Book Review Club ~ October

Wow! It’s finally October, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean the temperature is dropping, I can still imagine that fall is creeping up on us. It is also high time for another meeting for another meeting of Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club.

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This month I’m reviewing The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Probably a good many of you have read this already. There was a great deal of hype surrounding this release, and it’s long been sitting on my nightstand waiting its turn in the reading rotation. Well the waiting is over, and it is now time for me to add, effusively, to the hype!

Quick summary, without spoilers:
Flavia de Luce is an eleven-year-old firecracker who has a knack for chemistry (particularly poisons), a excess of curiosity, and a taste for revenge. When she literally stumbles over a dead body in the family garden, rather than being horrified, she’s secretly thrilled at her luck. But when the police begin to like her father for the crime, she has no choice but to proceed with a separate investigation in search for the truth.

Armed with ample charm and spunk, Flavia steers her trusty bicycle Gladys through the town of Bishop’s Lacey, the fields of Buckshaw, her family estate, and deeper and deeper into a mystery that involves a decades-old murder. She is resourceful, cagey, and quite the perfect heroine. One could well imagine Miss de Luce dueling with Miss Marple and emerging victorious.

If this isn’t enough to recommend it, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie further intriques with little nuggets of chemistry, a dose of philately (the study of stamps) trivia, and a beautifully painted backdrop of post-war Britain.

If you love mysteries, if you’re fond of British cozies, if you’re a proponent of girl-power, or if you’re simply a lover of a well crafted story or even a collection of well-imagined metaphors, I recommend this book. And I highly anticipate its sequel, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag,
to be released in March 2010.

Don’t you just love those covers???

Be sure to click on the typewriter to head over to Barrie’s blog and see this month’s flurry of reviews.

Posted in book review club on 10/07/2009 10:37 am


  1. pattinase (abbott)

    I guess I am in the minority on this one. It was just too darn precious for my tastes and not enough character and atmosphere. But I am not a fan of cozies. Nice to see an older, first-time writer doing well though.

  2. That sounds fabulous, and I don't think I would have heard about it if not for reading this, given that I don't normally read mysteries.


  3. I've seen a number of well-written reviews for this book, all have enjoyed the book. Your review convinces me that I need to get it and read it myself. I do like cozies. If you want to read my review for the month, Two Old Women by Velma Wallis you’ll find it here.

  4. Keri Mikulski

    Sounds amazing!! :) Love girl power books and it sounds perfect for October. :)

  5. Sarah Laurence

    I was just making it down the list to your post when you posted on mine. It’s like meeting in cyberspace. Fine review of what looks like a good mystery. I love this plug:

    “If you love mysteries, if you're fond of British cozies, if you're a proponent of girl-power, or if you're simply a lover of a well crafted story or even a collection of well-imagined metaphors, I recommend this book.”

    Nice new look to your blog and good to see a profile image of you too.

  6. Hi Alyssa! Thank you for avoiding spoilers. I'm one of those people who plan to read this book, but haven't gotten around to it yet. And, like you, I find the covers irresistible!

  7. First off, thanks for the nice comments on my review, Alyssa. Apparently, I haven't been checking out reviews enough, because I haven't heard of this book:) You certainly make it sound charming–a "British cozy" sounds perfect for this rainy day. Not sure what I will think of an 11-year-old narrator, but I'll give it a try!

  8. oh this sounds so great!
    i'm going to get it for sure…

    hoping it will take me back to my 'harriet the spy' days

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