The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

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Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains a The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie discussion guide and an excerpt from Alan Bradley's The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag.

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
 

About Alan Bradley

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ALAN BRADLEY was born in Toronto and grew up in Cobourg, Ontario. Prior to taking early retirement to write in 1994, he was director of television engineering at the University of Saskatchewan media center for twenty-five years. His versatility has earned him awards for his children's books, radio broadcasts of his short stories, and national print for his journalism. He also coauthoredMs. Holmes of Baker Street, to great acclaim and much controversy, followed by a poignant memoir,The Shoebox Bible. Now the internationally bestselling author ofThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, A Red Herring Without Mustard, andI Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Bradley lives in Malta with his wife and two calculating cats, where he is at work on future Flavia de Luce mysteries.
 
Published April 24, 2009 by Delacorte Press. 306 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Kirkus Reviews

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A precocious 11-year-old chemist confesses to murder.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Publishers Weekly

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Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Canadian journalist Bradley's rollicking debut. In an early 1950s English v

Feb 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BC Books

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After recently following The Mysterious Affair at Styles, I strongly felt the urge to return to the ...Dark deeds done in an idealized pastoral setting: a classic summer mystery set-up.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BC Books

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When is a book a child’s book? When is it adult fiction? And when does it fall into that n...The first in the Flavia de Luce mysteries.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BC Books

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If your younger advanced readers are interested in the book, it would be recommended families read it together, creating opportunity to show kids how to identify these cues (improving their discernment skills, which are important to their own maturation of wisdom).

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BC Books

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is exquisitely detailed in its description, whether it be Flavia’s ongoing dialogue narrating the story (and she is certainly quite a talkative character!) or the description of surroundings and experiences.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BC Books

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Scientifically minded — with a particular affinity toward poisons — she doesn’t conform to the outmoded standards of girlish gentility to which her sisters aspire.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

All About Romance

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Flavia de Luce, girl sleuth, makes a roaring first appearance in Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

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Examiner

Flavia is convinced that the man was somehow poisoned by the custard pie that her family refused to eat earlier in the day, but she needs to find a way to prove it...Before long, she is pulled into a series of events involving rare stamps, dead birds, a possible suicide, and even a kidnapping.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Book Reporter

One evening, 11-year-old Flavia de Luce discovers a dead blackbird on her doorstep, a postage stamp impaled on its bill.

Apr 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Entertainment Weekly

When Flavia de Luce — the 11-year-old heroine of Alan Bradley's sophisticated, series-launching crime novel The Sweetness At the Bottom Of the Pie — finds a man dying in the garden of her family estate, she crouches beside his body and watches with scientific detachment as he expires, taking note...

May 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

All About Romance

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While Jason feels that Brianna is the one for him, Brianna is less certain.

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Suite 101

Janet Evanovich is one of those writers who can make a reader laugh out loud and she has done it again with Smokin' Seventeen.

Aug 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

The Bookbag

In 1950 at Buckshaw, the crumbling stately home of the de Luce family, Flavia de Luce is very nearly eleven years old and she's planning revenge on her sisters Ophelia – known as Feely – and Daphne who's generally called Daffy.

Mar 09 2014 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

USA Today

Flavia de Luce, an aspiring young chemist, stumbles across the body of a dying man.

Apr 01 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

BookPage

At the center of it all is precocious, funny, slightly annoying Flavia, with her mousy brown braids and knack for getting out of tight spots (it helps to be little).

Aug 31 2014 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Reviewing the Evidence

[ Home ].

Aug 31 2014 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Oregon Live

One Flavia designs for Ophelia grows from the observation "that a charge of lipstick is precisely the size of a .45 caliber slug" and Flavia's love of chemistry.

Jul 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Teen Reads

Not to worry --- you aren’t the one who needs to know what’s in some of the clues left behind by the murderer, and you don’t need to know the formula for distilling poison ivy leaves into… Well, I don’t want to provide spoilers, but let’s just say that, left to her own devices, Flavia holds her own.

Apr 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Mysterious Reviews

Review: Alan Bradley's novel, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, is the 1950s debut for eleven-year-old English sleuth and chemistry buff, Flavia Salina Dolores de Luca or "Flave" as she calls herself.

Mar 16 2013 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Alan Bradley’s sprightly prose is sharply observant and yet often funny too: at one point, Flavia remembers a piece of Ophelia’s bullseye advice, ” ‘If ever you’re accosted by a man…kick him in the Casanovas and run like the blue blazes!’ “ Trouble is, still pre-pubescent Flavia doesn’t “know whe...

Apr 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Shots

This is a murder mystery in the traditional setting of an old country house, but The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie takes a distinctly untraditional slant which results in a richly rewarding reading experience.

Jan 22 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Bookshelves of Doom

29 March 2013 in Books - Grown Up, Books - Historical Fiction, Books - Mysteries, Reviews |

Mar 29 2013 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

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My favorite parts of the book were actually not the parts pertaining directly to the mystery, but rather the “padding” of Flavia experimenting on her sisters, sassing off to the detective, singing at the top of her lungs as she rode her trusty bike Gladys around town, etc.

Jun 02 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

So Misguided

A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective.

Aug 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sweetness at the Bottom o...

Reader Rating for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
79%

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