WINNER OF THE AGATHA • ARTHUR ELLIS • DILYS • DEBUT DAGGER AWARDS
“Wonderfully entertaining . . . sure to be one of the most loved mysteries of the year . . . [Flavia is] a delightful, intrepid, acid-tongued new heroine.”—Chicago Sun-Times
It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.
For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
BONUS: This edition contains a The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie discussion guide and an excerpt from Alan Bradley's The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Wes Anderson meets Agatha Christie in this cozy and delightfully ghoulish mystery set in post–World War II England. Alan Bradley’s first Flavia de Luce novel introduces a truly unique sleuth: a plucky, precocious, and endearing 11-year-old with an unusual passion for chemistry. When a stranger expires in the cucumber patch of her family’s manor, Flavia becomes a tireless crime solver. Fans of a good British whodunit will be thrilled as Flavia sets out to crack the case—as well as a little anxious that the girl might be in over her head.
Fans of Louise Fitzhugh's iconic Harriet the Spy will welcome 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce, the heroine of Canadian journalist Bradley's rollicking debut. In an early 1950s English village, Flavia is preoccupied with retaliating against her lofty older sisters when a rude, redheaded stranger arrives to confront her eccentric father, a philatelic devotee. Equally adept at quoting 18th-century works, listening at keyholes and picking locks, Flavia learns that her father, Colonel de Luce, may be involved in the suicide of his long-ago schoolmaster and the theft of a priceless stamp. The sudden expiration of the stranger in a cucumber bed, wacky village characters with ties to the schoolmaster, and a sharp inspector with doubts about the colonel and his enterprising young detective daughter mean complications for Flavia and enormous fun for the reader. Tantalizing hints about a gardener with a shady past and the mysterious death of Flavia's adventurous mother promise further intrigues ahead.
The author can surely spin a tale. Wish I had found these earlier so I might be on my 5th re-read by now! Could not put it down! I’ll have to read all ten. I hope someone has the movie rights and we see Flavia onscreen. She is a combo of Ramona Quimby, Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Violet Baudelaire, so young, so gifted, such a great mind. 1950’s England!
Horribly, inexcusably racist.
All those that have showered this book with praise have decided to simply gloss over the disgustingly racist caricature of an Asian man. Was this absolutely needed for a story that takes place in the 1950s written in 2009? Sloppy writing and worse, irresponsible reviewing from critics.
ALL HAIL FLAVIA!
Some may be confused with the fact that spunky but not annoying protagonist, 11 year Flavia’s adventures, is a children’s book, but adults like me were most pleasantly surprised. I read the sample, bought the book and then the whole series. Absolutely fantastic ! Move over Harry...Flavia is here.