The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

This is going to be one of those quick ones where I mostly quote myself:

Our 11-year-old hero (no, this is not a kid's book [not that there's anything inappropriate for anyone who's made it through Rowling here]) is a budding, self-taught, chemist with a curious mind and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Her family life is a mess -- but in a charming, amusing, English countryside way -- but our plucky gal has managed to get through it pretty much intact and for the better.


So when she discovers a body on her lawn, yet the police shoo her away from the crime scene and dismiss her, she starts her own investigation. She's helped early on by a fact or two the police didn't obtain from her, and some that she kept to herself out of spite. Her father's arrest for the murder just adds fuel to her fire and becomes determined not only to solve the case before the police but to make them eat a good-sized helping of crow.


Probably not much of a spoiler to say that's exactly what she does, because the book's not about that foregone conclusion, but in watching Flavia do that while making less-than-flattering observations about her older sisters.

This second time through, I did appreciate the way this whole thing was constructed -- particularly the mystery and the reveal -- but also the character moments. I also found the stamp minutiae a little more interesting (but wow, did it take a long time to get through!). I did think there was more of the inspector in this one, but that's just my memory failing me.


Entwistle was really solid in her narration -- I honestly can't imagine that anyone else could've pulled it off. Well, maybe Yeardley Smith, if she can do British accents. Entwistle captures the spark that makes Flavia Flavia, the wit, the spirit, the naïveté; and does a fine job with the rest of the cast of characters, as well.


All in all, a fine audiobook rendering of a fun crime novel. Strongly recommended.