Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Laura reads a grown-up book!
But it's still about a kid. Fail.

To start the New Year out on a light, fresh note, our book club here at the library is reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley for the month of January.What a joy to read a book that fully embraces the English language. (Not to say that the vocabulary in your regular teen vampire-romance is lacking, but please...)

Flavia de Luce is regretfully only 11 years old and as such unable to do and act as she desires. A child genius with a passion for poison and Bunsen burners, Flavia expects to spend the summer of 1950 in the same manner as every other; ignored in favor of philatelic pursuits by her widowed father, tormented by her uncaring older sisters and generally un-missed as she roams the English countryside on her trusty bicycle Gladys.

That is, of course, until she finds a dead bird her back step. Not all that odd in and of itself, but the bird is just the beginning of a series of odd occurrences at the De Luce manor house. Things rapidly escalate when Flavia awakens in the middle of the night to find a man dead in her cucumber patch. Or rather almost dead. Fueled by his dying words and the odd smell that lingers about his body, Flavia sets on a race against time out to solve the murder before the bumbling local police destroy their only clues.Precocious, observant, bitterly funny and more than a little diabolical, Flavia leads the reader on a great adventure through her post WWII village and the fields beyond.

I'll leave you to decide for yourselves, but rest assured, as far as girl-sleuth mysteries go, Flavia would lure Nancy Drew out back and promptly dispose of her with the cunning use of cyanide she brewed her self, with ingredients she stole, after tricking her way into someone's house and picking the lock on their safe with her braces. All with a smile on her small face.

*Update: Apparently there will be a series based on Flavia de Luce, the next title being The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag. "When a traveling puppet show sets up on the village green in Bishop’s Lacey, death stalks the little stage. Flavia goes behind the scenes to learn the craft (so to speak) in order to catch an ingenious killer."

Seriously? She's great and all, but is a series really necessary? Holy shit, I just spelled NECESSARY correctly on the first try! That's never happened to me before!!! Now, what was I talking about?

**Update #2- EPIC FAIL. I was wrong, I can't manage to read an adult book, Sweetness is on the ALA website's list of 2010 Best Books for Young Adults. So I'm back to where I started, reading only teen lit.

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