March 07, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: Book 14

"It was as black in the closet as old blood."

A delightful first sentence for a delightful book! Seriously, this was a very fun (and suspenseful!) one.

It is 1950 in England. Flavia de Luce, age 11, lives at the country manor called Buckshaw. One early morning she finds a man breathing his last breath lying in their cucumber patch and subsequent events only make things mysterious-er and mysterious-er. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t," she narrates. "Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Flavia is a terrific little protagonist who has a way with words (love how she calls her sister "the Devil's Hairball") and a way with poison. She is funny and smart but also vulnerable - she is, after all, only 11. A bit Harriet the Spy, perhaps? Annoying but clever?

Anyhow, it's a mystery with a bit of philatelic history, and a genuinely engaging and fun story. (Lucky for me, Flavia is going to be the star of a series.) Charming. Thumbs up.

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