Monday, June 8, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
There's no question why this book won the Debut Dagger Award of the Crimewriter's Association. Flavia de Luce is charming and delightful and snarky and intelligent. She doesn't follow the rules and she definitely isn't a girly girl.

It begins with Flavia tied up in the closet. But things are not as they might seem and the wicked deed has not yet been committed. Flavia has just been preyed upon by her siblings Ophelia and Daphne (or as we come to know them Feely and Daffy). But the sibling rivalry is just a counterpoint to the soon to be main mystery of who killed the man in the cucumber patch? Was it Flavia's father? Is her father protecting faithful servant Dogger? Is Flavia more on the ball than Inspecter Hewitt? And why does Mrs. Mullet keep baking custard pies when ALL the de Luces abhor them? And if the de Luces hate custard pie, who ate that one slice?

I am happy to say that this book does answer your questions in the most well written and engaging manner. There are several passages that are so expressive. Here is one of my favorites (page 49):

"It was at this very moment that Mrs Mullet pushed open the door with her ample bottom, and waddled into the room with a loaded tray.

"I've brought out some nice seed biscuits," she said. "Seed biscuits and tea and a nice glass of milk for Miss Flavia."

Seed biscuit and milk! 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?"

End quote. Oh my. What imagery. What word choices. I love Flavia. I wish she went to my school so I could have her in my advisory. She rocks. This is the perfect summer book.

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