Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

By Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is only eleven, but she has a passion for chemistry and, especially, an interest in poisons.
Flavia has two older sisters with whom she is at war. To get revenge for being locked in a closet, she collects some poison ivy and contaminates her oldest sister's lipstick with it. Which tells you a lot about Flavia, she is a force to be reckoned with. Cross her at your peril.
Flavia's mother died when she was just a baby and her father is cold and distant, a qualities that Flavia believes are inherent in her family. Although he seems disconnected from his family, the father is very attached to his stamp collection, an interest that dates back to his school days.
Flavia arises early one morning and finds a man dying in the cucumber patch. As he dies, he says just one word to Flavia, "vale," which is Latin for "farewell." Flavia realizes the dead man is the same man who visited her father that evening and made threats that Flavia overheard. Soon the police arrive and, before much longer, Flavia's father is arrested and charged with murder. Now it is up to Flavia to discover the truth behind the man's death, and, hopefully, clear her father of murder.

I sort of thought this would be a humorous story, but it was not, unless you find the antics of precocious and bratty children amusing. I do not. Flavia is out of control and her two older sisters and father are so self-involved that Flavia is virtually raising herself.
I also didn't find the mystery that interesting and the murderer was not a surprise. I didn't dislike the book, but I will not be reading the others in the series. It was just a fair read.

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