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The sweetness at the bottom of the pie

by Bradley, C. Alan, 1938-

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Where To Find It

Call number: Mystery

Available Copies: Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, must exonerate her father of murder. Armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together and examine new suspects, she begins a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself.

Community Reviews

English Girl Saves the Day

In this first of a series of mysteries for young readers, Bradley introduces us to Flavia de Luce, a young genius living with her father and two older sisters in the fictional English town of Bishop's Lacey in the 1950s. The girls' mother had died, leaving their father too sad to handle raising or even much educating his children, who are left to their own devices. Flavia has decided to teach herself chemistry and she particularly enjoys making poisons.
When she discovers a corpse in her garden, Flavia begins her career as a young detective. The police don't appreciate her meddling, but [SPOILER ALERT], she solves the crime in the end.
I very much appreciated having a young female character demonstrate so much intelligence and bravery, something I find lacking in many novels for children. Note, however, that as it is set in the 1950s, the Flavia series does demonstrate the prejudices of the era, including sexism and xenophobia.

Stamps! Murder! Chemistry experiments!

I loved this 11 year old budding chemist determined to solve the mystery of the murdered man found in her garden!

Very cute, very entertaining!


This is charning British mystery with a fun young heroine. The story moves along nicely, the characters are well developed and the book has an authentic feeling of time and place. I look forward to reading more about young Flavia.

It was okay

After reading Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, I was hungry for another unique mystery series. I liked Flavia as a character and she was definitely interesting, charming and flawed. But I just had a hard time getting through this one. When I put it down, I wasn't thrilled to pick it back up again.

Irresistible Heroine

Flavia de Luce may be my new favorite detective. I love Precious Ramotswe and Ms. Marple, but Flavia has an irresistible edge of having a bit of a mean streak, a talent for concocting poisons and a habit of getting in over her head.

It's perfectly understandable why she might bite off more than she can chew, since she's only 11 and frequently too-curious. I like her quick wit, resourcefulness and gung-ho attitude. I also like the concept of unassuming-child-as-detective, she's someone who can wander about asking questions without raising suspicion.

Flavia is feisty, fevered and flawed and I'm thoroughly looking forward to her next adventure.

a fun read

I really liked this book! Flavia le Duce is a charming character. (I am a fan of adult books with a child as a main character. Can I say "Alex Award!"?)

Well paced, and well written, I look forward to more in the series... "The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag" is out now.

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