flavia de luce

There are books that I hear a lot about, and mean to get around to reading…and then don’t, for various reasons, for quite some time.  Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was one such book.  Having recently (finally) read it, I have to wonder what stops me from seeking them out – for it seems I have been depriving myself for months (years?) of a charming and witty protagonist/narrator by the name of Flavia de Luce.

Bradley’s Flavia is an eleven-year-old chemist – seemingly quite the prodigy – who turns her considerable intelligence to crime-solving after a murder occurs in her own backyard.  Set in the 1950s in the English countryside, her investigative adventures are bright, funny, and highly readable.  The quirky characters are written remarkably well, full of idiosyncrasies, but still quite human.  And Flavia is the best of them – clearly clever and mature in many ways, but still very much an eleven-year-old girl apt to fall into scrapes and occasionally at the mercy of her overbearing sisters or intimidating father.  And the running literary and chemistry references throughout give the book an entirely unique voice; it’s quite possible I’ve learned more about chemistry in the span of one novel than I did in an entire year of high school chem.

Once I did finally pick up Flavia’s story, I had a hard time putting it down.  After finishing Sweetness, I moved directly into Bradley’s second installment – and I think there’s even a third one waiting for me.   So if you haven’t already discovered them on your own, don’t make the same mistake I did in putting them off – Flavia is definitely someone worth getting to know.


~ by Molly on March 15, 2011.

2 Responses to “flavia de luce”

  1. I love Flavia! I can’t wait until I finish the other books I’ve committed to so I can read the third installment. At first, I thought the whole setup was a little too twee, but I went with it and had so much fun!

    • Erica, I think you’re one of the (many) places I heard about Flavia in the first place. Thanks for such a great recommendation!

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