I have BookRabbit again to thank for my latest read, the last one I chose as the BookRabbit Book Group read. Alan Bradley’s ‘The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’ one is an advance book (out in January 2009) I was sent to review for the site and Orion the books publisher. I unlike the other readers really, really enjoyed this book; in fact I thought it was brilliant. They all seemed to think it was more of a ‘young adult’ book – I am wondering what that says about me?
Flavia de Luce is your typical precocious ‘almost eleven year old’ all apart from the fact that she has found a dead snipe on the doorstep of her fathers crumbling country house’s front doorstep. This isn’t just any dead bird it seems to have been placed there as if in some form of a message to who ever finds it, it also has an incredibly rare stamp impaled on its beak. Flavia decides this is some magical mystery that she should investigate and does indeed to her finding something slightly more gruesome in the cucumber patch.
With her father at the centre of a murder investigation and her two spiteful sisters being only bothered with their own reflections and lives what is a precocious almost eleven year old meant to do than prove her fathers innocence and find the murderer. We are then taken along with Flavia as she goes about, on her bicycle named Gladys, interrogating people in the local village and following the clues and a few red herrings.
I loved the character of Flavia she completely stole the show for me, from her love of Gladys, to her scary knowledge of all things chemical and poisonous. Her sisters were brilliantly vile and her father wonderfully secretive. The prose of the novel is light and has a twist of black humour though sometimes the discussion of chemicals and also the explanations of stamps can be a bit much. I loved some of the strange villagers and their quirky silly names. Yes I guessed the ending and saw the villain of the piece coming a mile of but it didn’t stop me reading to the very end, why would I have when I was having so much fun.
If you’re expecting a thriller then you are getting the wrong book, if you’re looking for something that’s a mixture of murder, mystery, madness and mayhem then this is the perfect book for you.