Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I’m a year (or two) behind the times—but, hey, I’ve been living in Turkey—and finally read Alan Bradley’s Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce resides in an English country manor with her widowed father and two older sisters. Despite the seemingly-idyllic location, Flavia lives in a post-WWII society and family that struggles with the effects of war and the loss of its mother. She also happens across a dead body outside her bedroom window.

Flavia is a precocious crime solver who meddles in the police investigation and isn’t afraid to go anywhere or talk to anyone in her pursuit of answers. This cozy mystery is as charming and inoffensive as a murder mystery can be, and I can understand why it’s a bestseller.

Flavia, however, has some nastiness to her that I found rather off-putting. She deliberately destroys her dead mother’s pearls and sets out to poison one of her older sisters. I don’t expect—or want—a perfect lead character, but I prefer flaws that I can relate to rather than sociopathic tendencies.

Overall, the novel is enjoyable and held my interest. Yet, despite Sweetness’s popularity, I’ve noticed the sequel, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, doesn’t seem nearly as in demand, which might really reflect readers’ feelings about the series.

1 comment:

notaconnoisseur said...

The heroine sounds a little scary to me. I am not sure if I want to read the mystery or not.