Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce is my favorite new sleuth. I loved the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009), so much that I think I have driven my friends and co-workers crazy talking about it. But I think a lot of them have read it and feel the same way. I found the book as an advanced reader’s copy and picked it up because of the cover and the title. I am happy I did. When I learned that the next in the six-book Flavia series was coming out, The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (2010), in March of 2010 – I started searching for an advanced reader’s copy. A co-worker brought one back from a library event, not knowing that I was searching, and gave it to me.
Flavia de Luce is a brilliant eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and poisons in particular. She is as brilliant as Sherlock Holmes and as observant and down-to-earth as Miss Marple. Riding the English countryside on her beloved bicycle, Gladys, Flavia solves murders. In Weed, she is faced with two deaths but are they murders?
Set in 1950, a famous BBC puppeteer and his assistant have a vehicle breakdown in Bishop’s Lacy. Rupert Porson puts on a show in the church hall to help pay for the repairs and he is electrocuted during the second show. Who did it? Did the assistant do it? Did the vicar’s wife? What’s it to do with the other death years before?
We can rely on Flavia to find out! While dealing with her insufferable older sisters, a distant father, and a crazy tyrannical aunt come to visit, Flavia will work with the trusty Dogger to solve this mystery. Dogger is a “family retainer” with a shell-shocked past that drops gems of wisdom and mysterious information. I loved the introduction of the quirky spinster aunt, I’ve a feeling she will be around in the next books.
Watch for this book to be put out on the shelves of EVPL in March, but in meantime pick up The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie now and read it. Sweetness is available to read or to listen to on either cd or download. My advanced reader’s copy is making the rounds of the Library staff now, who knows when I will get it back…