Rummanah Aasi
  I mentioned in an earlier post that I'm a very a picky mystery reader. I will even go further in my reading quirks, by saying that I flip to the end of the book and read to see who the criminal is. I won't read the whole section, but scan it and if the mystery is too easily solvable then I won't waste my time in reading it. I don't know if anyone else who does this, but it does save me some time. Recently, I read an old fashion mystery that reminded me of the days where I would devour a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery, a Sherlock Holmes novel, or even Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. The book is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of a Pie by Alan Bradley, which thankfully is a beginning of a series and has recently won the Crime Dagger Award Debut.

Description: Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11 year old who aspires to be chemist and has a passion for poison. She is more delighted than scared when a dead bird is found on the doorstep of her family's decaying mansion with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. She eavesdrop on a private conversation of a man black mailing her father and shortly after comes across a man in the cucumber patch just as he is taking his dying breath. Her father is convicted of the crime, but Flavia believes he is innocent and will stop at nothing to clear her father's name.

Review: I really enjoyed reading this book, partially because I truly adored Flavia and the great cast of characters surrounding a simple mystery. Flavia is very smart and mature for her age. She can easily spout quotes from 18th century literature, read a chemistry book from cover to cover, and yet retain an innocence about her. She is constantly fighting against the traditional roles of being a young girl who knows nothing, which makes her an excellent and unsuspected sleuth.  The mystery is carefully plotted and is filled with background information of the characters as well as the 1950s British time period. I could not help but cheer for Flavia all throughout the novel. I'm sure Flavia's favorite chemist and Sherlock Holmes will be proud of her. I'm definitely going to continue this series and I hope that you'll pick this great book up.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Although Flavia is 11 years old, many children and quite possibly teens may get lost in all the literary and historical allusions in the book. There is a scene where a child is in physical danger. There is also some language in the book.

If you like this book, try: The Weed that Strings the Handman's Bag by Alan Bradley
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