the sweetness at the bottom of the pie by a bradley

What’s in a name?, Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet.  Do our names slightly, slightly, double-slightly represent who we are? Our personalities or characteristics?  In the fiction world, many authors go nuts trying to come up with names that adequately symbolize their characters.

Perchance this was Alan Bradley’s intention when he wrote The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia de Luce.  Flavia means “blond” and is an Italian female name.  Luce is also a well-known surname but in plain ol’ English, luce also means (when fully grown) a pike.  Possible interpretation? A golden specie.  I can go on with this name business so I’ll leave the rest of the speculations up to you; but just as the name suggests, the book is the window to the adventures of an intelligent, funny, and curiously gifted little girl, Flavia.  Her passion lies in chemistry and working in her late mother’s research lab to make poison.  She’s only eleven but she often outsmarts her older sisters.

One mysterious night, she finds a dead black bird with a postage stamp stuck on its beak at her family’s house.  In the midst of trying to play detective and figure out why it was left on her door step, she finds a dead man in her family’s cucumber porch.  While any normal prepubescent child would freak the hell out over a dead body, she tells us that it’s the most exciting thing that has happened in her entire life.  From that point on, Flavia takes us on a mysterious journey to find the killer.

She’s quite the voracious and determined Sherlock Holmes.  The murder consumes her andshe does come to meet the ends for the murder case.  The witty character definitely reminded me of Paloma from The Elegance of the Hedgehog. It was an entertaining read, indeed.  A fast-paced, easy read.  Although… if I were to recommend a smart, mystery book I would give you The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

dee’s recommendation: 3.5/5