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Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

 

Blurb from Amazon:

 

It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions�stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively�Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite.

 

This novel was a great surprise and a lovely delight. It is a straight forward mystery devoid of any graphic scenes or sexual situations (a nice change now and then). It is funny, fast-paced and lighthearted; it is also, to my delight, very British.

 

I loved the writing style: smooth, swift and quite amusing. It is definitely written in the vocabulary of an older teenager or adult. I don�t think an eleven year old could actually get through it without a struggle (at least not a US pre-teen- US reading skills generally are appalling). Even though the mystery unfolds through the eyes and ears of a little girl, I think the novel is really written for an adult. It is almost nostalgic, taking you back to when you were 11.

 

The main character, Flavia, is simply fabulous: smart, resourceful and very brave, with a fragile but firm philosophy of �Me against the World.� She adores chemistry, particularly poisons, which makes for an intriguing little girl. It is amazing how a male author really delved into the character of Flavia and really captured her views of an adult world (absent minded father and deceased mother), her constant rivalry against her older sisters and her friendship (cemented through the instruction of lock picking) with an old shell-shocked gardener.

 

The plot of the mystery is really plain vanilla, but the delight of this novel is not in the mystery but in the characters of the mystery, particularly Flavia. This is apparently the first book in a series. So I shall be looking forward with great anticipation for the next installments.

 

I give it a 10/10

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Thanks for the very pleasant review. I saw this book in a bookstore this evening. It seemed interesting enough for me to go straight to the library to see if they had it. They're waiting it's arrival in the library collection so I have to wait a few weeks. I'm looking forward to this read. I'm going to enjoy it with tiramisu chocolate and tea, actually what I'm having right now. :)

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I read this earlier this year and absolutely LOVED it! Alan Bradley is amazingly talented IMO. I'm looking forward to reading his newest one :D.

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Didn't Alan Bradley get run over by a tram in Blackpool...?wink.gif

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There are three out now, listed on Amazon. I have the first, and Mac, I think you've made my decision as to what to pick up next easier. Actually, I'd almost forgotten I'd pulled it from the pile a few days ago in preparation.

 

Get a load of this as well, I ran across it by accident on Amazon just now! http://www.amazon.com/Ms-Holmes-Baker-Street-Sherlock/dp/0888644159/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1290743698&sr=8-6

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Oooh I just spied the newest Alan Bradley, Pontalba, yay! I had no idea he was writing another one so soon. I'm on the lookout now for 'The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Purse,' and will have to look for the newest one in February when it comes out. Good times! :D

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I just finished reading his second book.

I really loved the first one and I liked the second one. But I think it's not as good as the first one. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to book three and I am really fascinated by Flavia (thought about writing I like her, but actually, Flavia is not the sweet kind of girl you actually like :D ).

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I managed to read a little in Sweetness last night, and love the voice. Thanks for the nudge Readwine. :smile2:

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A few weeks ago our library collection finally added this book and it was certainly worth it! I enjoyed every sentence of this book. I love the humour and the unusual characters. The bits about chemistry and history make the book even more appealing. Absolutely love to buy this one some day. Flavia de Luce has become one of my favorite literary characters of all time. It's the best and most enjoyable detective I've ever read, because that's what it basically is. Well, I must say I haven't read that many detectives, but from the few I have, this one is the most excellent.

 

 

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A few weeks ago our library collection finally added this book and it was certainly worth it! I enjoyed every sentence of this book. I love the humour and the unusual characters. The bits about chemistry and history make the book even more appealing. Absolutely love to buy this one some day. Flavia de Luce has become one of my favorite literary characters of all time. It's the best and most enjoyable detective I've ever read, because that's what it basically is. Well, I must say I haven't read that many detectives, but from the few I have, this one is the most excellent.

 

Ditto to everything you just said, Sadya! I loved this book as well and Flavia de Luce is hilarious. Have you read the other Alan Bradley books in this series? I haven't yet, but I just picked up the second installment, The Weed the Strings the Hangman's Bag, since it just came out in paperback this month. I can't wait to read it!

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Ditto to everything you just said, Sadya! I loved this book as well and Flavia de Luce is hilarious. Have you read the other Alan Bradley books in this series? I haven't yet, but I just picked up the second installment, The Weed the Strings the Hangman's Bag, since it just came out in paperback this month. I can't wait to read it!

 

 

I haven't read it yet. I hope it'll be available here soon. I'm looking forward to reading more Alan Bradley books.

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2014 now, and this is how long I waited before reading part 2. I'm in chapter 20, so almost done now. It's still exciting and funny, as well as tragic.

 

Has anyone read the third book? What did you think about it? I'm planning to read it sooner now. That is a challenge since there is an ever growing list of books I'm equally interested in reading.

Edited by sadya

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I'm up to book 6, The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches, and it just gets better! :D

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^

Makes me want to read it all now. Which one is your favourite in the series?

I think the last two are. More resolution to the long range stories. :)

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I suppose I'm jumping on the bandwagon as a fan of Miss Flavia de Luce. ;) I'm reading the second one now and am truly enjoying it. I suppose the good thing about coming so late to the party is that I don't have to wait for the next one to be released!

 

On a side note, my Kindle keeps autocorrecting de Luce to death Lice. :D

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I just finished the first book and will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series at some point. Great stuff!

 

I was surprised to read in the end pages of my edition that Alan Bradley is actually Canadian and hadn't ever set foot in England until after this book was published (at age 69!). He certainly conjures up England very well for someone who hadn't been there before!

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Yes, he studied it a lot. I wonder why he didn't try to travel there earlier in life given that he loves the country so much?

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I just finished the first book and will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series at some point. Great stuff!

Yay, another Flavia de Luce fan!!!  :smile:  :exc:

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I just finished the first book and will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series at some point. Great stuff!

 

I was surprised to read in the end pages of my edition that Alan Bradley is actually Canadian and hadn't ever set foot in England until after this book was published (at age 69!). He certainly conjures up England very well for someone who hadn't been there before!

Brilliant .. so glad you liked it Kylie :) 

 

Yes .. he does indeed conjure up England very well. I hadn't a notion that he wasn't English until I read the end pages either. He knows his subject that's for sure.

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I am anxiously awaiting for The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie to become available at the library. I have read two of Bradley's books in the series and am 55% into a third. So far I have enjoyed all of them. Flavia is an enjoyable person.

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