May 27, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

This book has been so hyped up that I must confess that I approached it with some reluctance, worried that it could not live up to the hype.

Fortunately, I did enjoy it.

It is a not-so-traditional murder mystery, set in England in 1950, with an precocious 11-year-old girl, Flavia de Luce as the detective. Flavia is the youngest of three sisters (Ophelia and Daphne are the older sisters - I'd love to meet the parent who could give daughters such names!) and she accidently discovers a dead body in the cucumber patch one morning. What follows are multiple bicycle trips to the local library, a boys school, the local jail, and a local inn, as Flavia tries to sort out events from 30 years ago and reconcile them with what has happened in the cucumber patch.

I found the book well-paced and easy to read. What I enjoyed the most was reading about the antagonistic relationship between the sisters - having two sisters myself, I could definitely relate to some of what went on between them! And I've now loaned my copy to one of my sisters in the hopes that she enjoys it as much as I did.

And like The Golden Mean, it is set in a beautiful typeface, but unlike The Golden Mean, the story stood out above the font!

Now the book wasn't perfect - there are a few errors that better editing could have weeded out (these were particularly noticeable early in the book before I had decided that I liked it!); and despite all that has been said and written about Flavia, and despite the fact that I quite enjoyed reading about her, I did not find her believable as an 11-year-old girl.

There is another book featuring Flavia, and while I probably won't spend the money to buy the hardcover, I probably will either seek it out from the library or wait until it is out in paperback to read it.


Wanda said...

I've read quite a few reviews for this one and though the general consensus slates it as great, it's just not grabbing me as one I'd like.

Kate said...

Wanda - I felt the same way at first, but I'm not sorry that I read it. It's not a challenging read - I polished it off in a few days - so it wouldn't bog you down too much, even if you didn't like it.