2011: 52. The Sweetness at The Bottom of the Pie

“It was as black in the closet as old blood.”

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley

This is the first of the Flavia de Luce mysteries, a series set in 1950’s Britain, and starring a precocious 11 year old as the detective.  Which sounds like my sort of thing, but sadly, nope.  It’s extremely quirky (one might even say twee).  Flavia is a genius, an expert in poisons, an aristocrat in a shabby great house, the youngest of three sisters (Ophelia and Daphne, natch), and of, course, the daughter of an unworldly father (to the point of barely being present in his daughters lives) and, of course, a deceased mother, Harriet, who was something of a superhero (mountain climber! socialite! scientist!).  It’s all a bit much.  I don’t know why the over the top nature chafes me - this is, after all, the point of this sort of book, to be a cute little cozy murder, but I couldn’t get into Flavia’s world - mostly because I never believed, not for one second in this fabulous creature that was Flavia.  She’s all quirks, and not one bit a believable 11 year old girl.  Maybe if she’d been 18 I’d have bought it, but I kept flashing to another precocious literary young lady, Ian McEwan’s Briony.  And I know that Atonement is lit-er-a-ture, and this is just fluff, but I couldn’t get over how ersatz Flavia was.  So, I won’t be reading the sequels.

Categories:  Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017