Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11 year old. She's a chemist, a sleuth, a tormentor of siblings. She and her sisters, Ophelia and Daphne, live with their father in Buckshaw, an English country mansion which has seen better days. Shades of I Capture the Castle? Perhaps. But Flavia has her own distinct voice, her own particular style.
There are two murders, somehow related, one thirty years in the past and one that occurs within the opening pages of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Throw in a couple of extremely rare postage stamps, a dead jack snipe on the doorstep, a stranger who comes to town, and the game is afoot.
Set in post-war England, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie deliciously captures an era long past, a time perhaps marginally more innocent but certainly no less complicated and dangerous than our own. Alan Bradley is a first time author who, if this delightful, captivating, and prettily written novel is any indication of his talents--and with a little judicious nudging from conscientious booksellers--should have a long and successful career.