Sunday, April 19, 2009


Author: Alan Bradley
Genre: Mystery, Series #1
Published: 2009
Personal Rating: 3/5
Yearly Count: 49

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Canadian journalist Bradley's rollicking debut. In a early 1950s English village, Flavia is preoccupied with retaliating against her lofty older sisters when a rude, redheaded stranger arrives to confront her eccentric father, a philatelic devotee. Equally adept at quoting 18th-century works, listening at keyholes and picking locks, Flavia learns that her father, Colonel de Luce, may be involved in the suicide of his long-ago schoolmaster and the theft of a priceless stamp. The sudden expiration of the stranger in a cucumber bed, wacky village characters with ties to the schoolmaster, and a sharp inspector with doubts about the colonel and his enterprising young detective daughter mean complications for Flavia and enormous fun for the reader. Tantalizing hints about a gardener with a shady past and the mysterious death of Flavia's adventurous mother promise further intrigues ahead.

Flavia is certainly an interesting character - precocious, curious and bold. Throughout the book I had moments when her offbeat wit was enjoyable and other times when I simply didn't like it at all. By the end, there still weren't any warm-fuzzies towards her, but I did learn to accept her. Even so, following Flavia around to solve the mystery was engaging. Her knowledge of chemistry added a unique flavor to the book and mixed in with the plot nicely. The book has been well-received by other readers.

This is Bradley's debut novel and he won the 2007 CWA Debut Dagger Award from the British Crime Writers' Association. There's more to come of Flavia because The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first book in The Buckshaw Chronicles. This book will be released on April 28, 2009.

Thank you, Quinne, from Random House for sending me this ARC!


  1. You have to admit it's a great title.

  2. Hmmm, interesting to see your review. I received a review copy last week and am certainly intrigued by the write up on the jacket flap. I agree with b. onion, great title! The title is what first caught my attention.

  3. I've been eyeing this one..the title got me!

  4. I was a fan of Harriet the Spy when I was a kid so I will have to check this one out! Plus, I love the cover- so quirky.

  5. Bermudaonion ~ I'm not sure if it was the title or not, but something drew me in. :)

    Nicola ~ Ohhh, I wonder how you're going to like it. I look forward to your post.

    Bonnie ~ Did you get my e-mail?

    Iliana ~ It has that flavor if I remember correctly; however, I don't think Harriet was so mean or bratty. (I certainly could be wrong.)

  6. Joy, now that I've read the book and re-read your review I see you didn't connect with Flavia. I guess that's a bit similiar to how I got lost with the narrative at times, not remembering that she was a girl, and forgetting she was a child. I definitely enjoyed her more than you did though!

  7. Nicola ~ Yeah, Flavia and I didn't along all that well. :)


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