The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a delightful Mystery featuring 11-year-old Flavia de Luce in 1950 England. I will describe Flavia but first I would like to relate an anecdote about my own daughter. Years ago she was driving me crazy-I thought I had bred the she-devil herself and then a wise person gave me some very good advice. She asked me to list words to describe my daughter-I did. Then she had me take that list and counter each negative word with a positive word, for example stubborn became determined and selfish became confident. And that is the story of how my stubborn, argumentative, selfish and unmanageable daughter became my determined, assertive, confident and independent daughter. And here is my point; Flavia is a feisty, independent, brilliant, and creative young lass. (and not a brat). She lives with her widowed father and her two sisters in a grand but decaying old mansion. The family is “old money” but the money is mostly gone and the sisters are left to raise themselves since father spends most his days studying his vast stamp collection. The estate also includes a shell-shocked gardener and a hopelessly incompetent housekeeper. And then a body appears on the doorstep. Father is implicated and Flavia goes to work uncovering the murderer. She is a self-taught chemist who uses her abilities to expose the culprit. The plot has some interesting twists and turns and unfolds with a clever outcome. This is the first of four books with more likely to follow. Some of the background (like the mystery of the mother’s death) is revealed a little in each novel.
The other books in the series….
The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (2009)
A Red Herring Without Mustard (2011)
I Am Half-sick of Shadows (2011)
I highly recommend that this series be read in order. These are delightful books with an interesting and original heroine.