10 June 2011

Review: The sweetness at the bottom of the pie - Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
published 2009
bought my copy, read the first chapter here

When 11 year old Flavia De Luce finds a dead man in the cucumber patch of her home, she is fascinated by the crime and how the man was killed. Flavia is not your normal child, she loves chemistry and experimenting with poison is her passion. When it turns out that her father is the main suspect, Flavia decides to start her own investigation. And so begins an extraordinary search for the real murderer and you can be sure that nothing will be able to stop Flavia from solving the crime. 

Wow, wow, wow. "The sweetness of the bottom of the pie" is one of funniest and extraordinary books I've ever read. Flavia is an amazing heroine and you just have to adore her (at least I did). She wrapped me round her finger and I can't wait to read more of her hilarious adventures. 

What makes this book so special is the heroine, Alan Bradley's very engaging writing style and the unique humour. Flavia tends to be a bit macabre and has a dry sense of humour, both are things I love. There were so many scenes in this book that made me chuckle or laugh out loud, I enjoyed every sentence of the story immensly. I especially loved the scenes in which Flavia took revenge on her sister (in such a brilliant and mean way, totally loved it), rode on her bicycle Gladys and whenever she thought about her much-loved chemistry and especially poisons. Her excitement for everything that has to do with chemistry was contagious and the little chemic details she thought about never got boring. 

Some readers might think that an eleven year old girl is an odd choice for the heroine of a mystery novel, but I can assure you that she is perfect for this role. Flavia is a compelling character and every scene with her was a joy to read. 
You just have to love Flavia's analytical mind, her love for details, her smart-aleck comments, her vibrant fantasy and her enthusiam. There's something very special about the way she thinks about life and I'm so happy that there are more books with Flavia to enjoy. 
The mystery part of the story is interesting and the setting of the book in 1950 adds something special to the story. The historical facts about the time add to the story without overloading it. Since reading this book a few days ago I already bought copies of it for both my sister and my mother because "The sweetness of the bottom of the pie" is too good to not share it with other readers. 

If you are interested in this story I would recommend you to read the free first chapter (see link at the top of this post) to see if you enjoy the kind of humour and writing style Alan Bradley uses.

I like it because it's different and stands out. Plus it fits to the story. 

final appraisal
Wow, what a funny, interesting, hilarious and amazing book. Flavia de Luce is a heroine I adore and I can't wait to read more about her life, her chemical experiments and her adventures.
I would recommend this book to all readers who enjoy mysteries with an unique heroine and special kind of humour.


  1. Sounds so good! I remember seeing the cover of this book recently, and it really stuck in my mind. Your review makes me want to read it!

  2. Fantastic review. This is definitely going on my reading list.

  3. You are right, at first I though: reading about an 11 year old girl? That is so not my thing. But when you described her, her humor and love for chemistry and stuff, I started liking her already and am just curious about her. So yes, wishlist added.

  4. Yay, great to read that you all like the sound of the book. I want everyone to love this book.

  5. Great review! I found this book incredibly refreshing and, as you said, hilarious. Love Flavia!

  6. I just picked this one up about a week ago but i haven't gotten to it yet. I'm glad to hear it's good!

  7. I love Flavia and her adventures :) She´s such a crazy girl. At the moment I´m reading the second part of this series and it seems to be as good as the first book.

    Great review




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