Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Writers : Alan Bradley
My Rating: 3.5 on 5
I love reading mystery novels and have had my fair share so far. When you see a protagonist or a series being recommended by multiple people, you are inclined to try it out to see what the hype is all about. That is how I picked up The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which is the first book in the Flavia de Luce series written by Alan Bradley. This series is very different from the ones I have read in that the protagonist, our detective, is a 11-year old girl who is precocious and has a love for chemistry.
The book is about a murder that is committed at BuckShaw, the residence of the de Luces, and Flavia’s father Colonel de Luce is the primary suspect. It is up to Flavia to prove her father’s innocence and find the real culprit. The murder plot, motive and the way the mystery is solved – all these are very interesting. Bradley weaves in many interesting twists and turns to make the plot riveting. I liked the book, but I had a problem with our amatuer sleuth.
Don’t get me wrong, there is something very endearing about having a 11-year old girl as your detective who reaches the crime scenes before the police does and notices many things which they don’t. But the fact that she is privy to everything happening around the crime and she sneaks through the crime scenes under the inspector’s nose and more importantly, tampers with the evidence recklessly is hard to digest.
Flavia being the narrator of the book causes the book to jump from the murder to the little happenings in Flavia and her sister’s life. While Flavia comes across as intelligent and observant when she is onto the murder, we also see a glimpse of the vulnerable, innocent girl – the way most 11-year olds are when she describes her life with her sisters.
As a murder mystery novel, this book is interesting and worth a read, but if you are expecting a Shrelock Holmes or Poirot in our Flavia de Luce, then you might be disappointed. I know there are many Flavia de Luce fans out there, but she is somewhat unbelievable to me.