The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

March 9, 2012
“It was as black in the closet as old blood. They had shoved me in and locked the door.” These first sentences of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie spring up many questions for me. Why was the character in the closet, and who had shoved them in? Throughout the book there is just as much mysteriousness and suspense. As you read, you follow 11-year-old Flavia de Luce and her exciting summer, where a murder occurs just outside her bedroom window. Flavia climbs up an old tower, searches through a hotel room, and creates new poisons in her chemistry lab to prank her older sisters, just for fun. Strength, determination, and curiosity are the three important skills that Flavia uses to find out the story behind the murder. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, is an exciting novel that all old-fashioned-mystery lovers will want to read.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is an exciting book about an unexpected murder, two stamps, and a chemistry-loving girl named Flavia de Luce. One day in the summer of 1950, 11-year-old Flavia was with the cook, Mrs. Mullet, and her father, as they discover a dead bird outside their house with a stamp on its beak. Not too soon after that, Flavia finds a complete stranger dying in front of her in her yard. She is terrified, but thrilled to have something exciting happen in her life. Flavia is determined to solve the murder, so she goes around her town, Bishop’s Lacey, gathering evidence, and soon gets close to discovering who the murderer is. Suddenly, the police arrest Flavia’s father and hold him responsible for the stranger’s death. Did Flavia’s father actually murder the stranger, or will Flavia be able to prove that her father is innocent and find the real murderer? You have to read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie to find out!

There are a few genres for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. The two main ones are historical fiction and mystery. It is historical fiction because the book takes place in the 1950’s and it is fictional. It is a mystery book because, well, it’s all about a mystery! In conclusion, the main two genres of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie are historical fiction and mystery.

Do not give up, no matter what obstacles are in your way. This is the main message of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. When Flavia searches for evidence at Greyminster, Inspector Hewitt stops her and brings her home, but she walks right out again and keeps looking for more evidence. Also, when the police arrest Flavia’s father, she doesn’t stop at anything to prove that her father is innocent. Flavia knows that she probably shouldn’t be searching through someone’s inn room or climbing up a dangerous tower, yet she still perseveres since she knows that solving the mystery is something she has to do. To summarize, the theme I found in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is to not give up, even if someone or something is trying to stop you.

There are several things I like and one thing I don’t like about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. First, Alan Bradley describes every scene in the book with great detail. He writes about all five senses to pull you into the book and make you seem like you are in Bishop’s Lacey, the town where Flavia lives, in 1950. I like how Mr. Bradley places the story in the past instead of the present. There are a lot of books about kids solving mysteries in modern times, but I can learn about history when kids solve mysteries in the past, which makes it more interesting. The only thing I didn’t like is that the author uses higher level words, some of which I didn’t know. This book is probably best for kids ages 12 and up. All in all, I loved almost everything about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

In conclusion, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is a great book that Agatha Christie or other mystery-author fans will love. When you read Bradley’s descriptive paragraphs, you are immediately transported into Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia’s town, in 1950, riding along with her on her bicycle, Gladys. You feel like you are right there with her, climbing up a tower or even brewing chemicals in her laboratory. Also, you can get to know the characters so well just by reading about them that it seems as if they are your friends, or enemies. Flavia’s determination can definitely demonstrate for the readers what not giving up really looks like. If you love chemistry, mysteries, and history, then you will love a book that combines all of them: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie!

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Adal V. said...
Mar. 21, 2012 at 8:48 am
Awesome Book Review! Thanks for helping me with mine! :)
PriyaKJ replied...
Mar. 21, 2012 at 8:49 am
Thanks Adal! You're awesome! :D
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