - but I'm pretty sure that Flavia is cheeky. And I love it. I will continue to read the rest of the Flavia books.

Favorite Quote - The ones Annell picked and:

"The book's title was An Elementary Study of Chemistry, and within moments it had taught me that the word iodine comes from a word meaning "violet," and that the name bromine was derived from a Greek word meaning "a stench." These were the sorts of things I needed to know!" pg. 15

Lauri said...

I can't say I loved this book, however, I did read it to the end, without reading the end before its time. I thought Flavia was too smart for an eleven year old and think her age should be a little older. It also stressed me when she kept ruining the crime scenes. Like Linda I don't want to be her enemy or have her sisters in my family.

Favorite Quotes:
"It occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week." p.58

"And in that instant I decided that I liked Mary, even if she didn't like me. Anyone who knew the word slattern was worth cultivating as a friend." p.87

"Charles Darwin had once pointed out that the fiercest competition for survival came from one's own tribe, and as the fifth of six children-and three older sisters-he was obviously in a position to know what he was talking about." p.224

Candy said...

I haven't finished it yet, but I have to say I love Lauri's quote about the library. It fits her perfectly and makes me smile.

Anne said...

I enjoyed the book. I enjoy the quotes when I read them, but I can't remember them to use here. What happened to Harriet? I kept waiting for the explanation of her death. I agree with Lauri about Flavia's age and precociousness. She shouldn't have messed with crime scenes. I thought it was sad that she didn't get along with her sisters, and the father needed to be more of a presence it their lives. But it is fictional, so I'll let it go.