Customer Reviews for

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 421 )
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(167)

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(123)

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(73)

2 Star

(38)

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(20)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Unusual, Exciting Read

The narrator is an extremely intelligent 11 yr. old girl named Flavia in the 1950's England. She lives in an old English estate, Buckshaw, in an unusual, strange, dysfunctional family. Her brilliant mind and wisdom beyond her years drives her to solve local muders and d...
The narrator is an extremely intelligent 11 yr. old girl named Flavia in the 1950's England. She lives in an old English estate, Buckshaw, in an unusual, strange, dysfunctional family. Her brilliant mind and wisdom beyond her years drives her to solve local muders and does a better job than the authorities. Well worth your time...
Other books I've really enjoyed were, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, FIREFLY LANE, THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN.

posted by 1louise1 on January 31, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not Sweet in Any Pleasing Sort of Way

This book was a pleasant enough read, mostly. Parts of it were intriguing and stirred up my curiosity about poisons that I never realized I had, (nor do I expect to be enduring.) I found myself skipping large sections toward the middle of the book, and toward the end be...
This book was a pleasant enough read, mostly. Parts of it were intriguing and stirred up my curiosity about poisons that I never realized I had, (nor do I expect to be enduring.) I found myself skipping large sections toward the middle of the book, and toward the end because, although I wanted to find out how things were going to turn out, none of the book was interesting enough to compete with all the other books "calling my name."

I've been reading other books which were excellent, with wonderful character development; in constrast, the characters in "Sweetness" were pale, a bit annoying, and unbelievable.

At first, I was going to give this a "3 star" because I thought that "3 stars" was neutral. But "two stars" is suppose to mean "It was ok," and that's all this was for me.

posted by Angela2932ND on April 9, 2010

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Unusual, Exciting Read

    The narrator is an extremely intelligent 11 yr. old girl named Flavia in the 1950's England. She lives in an old English estate, Buckshaw, in an unusual, strange, dysfunctional family. Her brilliant mind and wisdom beyond her years drives her to solve local muders and does a better job than the authorities. Well worth your time...
    Other books I've really enjoyed were, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, FIREFLY LANE, THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Best 11 year old ever!!

    This book was such an easy read. Every night I would read before bed, I would keep telling myself "just a few more pages".

    Flavia is the most extrordinary 11 year old ever created. Most of the time when I was reading this book I forgot that she was only a child. Bradley kept finding things to bring me back to think "holy crap, she is only 11". Things like her braces, her mode of transportation and her older sisters. Even though Flavia is so well developed, I don't hink that any of the others are at all under-developed. I think that they are developed useing Flavia as their vehicle, but developed well all the same.

    Once I finished this book I was thirsty for more, I wanted to know more about Flavia. When I found that Bradley has created a new Flavia book, I couldn't have been more excited. I have the new book pre-ordered, and being shipped on it's release date.

    15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    Good old-fashioned storytelling and an offbeat heroine

    Flavia de Luce is the little girl I would have liked to be. She's brainy, headstrong and a little bit wicked. She's an independent child growing up in a motherless, eccentric household lacking in discipline and regular hours. Being the youngest child she's shirked and overlooked and has to make her own entertainment. Flavia is adventurous and concocts poisonous brews in a remote chemistry lab in the ancestral manse and doesn't hestitate to dive right in investigating a murder that takes place in the kitchen garden.

    This book has it all, a quirky heroine, good storytelling and a deft author. I think it will appeal especially to teenage girls and women who will identify with, cheer for and accompany Flavia on her adventure.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic!

    f there is a thing I truly despise, it is being addressed as "dearie". When I write my magnum opus, A Treatise Upon All Poisons, and come to "Cyanide", I am going to put under "Uses" the phrase "Particularly efficacious in the cure of those who call one 'Dearie.' "

    - Flavia de Luce


    Flavia, eleven and the youngest of three sisters, discovers a body in the cucumber patch at her family's estate, Buckshaw in the town of Bishop's Lacey. Just before he dies he utter the word "Vale". Precocious and wise beyond her years, Flavia does not tell all to the police and is determined to solve the murder herself.

    That was the truth: I didn't know his name. But I did know, and knew it all too well, that the body in the garden-the body with the red hair, the body in the gray suit- was that of the man I'd spied through the sturdy keyhole. The man Father had- But I could hardly tell them that.

    my review: I LOVED this book. Flavia is a brilliant character. Living in the English countryside in 1950, she spends her time in her chemistry lab that belonged to her now deceased mother, chemistry being her true love, and finding ways to keep up with her older sisters Ophelia and Daphne. She also has a fascination with poisons.


