The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

This one was another Library Thing recommendation, and one that I really enjoyed. Flavia de Luce is nearly 11 years-old and a frighteningly clever child with a passionate interest in Chemistry, which she indulges in an old laboratory in the family home. Poison is a particular interest of hers. She lives with her distant father, two older sisters (with whom she is in a bit of an ongoing battle) and the family’s employees. When a body is discovered Flavia’s father is arrested, and she is left to solve the case.

This book is the first in a series and I’m really looking forward to the others. The mystery is well told, although I did guess whodunnit a while before the end it still kept me interested, and even once you know whodunnit it takes a while to piece together why. I loved Flavia’s character – she’s not an entirely believable 11 year-old but that really doesn’t matter. She’s intelligent and matter-of-fact with a wicked streak that I found strangely appealing. In some ways it’s a bit like A Series of Unfortunate Events for grown ups (this is an adult book), with an atmosphere a bit like Jonathan Creek.

I definitely recommend this and look forward to meeting Flavia again.

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