Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old chemist who lives in Bishop’s Lacey in 1950. At her Buckshaw home, she has her own laboratory where she conducts her experiments, which include making one of her sisters have an allergic reaction to her lipstick. Flavia’s sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, could care less about chemistry. Instead, one likes reading, while the other likes boys. Then, one day, Flavia discovers a dead man in the cucumber patch. Flavia decides that she will solve this murder. With her bike, Gladys, Flavia rides around town to find out all she can about the dead man. What she learns is that stamps and her father are somehow connected to the murder…
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a refreshing and charming read. This is labeled as an adult novel, but it’s definitely a crossover. Teens (and maybe even younger) will enjoy Flavia’s adventure. Parents will also be happy because the novel has no sex and no strong language. There is a bit of black humor in the novel which keeps the novel from getting boring. To give you an example, Flavia’s favorite chemical is arsenic. I really enjoyed the world that Bradley created. I liked that Bradley gave a family history of de Luces. Readers learn about her father, mother, and several other relatives. Bradley also did a great job incorporating the setting. I mean, the book just screamed British countryside. I read an interview with Bradley, who’s a Canadian, on amazon (link below), and I learned that he didn’t visit England until 2007 which shocked me. The book makes it seem that Bradley lived a good portion of his life in England. His mom was born in England, so that helps explain how he created such a vivid setting, although I’m still impressed.
The only negative I really had with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is that I guessed the murderer about halfway through the novel. Obviously, this ruined the mystery, but being able to guess the murderer did not ruin the book.
If you are looking for a murder mystery with some charm, then read this. Also, it is a series. Yay!