Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Monday, June 29, 2009

Set in the 1950's, Alan Bradley's
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a good book with a wonderful heroine.

Eleven-year-old chemistry genius Flavia de Luce has a maybe-dysfunctional, maybe-typical relationship with her two sisters. They seem to hate one another, but they do work together sometimes.

Flavia's special interest in poisons gives the book a tinge of horror and of humor.

When the authorities accuse Flavia's father of murder, Flavia investigates. She finds the murder has its roots in the theft of two priceless stamps. It is also rooted in another murder. To get to the heart of the evil, Flavia has to learn about her father's school days at Greyminister.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is filled with exquisite detail. You will, for example, learn about the marking system for old British stamps. You will also learn more than you can ever understand about chemistry and chemicals. The book ends with Flavia instructing the police inspector on the ins and outs of chemistry.

I saw this book as a wonderfully-written kind of cozy. The book's complex story involved a myriad of details which all dovetailed in the end.

I might prefer less well-rounded books, books which are a little more messy, where the whole plot seems more real, but there's no denying the craft and genius of
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

A couple days ago, I mentioned how Sonja Sotomayor claims to have been influenced by Nancy Drew. This is certainly a book which could influence budding lawyers (or more likely chemists).


pattinase (abbott) said...

I was kind of disappointed with this book. It was sweet and sounded authentically 1950, but too mannered and it lack excitement and tension.

Joe Barone said...

You can tell from what I wrote that I some mixed feelings. If I were using a five star rating system, I'd give the book four stars. On the basis of the hype around the book, I had expected a strong five.

pattinase (abbott) said...

or a six.