“Alan Bradley has created greatness with 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, a sort of 'Harriet the Cyanide Expert.' Imagine Ramona Quimby in a quaint English town, as told by Shirley Jackson. Whip-smart and sweet as an arsenic popsicle, Flavia sets out to solve the mystery of the dead body in her garden, while trying to deal with fearsome librarians, bothersome older sisters, priceless missing stamps, and detestable custard pie along the way. Viva la Flavia!”
— Liberty Hardy, RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, NH
May 2009 Indie Next List
“Whether you are a mystery lover or not, you are going to fall hard for Flavia de Luce, the newest sleuth on the block. She is a chemistry geek, a plucky Nancy Drew, and a wacky Bridget Jones all wrapped up in an 11-year-old body. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is both funny and wickedly clever. You'll have a great time reading it -- and want to be friends with Flavia.”
— Jennifer Meador, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS
In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950--and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life. To Flavia the investigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contradictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story--of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre and brazen act of thievery, of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school's tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie two distant deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. Of this much the girl is sure: her father is innocent of murder--but protecting her and her sisters from something even worse.... An enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a masterfully told tale of deceptions--and a rich literary delight. From the Hardcover edition.