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Monday, May 13, 2013

60) The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Blurb :

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

My Thoughts :

I am not sure how I came across this series or why I decided to try it but the audiobook found its way onto my iPod and I couldn't resist giving it a go.  I was pleasantly surprised at the tone and language that was being used.  It was then that I realised that the the main character wasn't a Young Adult as I expected but more of a child.  Plus the book was based in the 50's.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to carry on listening but as things progressed I couldn't stop.  Flavia was a delight and also extremely intelligent.  I loved her!

So I mentioned that this was Young Adult.  However in my opinion there aren't many Young readers that would really appreciate this book.  It isn't Harry Potter with magic, love and evil and it isn't Twilight with shiny vampires and hot werewolves.  You see Flavia is a proper British girl who is also a genius.  She loves chemistry and has a knack for poisons.  She is logical and eager to solve the mystery that she has been drawn into and while sometimes she does come across as childish she is a hoot!

The setting was interesting and I liked the small village/town feeling to the whole thing.  All the Britishness was not lost on me being a Brit myself and I loved listening to the talk of the King and other remarks that felt somehow familiar. The time the book is set in offers some wonderful insights to how people lived back then.  Taking a bike instead of a car and the strange things that used to be eaten before supermarkets came on the scene.

I loved listening to this book and enjoyed the story a lot.  The plot was slightly hard to follow at times but it all become clear in the end and it was fun following Flavia as she solved the case.  The history included in the book was also well worth listening to and the main angle of a Penny Stamp led to some nice tidbits about its features that I didn't know about.  All very well researched and obviously molded to fit the story.

My next audio book will indeed be the next part in this series.  I liked it so much that I already have the second one waiting for me on my iPod.  The unusual aspects of the book such as the child narrator, the era it is set and the chemisty of it all really has got me interested.  The Britishness of course is also a huge reason for my liking the book and I am sure it will appeal to others too.  However on the audio version the Britishness was ruined constantly by the American Pronunciation of certain words.

Well worth trying if you like a good cozy mystery and want to try something different.  Also worth checking out if you like historicals and all things British.

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Aurian said...

I did read this one a few months ago, and enjoyed it. I thought Flavia was only 11 or 13 or so. And her sisters are so very awful to her. But the ending was awesome. I will probably read the other books someday.

IYamVixen2 said...

I listened to this one, too. I hesitated as some of my friends who have different taste in books really enjoyed it...so I wasn't sure I would like it that much. So glad I gave it a try. I look forward to listening to the rest of the series.