The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
by Alan Bradley
My mom recommended The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I actually started it maybe a year or two ago and didn’t love it. It’s one of her favorite series though, and I’ve been reading more mysteries, so I decided to give it another try. This time I liked it! I loved the main character, Flavia, and her love of chemistry and poisons. My only critique was that it took me forever to read. As much as I enjoyed the story and characters, I found myself reading a bit and then putting it down to read something else. It wasn’t until I got to the last handful of chapters that I picked up my pace.
Flavia is a ten year old girl living with her dad and two older sisters in England. Her mother died when Flavia was born and she’s never gotten along with her sisters. Flavia’s love is chemistry. She has an entire room devoted to her laboratory, filled with chemicals, tubes and books. She is also particularly intrigued by poisons and their antidotes. One day, Flavia comes across a dead man in their garden and launched an investigation. Spoilers: the story follows Flavia all around town as she integrates neighbors and works on unraveling the mystery. She is under pressure because her father is arrested as he is accused of the murder and the inspector on the case doesn’t trust Flavia. In the end, she figures out that the murderer is an old school mate of her father’s, who was trying to blackmail her father with the man who died. The blackmail revolved around an extremely rare stamp. Flavia gets in trouble with the murderer, almost getting killed herself, but is saved by their loyal family friend, Dodger, who also helps capture the murderer. Then life returns mostly to normal.
Summing it up: this book was cute, sweet, and very interesting. It would have nicer if it read quicker, but ultimately I enjoyed it a lot and I’d recommend it!
All the best, Abbey