The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie
By Alan Bradley
Canadian author Bradley brings us the first installment of this mystery series featuring precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, the youngest of the motherless de Luce girls. They live at Buckshaw, the family’s crumbling manor house, along with their widowed father, his shell shocked valet Dogger, and Mrs. Mullet, their cook. Flavia silently observes those around her and stealthily plays tricks on her sisters. When a stranger is found dead in their garden, Flavia sets to work identifying him. She utilizes the Victorian era chemistry lab on the top floor of Buckshaw, the domain of a long dead relative. On her trusty bicycle, Gladys, Flavia wanders far and wide to solve the mystery which also involves a valuable Penny Black stamp belonging to her father. She exasperates local Police Inspector Hewitt but he is patient and wise in dealing with her and they make a great detective team. Set in the bleak period just after WW II, the story also offers a history lesson on the dramatic social changes that resulted from the war. A second story in the series, The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag, is due in March 2010.