The series of mysteries that begins with this novel and features almost eleven year old detective, chemist, and poison expert Flavia de Luce has been on my radar for some time now, but I finally used my Barnes and Noble gift card to buy The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and I’m determined to consume the other novels in the series as quickly as possible. The first one is just as good as the many fans have said it was.
From Mr. Bradley’s website: “Great literary crime detectives arenâ€™t always born; theyâ€™re sometimes discovered, blindfolded and tied up in a dark closet by their nasty older sisters. Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luceâ€™s bitter home life and vicious sibling war inspires her solitary diversions and â€œstrange talentsâ€ tinkering with the chemistry set in the laboratory of their inherited Victorian house, plotting sleuth-like vengeance on Ophelia (17) and Daphne (13), and delving into the forbidden past of her taciturn, widowed father, Colonel de Luce. It comes as no surprise, then, that the material for her next scientific investigation will be the mysterious corpse that she uncovers in the cucumber patch.”
I will say that Flavia is unbelievably precocious; she reminds me of my youngest, Z-baby who is intelligent, stubborn, sassy, and spoiled rotten. I say this with some chagrin, since I promised myself that my youngest would not be a pain in the you-know-what like so many other babies of of the family tend to be. And then life happened, and I find myself amazed at her maturity and giftedness and at the same time busily correcting and counteracting her sometimes tendencies to be presumptuous and impertinent.
Anyway, Flavia is a character who might exhaust you if you were her parent, but in a book she’s a delight. I can’t wait to get to know her better, and I’m also anxious to find out more about her sisters, her long-suffering but somewhat absent father, and Dogger, the loyal retainer who serves as dependable adult in Flavia’s life (even though he suffers from something like PTSD or some such ailment as a result of his war experience). The other books in the series are>
The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches
I plan to request them from the library immediately. Mr. Bradley is a Canadian author who now lives in Malta, Sherlockian author of a book that argued that Holmes was a woman (!), and a septuagenarian.
Sweet and sassy, and the author is over seventy years old? Congratulations, Mr. Bradley!