Book Talk Tuesday: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I’ve seen this book by Alan Bradley around and highly recommended for a while, but I just got to it recently.

Flavia de Luce is ten years old and a budding chemist. She’s particularly interested in poisons and in the beginning of the book, she distills an elixir of poison oak extract and inserts it into her teenage sister’s lipstick. She waits with anticipation to see the results so she can add to her research journal.

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

Flavia’s two sisters are extremely self-absorbed, as is her father. He is still grieving Flavia’s mother’s death when Flavia was very young.

They live a quiet life in 1950 England. Until a stranger turns up dead under a cucumber vine in their kitchen garden.

Except he wasn’t really a stranger. Flavia had been awakened in the night and saw her father and the stranger arguing in Father’s study.

Flavia turns into a sleuth to figure out just who the man was and why he came to visit her father. When Father is arrested for the man’s murder, Flavia’s learns just what she’s capable of … and where she missed the mark.

I enjoyed this one a lot. Flavia is a completely new kind of narrator with a distinctive voice. I have the next book in the series, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag, on Mt. TBR and hope to get to it soon.

If you enjoy British cozy’s I think you’ll like this. I wouldn’t call it strictly a cozy, but it’s close.