Sunday, May 6, 2012

The lucidity of Flavia De Luce

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley

The first in this series about 11-year old accidental detective and genius Flavia de Luce is a whiff of carbon tetrachloride scented fresh air in 1950's England. Flavia is a lonely half-orphaned little girl with two awful older sisters and a grief-stricken father living in a stuffy Agatha-esque village. Flavia tools around on her ancient bicycle Gladys like Harriet the Spy (perhaps not coincidentally the name of her dead mother) or experiments in her sparkling heirloom chemistry lab in the De Luce ancestral pile. She specializes in poison. This book won the 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel but for some reason, it took me a while to read it.

It is original, kind of spare and maddening, a tale told (not by an idiot) by a meddling kid/genius. It is also very, very funny.

I am gratified there are now five more in the series!

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