The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Feb 10 2009)

ISBN-10: 0385665822

ISBN-13: 978-0385665827

Late in January, I was perusing the “upcoming releases” on a major book-selling website, and came across the title A Red Herring Without Mustard, a murder mystery with an 11-year old detective. It just had to be looked into. I quickly discovered this was actually the third book in a series about the incorrigible Flavia DeLuce.

I immediately noted the author’s name and the title of the other books, and added them to my “to-be-read” list. The next day, I get an invite to the February book club meeting which read:

The Sweetness at The Bottom of the Pie

So, everyone was wishing there was a lighter read on the list, and I happened to have this one in my purse. Gina called quorum and so here we are. The opening drew me in and I am quite enjoying this little murder mystery so far…

I missed book club because of a family event, and still they picked the one book I just decided I had to read. Serendipitous, no?

This was a fun book to read. Flavia is a perfect heroine. I was always wondering what she was going to do next. There has not been such a precocious young girl in fiction since Anne Shirley. I cheered for her, I felt for her, I wished she would stop getting herself into such ridiculous situations. But I did love reading about her.

While the amusing thoughts and deductions of the heroine kept me reading, I just didn’t get into the story, or the style. It is written about an 11-year-old, but it is not a children’s, or even young adult book. The grammar and vocabulary didn’t seem to match the plot. Also, the family relationships were just not believable. I know he was going for overly exaggerated discord between the sisters, and the stereotypical emotionally distant father, but they were all so cold, it was hard to root for anyone.

I am intrigued enough by Flavia, and glimpses into her father’s character that I will likely read more. I’ve been trying to get back into mystery reads, which I used to love, and maybe this is the series I need to get that started.

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