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Book: The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie

September 5, 2010
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OK, can we talk about how much I love the cover of this book? I love everything about it — the green, the typesetting, the bird image and the orange stamp… this one now ranks among my all-time favorite book covers.

And hey, the book wasn’t too bad, either.

I read this a couple weeks ago — have been SO BUSY but wanted to get a few thoughts down for posterity before I forget it entirely.

If you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil this with hints, but this was about as charming and fun as a murder mystery can get, without totally losing that delicious undercurrent of darkness which makes murder mysteries so compelling.

Miss Flavia de Luce, 11 years old, has so far spent her life happily experimenting with chemistry (“Chemistry! Chemistry! How I love it!”) and plotting ways to poison her sisters (not quite as sinister as that sounds). She lives in a rambling old estate in England with her father, two sisters (Daphne and Ophelia), a housekeeper and a groundskeeper. When she comes out to the garden one morning and finds a man there, breathing his last word, she is far from frightened. No, in fact, it’s the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to her, and soon she is embroiled in the small-town mystery, much to the chagrin of local police (especially when she proves to be far more adept at finding clues than they).

How can you not love this? Small English village, smart and quirky heroine (makes me want to re-read Harriet the Spy), satisfying mystery, librarians, poisons, danger, and two annoying older sisters. I did have to laugh that Daphne is the one with her nose constantly stuck in the books. Not at all a YA book, but rides that line of narrating from a very smart 11-year-old’s perspective while not losing the deeper adult darkness of murder and deception. There are places where Flavia, as a child, cannot pick up the larger scope of what is happening, but we, as readers, can. This is a nice perspective, while still never condescending to Flavia.

Add me to the list of Flavia’s fans — I can’t wait for another one to come out. Hopefully complete with another fantastic book cover.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2010 11:31 am

    oh this sounds so wonderful. i want to reread harriet the spy now too.

    also, i see youve amended your reading goal. so have i. im just taking it easy and seeing how many i can get through with no hard and fast goal. ive only read 26 or 27 so far this year.

    • September 6, 2010 11:28 am

      Harriet re-read party!!

      I know — I have not been reading much this year but I have good excuses for it. Not like anyone but me is counting!!

  2. September 5, 2010 2:50 pm

    Gah, I really can’t believe that I haven’t read this yet!! It sounds so good. I must get to it soon. And her name is Daphne 🙂 Love it! Sounds like a gem of a book!

    • September 6, 2010 11:28 am

      Daphne is Flavia’s sister, but she’s a good character. I hope the sister characters get more development in the next book!

  3. September 5, 2010 8:00 pm

    I’m a sucker for book covers myself.

    This is a good one.

    • September 6, 2010 11:29 am

      I am totally into the green. Now I’m wondering if I should paint my new art room bright white, and accent it with apple green and orange art.

  4. September 6, 2010 4:49 am

    I always judge books by their covers. Wrong, I know. But I admit it. This sounds like it could be right up my alley because I love a mystery and the Brits do them best of all.

    • September 6, 2010 11:30 am

      I do too! Oh well. I think you would really enjoy this — especially on a cozy winter day. It was a really fun book.

  5. September 8, 2010 4:54 pm

    It was the cover that caught my eye right from the beginning and I was so taken with the book when I read it that I couldn’t help but slobber effusively in my review. The second book is out now, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, and although they didn’t print the image directly on the cover like the did with the first hardback, the cover is still very cool.

  6. September 8, 2010 4:58 pm

    What a great title! I can’t wait to read the second one!

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