    It is charming and delightful, fun and engaging. The novel is full of interesting and colorful characters. The writing is excellent and the plot; revenge, boyhood secrets, and rare stamps, kept me hooked throughout. Flavia was really the best part and I am glad to learn that Bradley has written another Flavia mystery, due in March of 2010. I highly recommend this book!


    my rating 5/5

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2009

    This book is truly a treasure!!

    Alan Bradley has ingeniously written a witty, enthralling murder mystery starring precocious Flavia Sabina de Luce. An 11-year-old chemistry whiz, she loves experimenting in her fully equipped lab, especially concocting poisons to use in tormenting her older sisters! Living on an estate with her father and sisters in 1950's rural England, Flavia enjoys riding her bike "Gladys" in the village and countryside. One morning, she finds a dying stranger in their cucumber patch. When her father is arrested for the murder, she sets out to solve the murder, by delving into her father's mysterious years as a schoolboy. As I read, I found myself completely drawn into an engaging atmospheric mystery.

    Mr. Bradley is a talented storyteller. He has skillfully created an intriguing and captivating plot with a wonderful cast of compelling, well-developed characters. The story is cleverly written in first person using Flavia's unique voice. While experiencing how her mind worked, I truly enjoyed solving the mystery with her every step of the way. Also, Mr. Bradley has brilliantly intertwined very interesting chemistry trivia into the storyline. I really loved this entertaining book and I highly recommend it for everyone!

    I'm really looking forward to reading the second book in this series, "The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery". It's due out in March 2010.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    Nancy Drew-eat your heart out!

    I loved the entire novel, from beginning to end. Not often does a title so catch you eye that you pick up the book and then the writing gets you in a choke hold so you so can't put it down. The main character, Flavia de Luce, is a matter-of-fact, 11-year-old girl with a Machiavellian brain and the heart of poisoner. Absolutely witty and yet, very natural writing. Perhaps a bit pendantic for the character's age, but the setting in 1950s England can account for her erudition. There is a realness to the work and a quirky no-where-else-in time quality that sets the girl sleuth genre on its ear. This is not your mother's Nancy Drew. This precocious darling could make Sherlock Holmes blink in suprise and awe!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Very Wise Young Sleuth

    Even though this story is written in a child's voice, you find youself thinking that this child is very savy! Flavia de Luce is a very clever child and she is able to uncover secrets that have been left undiscovered for many many years. Sometimes, she does some things that are very childlike, but, for the most part, she is so cunning that she seems like a little Sherlock Holmes! She has incredible deductive reasoning and her knowledge of chemistry was much better than mine. Even though she is young, she gets around town in what I thought of as a motorized scooter. She is very mobile. Her sleuthing is not deminished by her age. She sometimes does show her childishness, and these times make the book all the more delightful! I laughed out loud when she put poison ivy in her sister's lipstick! This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone, but especially mystery readers.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful and charming, a stunning tale that will win many hearts

    I cant' believe this is the author's first work, in short it's really amazing, I mean a gloriously adorable kaleidoscope of words and textures and emotions, pure bliss to read! Set in 1950's England, the mystery has a rustic feel to it but is very easy to read and enjoy. It's not often that the protagonist is an eleven year old little girl, who's as feisty and cunning as it gets. Flava de Luce has a love affair with chemistry. Glass flasks and potions are more fun than hanging out and doing kid stuff so when a murder takes place in her very own garden she's not scared, instead she challenges the world to stop her from solving it, and most important from trying to find her sweet old dad guilty. Sprinkled with clues and obstacles the story is a must read for anyone who likes something a little different and it's delicious to curl up with on a cold and dreary night.

    Flavia compares chemistry to witchcraft, there's something very organic and cozy about the building elements of life and how they surround us in all forms. She is a wiz at tricking her sisters and playing games on them. What kid would melt her sister's lipstick and melt it back into shape using a .45 caliber slug mold with an interesting addition mixed in, one that would teach her sister respect for the quirky youngster. Even though their mom has passed away, her spirit lives on in all the precious things she left her name on all around the house. The tale is a mystery with some really special characterization and lot's of heart, I think the author has really left his mark on the world with this novel. The mystery wasn't the hardest thing to solve, I mean it wasn't as complex as an Agatha Christie one but still a fun to read, and Flavia's brave escapades were a joy to read. At one point in the story the author lets us know that Flavia started her love for chemistry with one book that fell on her head, well I had one of those books too as a kid, I was obsessed with it, I was never as good as her at it but I know what it feels like to be spellbound by a whole new philosophy and world of unknown wonders.

    - Kasia S.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Flavia is

    more interesting than many of the people I run into in the grocery store. I enjoyed this book immensely and have recommended it to several people. The plot was fine but it was the writing style, the use of language, and Miss Flavia herself that made me fall in love with this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!

