The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Since I’m writing a mystery (rewrites coming to an end soon!), I’ve been trying to read all the award winning mysteries of the last few years. That brought me to Alan Bradley’s book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. When I first saw this book hit the shelves back in 2009, I assumed it must be about the South, since the title seemed such a southern kind of phrase. I was quite surprised, then, when I began reading it that it was actually set in England in 1950.

The lead character is an 11 year old girl who has a passion for poison. And while I’ve only read a couple of adult books books with child protagonists, I’m certain that few are as clever or as much fun as Flavia de Luce.

This aspiring chemist claimed my interest immediately and I couldn’t put the book down. It’s smart in the way that I like mysteries to be–highly intellectual and filled with facts. I admit that I’ve learned quite a bit about chemical compounds and their effects on the body.

But I also enjoyed the impeccable details of English life in the post-war years. Since I’ve read a lot of nonfiction on this period, I know that Bradley is spot on with this descriptions–and also in the ways in which some of the psychological elements could have spoken to the post WWI era, as well as to post WWII.

A fantastic read that will inform as well as delight. Here’s a video trailer of the book.

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