Ironically I put off reading the first Flavia de Luce book for some time purely because of the title. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie sounded to me like a syrupy Southern sort of thing, something I don’t naturally gravitate to. As I now know it is not that at all. Far from it. I finally got into the series with the second book, The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag, for which I had an ARC and was completely and utterly hooked. The books are delightful, not children’s books as such, but I would imagine those young readers who enjoy other adult mysteries, say those of Agatha Christie, would also enjoy these.
Their appeal is because of Flavia, a winning and wonderful character. She is eleven as the series starts, living in a small 1950′s British village (shows you how you shouldn’t judge a book by its title, at least I sure shouldn’t:), complete with the standard tropes and inhabitants of those sorts of literary places. Flavia is smart, tough, loves chemistry, lives in an Gormenghast-sort of home, is treated horribly by her two older sisters (and gets back at them in some pretty nasty ways), and sleuths her way through each book with vim and vigor. Each in the series has its own mystery and also takes us a little farther along on Flavia’s big mystery — what happened to her mother?
I’m both nervous and excited about the television series Bradley is developing with Sam Mendes. Fingers crossed that it does right by Flavia and her creator. To learn more about her, I recommend this interview with Bradley.