“Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”
Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old aspiring chemist and with a particular interest for poison, invites us into her life full of a series of inexplicable events: a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a post stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, she finds a dying man in the garden who whispers her something in Latin. For Flavia, who feels both appalled and delighted by what happened, life begins at last: exactly when murder comes to Buckshaw, her home.
Flavia is more than what she seems at first: she may be rude but she is also thoughtful; she is incredibly clever but definitely dangerous. She is impossible but somewhat realistic. Because children are unusual in their own ways and Flavia is no exception. She just has an inclination towards poison and trouble. But that’s not exactly what made me love her so much.
What really captivated me about her was the way she speaks. She is so funny, witty and wise that everything she says or thinks seems relevant: either because it’s going to make you laugh or because it’s just purely entertaining.
The story is balanced with humour and mystery. Towards the end it becomes so obscure I was a bit shaken by it. But overall it is extremely charming, which makes it the perfect book to read after a busy day. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a children’s book. Seriously, listen to me, it is NOT. The writer even said he was planning on writing the story through the eyes of an adult but Flavia felt like the right one to tell it. So believe me when I say that you will forget you’re reading a book in the perspective of a child until Alan Bradley decides to remind you of it.
His writing is absolutely brilliant. You’re allowed to not be particularly impressed by the story itself (I mean, a mystery involving post stamps may seem quite boring), but the way it is written is undeniably engaging. There is also something else special about this book: the way every character, no matter how unimportant they seemed at first, added something interesting to the plot.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the book you should read if you love detective stories but are tired of the common ones.
If you’d like to meet Flavia, click here: