The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

I'll be honest with you: I have bought this book simply because I fell in love with the cover. It was different to all the others in the crime section of my local book store. And therefore I hoped for a likewise different crime novel. Also the blurb emphasised this first impression. Have a read:

"For very nearly eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, the discovery of a dead snipe on the doorstep of Buckshaw, the crumbling de Luce country seat, was a marvellous mystery - especially since this particular snipe had a rather rare stamp neatly impaled on its beak. Even more astonishing was the effect of the dead bird on her stamp-collector father, who appeared to be genuinely frightened.

Soon Flavia discovers something even more shocking in the cucumber patch, and it's clear that the snipe was a bird of very ill omen indeed. As the police descend on Buckshaw, Flavia decides it is up to her to piece together the clues and solve the puzzle. Who was the man she heard her father arguing with? What was the snipe doing in England at all? Who or what is the Ulster Avenger? And, most peculiar of all, who took a slice of Mrs Mullet's unspeakable custard pie that had been cooling by the window...?"

I wasn't wrong. Alan Bradley's debut novel is the story about a cute, uber-intelligent and somehow very grown up girl and it certainly is not a typical whodunnit.

Flavia is a weird little thing. She's got traits of a sociopath (not a psychopath), her family is one of the weirdest I've ever heard of and she herself is way too mature for her age. But somehow this is what makes the book interesting. It's also got some special fun for chemists in it, as Flavia is totally into Chemistry and talks about it a lot. All in all she reminds me a bit of Sherlock Holmes and what is not to love about Mr. Holmes?

As the story is narrated by Flavia, the language used is very strange as well. There's a lot of
words that shouldn't even been known by an eleven-year-old, but it's also quirky and a bit childish in some parts. What would you want more? Story different, characters different, language different. A less predictable story maybe. And deeper, more relatable characters. I didn't feel anything for the people in the book, except for Flavia, I don't like that.

But it still is a superbly written detective story, which isn't like any other. You should consider reading it if you like crime novels that aren't too violent, the Sherlock Holmes stories or simply books that aren't like a lot of others.

If you want even more of the stories around Flavia, you can have that. It's the first of the so far seven books of the series. I'll most certainly read the others one day.

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