fredag den 21. januar 2011

Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (2009)

[Dansk titel: Flavia de Luce og hævneren fra Ulster, 2010. De to første kapitler kan læses på Saxos hjemmeside

This debut is written by a Canadian but set in Britain in the 1950s.

On the very first page eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce has been gagged, tied and locked up in the attic. Fortunately only by her older sisters Daphne and Octavia. With the mother dead and the father an unobservant philatelist, the daughters are left to solve their conflicts on their own.

Soon, however, a very real enemy from outside the family leaves a dead snipe with a one-penny stamp on the doorstep. Flavia, who is not beyond listening at doors, learns that her father is involved in a thirty-year-old mystery that involves a very rare stamp and a death.  The following morning she finds a dying man among their cucumbers, and when Inspector Hewitt botches up the case, it is up to Flavia to solve the mystery with the aid of faithful Gladys, her mother´s old bicycle.

Despite her young age, Flavia is an excellent chemist who also shows great detecting skills. She has taken over the old lab in the Georgian family home, Buckshaw – a setting which slowly comes to life together with Flavia who seems to know the place better than anyone else.

“Like an inchworm, I wiggled my way up onto my knees, but it was too late.”

This ubiquitous inchworm is a rather unusual amateur detective; a lonely, precocious protagonist who struggles hard to be the son she believes her father wanted.

I bought the Kindle version myself and my one-word judgement: wonderful!

Read for the 2011 Global Reading Challenge: North America (Canada)

14 kommentarer:

Harvee sagde ...

I was surprised how much I liked Falvia and this book. I went out and borrowed the follow up novel, which is just as good if not better!

Dorte H sagde ...

Harvee: I envy you a bit that you can just go to the library and pick it up. It´s on my Kindle wish list, though.

Anonym sagde ...

Dorte - What a fine review! Thanks! And I agree, this is a terrific book. If it's any comfort, I haven't yet read The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, either. I will, though.

Elizabeth Spann Craig sagde ...

I was at the Malice conference when this book won. He wasn't there, though...lives in Europe, right? I need to download it--I keep hearing amazing things about the book.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: reading it made me feel happy - there is no other way of expressing it.

Elizabeth: I just checked and yes, Bradley lives in Malta now.

Felicity Grace Terry sagde ...

I read this at my reading group last year and really enjoyed it. However the rest of my group didn't - I seem to remember comments such as boring and old fashioned being used.

Cathryn Grant sagde ...

I've heard such great things about this book, now you've convinced me I must buy it. Thanks for an enticing review. (And I enjoyed the wiggling inchworm image!)

Heather sagde ...

I read this last year and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. will add a link to your review on my blog. thanks.

Kelly sagde ...

A great review of a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm waiting for the second in softcover (not mass-market paperback) since I kept the first in my collection and prefer my books to match when possible. It's not like I don't have plenty of other things to read in the meantime!

Unknown sagde ...

Cool! I want to read a Canadian writer, now I know a great place to start.

Dorte H sagde ...

Tracy: a setting in the fifties may be old-fashioned, but boring? No way!

Cathryn: I don´t know how old Alan Bradley is, but he looks older than me, and I think it is impressive that he has come up with this very young heroine :D

Heather: you are welcome!

Kelly: I´ll probably buy the second in the Kindle format as well (I am keeping an eye on the price)

Clarissa: I think you´ll enjoy this one very much.

Karen Russell sagde ...

I liked the second one as much or even more, so move it up a little higher on your list. :D

Dorte H sagde ...

Karen: I am sure it is brilliant, but there are no books on the budget until February! ;)

Beth F sagde ...

Oh yes! I loved this book -- I listened to the audio and could not turn off the mp3 player. I haven't gotten to the second one yet.