    I loved this book! This delightful, clever and funny murder mystery, set in 1950, is narrated by a brilliant, resourceful 11-year-old protagonist named Flavia Sabina de Luce, who lives in an English country home and whose passions are chemistry, with an emphasis on poisons, and deduction. A lot of historical charm adds dimension to this wonderful, unique storyline!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Not Sweet in Any Pleasing Sort of Way

    This book was a pleasant enough read, mostly. Parts of it were intriguing and stirred up my curiosity about poisons that I never realized I had, (nor do I expect to be enduring.) I found myself skipping large sections toward the middle of the book, and toward the end because, although I wanted to find out how things were going to turn out, none of the book was interesting enough to compete with all the other books "calling my name."

    I've been reading other books which were excellent, with wonderful character development; in constrast, the characters in "Sweetness" were pale, a bit annoying, and unbelievable.

    At first, I was going to give this a "3 star" because I thought that "3 stars" was neutral. But "two stars" is suppose to mean "It was ok," and that's all this was for me.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    A dead man is found in Flavia de Luce's yard and her dad is arrested for his murder. She tries to solve the mystery herself, but it gets more complicated at every turn.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Not your typical mystery novel

    I loved this book! I read mystery novels almost exclusively and have found myself getting bored with the genre lately. This was a welcome change - a unique protagonist, an entertaining plot, and a great writing style. I even learned a little! A must read for mystery fans who want something fresh and light.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Loved It!

    Just finished reading the book today, and it was great the whole way through. I absolutely could not put the book down. I took the day off from work just to finish it (sad, but true). I was just so caught up in the mystery of it all. Flavia is a wonderful heroine/protagonist. Being a bit of a nerd myself, I loved that she was so into chemistry, and just really had a great deal of knowledge, in general. Most of all, I enjoyed the relationship she had with her two older sisters,Daffy and Feely. Clearly, she was the runt of the family, and she used that to her advantage a lot in this story. All said, I recommend this book. It's fabulous :)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    great book - down to it's green hardcover

    This is a wonderful, escapist English mystery with a quirky and hilarious main character, Flavia, who has her own chemistry lab on the 3rd floor of their English manse. When a dead body is found in the cucumber garden, Flavia is determined to solve the crime, like a young Miss Marple.
    I loved it..down to it's green cover!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2012

    The Real Mystery? How a 70-year old man created such a believabl

    The Real Mystery? How a 70-year old man created such a believably compelling and insightful little girl and why it took him so long to introduce her to us!

    Flavia de Luce is a precocious eleven year old with an obsession for chemistry and a proclivity for poisons. When she discovers a dead man in their cucumber patch, she’s not scared at all. Deliciously morbid intrigue drives her to study the evidence in her fully-stocked chemistry lab at the family estate in the English countryside. In spite of two older sisters and a distant, philatelist father, Flavia uses some science, her bicycle named Gladys and a lot of logical reasoning to the aid of the police that so obviously need her expertise.

    It was a delightfully fresh new take on a tried and true theme. This book has a lot going on; it’s in a historical setting, the narrator is a little girl, and I’ve never learned so much about stamp-collecting. Flavia holds it all together beautifully as she fearlessly investigates the most exciting event in her young memory, uncovering clues and motives that will send chills down even the most mature spine. I’m eager to see how the young ingenue grows into a young lady in the coming books!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great start for new series!

    "Unless some sweetness at the bottom lie,
    Who cares for all the crinkling of the pie?" pg. 419

    Flavia is an eleven year old girl with a huge imagination, a gift for chemistry, and a love of "solving." She lives at Buckshaw with her father and two sisters (Ophelia - 17 y.o., and Daphne - 13 y.o.). After a dead bird is found by their door and a dead body in the garden, Flavia sets out to solve the crime. Did someone in her own house do this? If so, who? If not, who acted unnoticed around them? Flavia calls on all of her knowledge to puzzle out pieces to the puzzle. But, will she figure it out in time? Will she be found out?

    I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down. While it was hard to think of an eleven year old working through some of these scientific puzzles, it was also intriguing to step into her mind. It was fun to read about her process for extracting poisons from plants. The characters are fun, and the story drew me in. If you haven't read a fun mystery lately, this is the book for you! I hope it becomes a series so that I can follow her exploits!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Another recommended read

    Could not finish it. Kept hoping the characters would devleop more but gave up about 1/2 way through. Don't understand what the attraction was.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Flavia de Luce, I heart you!

    What a breath of fresh air! There are jewels on nearly every page of this delightful mystery. I'm always drawn to adult books written about children, and Flavia certainly did not disappoint. I was hooked from the first page, and am so glad that this is only the first book in the series!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2010

    Just Delightful

    This was a fantastic book, depending largely on the charms of its protagonist (the titular 11 year old chemistry prodigy). It's well-written and clever, and while the mystery isn't terribly difficult to figure out, the writing and the characters keep you invested anyway.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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