The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A historical fiction cozy with a child sleuth who doesn't have any special powers beyond her own intellect - now that's an original idea for a book! Bradley does quite a good job of balancing his genre's, never letting the story of how life was changing for the landed gentry in post WWII England over shadow the convoluted whodunit (complete with requisite appearances of a cat and tea kettles). Like most cozies, the mystery isn't all that challenging to figure out, so missteps and red herrings are added to keep the book from being more than a short story. What makes this an enjoyable read is Flavia (our girl detective who lives the "Better living through chemistry" credo even if she's never heard it) and just about every other character that appears more than once in this story. Flavia is a child emotionally, and her world and relationships reflect that. But through Bradley's talented writing, the reader can see the deeper complications that make being a kid something worth writing (and laughing) about.
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