The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie brings to you the most dramatic young heroine of all times. Well, that was an exaggeration though most certainly not a gross one at that. Let me introduce you to the de Luces of Buckshaw – Colonel de Luce, Father, a true Englishman with a stiff upper lip as proof, Ophelia de Luce, the pretty eldest sister, Daphne de Luce, the bookish middle child and Flavia de Luce, the smarty pants though borderline crazy youngest sibling who is our heroine. Young Flavia is an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, extremely nosy and believes in letting the soup of revenge simmer to perfection. She has excessive knowledge of literature and classical music, an obsessive interest in Piano, not to mention Chemistry in which she is too advanced for her age. When she witnesses the death of a perfect stranger at the Buckshaw cucumber patch she decides to do a little private investigation by herself to solve the crime. Soon enough her father is arrested, as expected, and Flavia’s little shoulders have to bear the burden of catching the real culprit.
Written in a conversational manner, this book is quite a good weekend read – 373 pages to be precise which I devoured on a rainy Saturday. At some points it is difficult to believe that Flavia is only 11 years old. The writer, Alan Bradley, must love similes as the book is full of them. Thrown in to the mix is also a single page on the conflict between Anglicans and Roman Catholics and some apt examples of silencing the churchgoers with well-timed donations.
This book is recommended to kids and adults alike. Pick this up and give it a go if you like Chemistry and poisons. It is a jolly good detective novel, if Miss Marple is your thing. A few pages on stamp history and a plot that practically revolves around a very rare stamp should attract philatelists to this book. If you are none of the above, just indulge in the good old playful sibling rivalry while sipping aromatic English tea with Schumann sonatas playing in the background to set the mood. A light, well-written book beckons you.