I love the Flavia de Luce mystery novels. There are five of them in all at this point. They are written by Alan Bradley, a British mystery writer. He has given birth to Flavia, an eleven-year-old English girl with a love of chemistry, specifically poisons that she manufacturers in her laboratory in her ancestral home of Buckshaw.
I enjoy all the books and have been re-reading them in the order they were written this past year and really enjoying them. But the one that I particularly enjoy is the first Flavia de Luce mystery, the one that started it all. It is The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie. This is the book that first introduces the reader to Flavia and her sisters Daffy and Feeley. We meet their cook and housekeeper, Mrs. Mullet. Dogger, the handyman and general helper about Buckshaw and great friend to Flavia, makes his appearance. Colonel Haviland de Luce is cast in an important role, as he is accused of murder in this first book and Flavia must prove his innocence. Flavia sets out to solve two mysterious deaths, the death of Horace Bonepenny, the man found murdered in the Buckshaw cucumber patch, and the long-ago death of Mr. Twining, her father’s professor at Greyminster. And solve these mysterious deaths she does, while putting herself in danger and getting herself kidnapped by Bonepenny’s associate in the stealing of a rare stamp and who is a murderer. But Dogger, ever faithful comes to her rescue.
I love this book because it has such delicious humor. Flavia tells the story in her words, with marvelous turn of phrases. She delights in the wonders of chemistry and world of poisons. She uses her knowledge of the chemical world to solve part of the mystery of Horace Bonepenny’s death. She relies on chemistry to torment her sisters. She uses the scientific method and makes notation of her observations in her journal. She is a true scientist at age eleven. Bur she is quite funny as she does these things. I never tire of reading Flavia’s thoughts and her retorts to her sisters. Her logical processes are marvels as she figures out how things occurred. Her visit to her father in jail in Hinley is very touching. Your heart breaks for her.
I don’t tire of reading this book. I read it and go on to the rest of the series and then come back to it again and it is still fresh to me. The language is truly beautiful. Bradley has a wonderful way with words as he writes as Flavia. That’s why I keep returning to this book.