The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Mini-thoughts   The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, 2010 Bantam Books Trade Paperback Edition (orig copyright 2009), 370 pages.


– William King, The Art of Cookery (1708)

Just so you know, I will not be reviewing this book here.   In this post…   NOT a review.

And, I’m OK with that because I have decided that I am not and do not want to be a book reviewer.     I prefer this blog to be a place where I talk yap about the books I read and —   actually I prefer 1)  you either already know about the book and/or have read it already, too.   OR 2)  you prefer not to know anything whatsoever about it but just want me to tell you YES!  READ THIS!  or NO!  DON’T BOTHER!!

Well, if you checked box #2, I won’t be telling you yes nor will I tell you no.

Cuz it depends.

I read this because it has been well received in book-blogosphere and had a precociously smart and clever girl for protagonist.    [I really read this because it has PIE in the title.]     My friend loaned it to me.      I appreciate the cover; relevant to the story and such a pretty green.

It’s good.   I enjoyed it.   It’s a mystery – crime thriller.    It’s smart*.     Characters are terrific.     I really loved that the author is 70+ years old and this is his first novel.   It won an award for debut mystery books (the Crimewriter’s Association Debut Dagger Award).     That’s just cool.   Congratulations Mr. Bradley!

This satisfies the FOOD category of the What’s in a Name 3 Challenge.

RATING:  Three Pie Slices – of Custard Pie.     if you like coconut:   Amazing Coconut Custard Pie Post

Please, if you want to read other blogger thoughts, click on a few of these links:    Fyrefly’s Books – includes a great paragraph discussing YA merits, Lesley’s Book Nook, Bending Bookshelf, Shelflove, Book-A-Rama, Save Ophelia, Necromancy Never Pays,  and the link to Fyrefly’s Master Search…

*   A BIG Thank you to Wordlily for word definitions – I needed to prep/study….   HERE and HERE.

Honestly, I dislike series books and will not likely read the next one which happens to be out very soon: The Weed That Stings the Hangman’s Bag.  Perhaps I’m not in such a plot-driven mood?   I’m missing Virginia Woolf but don’t have anything in house;  however, I have found solace in the book I just picked up Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy.    It’s quite lovely.


Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

27 thoughts on “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

  1. I didn’t realize Alan Bradley was in his 70s… that’s very cool.

    I am looking forward to the sequel, although it was my impression that it wasn’t so much a sequel proper as it was another story featuring the same characters. (If that distinction makes sense.) Since my favorite parts of the book were the characters, and not so much the plot (although that was fine too), I am more than game to read another one.

    1. Oh right you are! not really a series but another book, same detective: Flavia. I would not avoid another book but I just have too many books I want to read that ‘more of the same but different’ is not what I’m seeking at the moment. Your distinction makes perfect sense. Thanks for pointing that out.

      1. I think part of it might be that it’s been a good 9 months or so since I read the first one; if I’d just finished it I doubt I’d be jumping all over the sequel right away either.

        1. Well, I do make it known that I am not the kind of reader who finds an author to love then reads everything they’ve ever written. or I used to not be. Back when I only read 10 books a year… I’m now deciding I want to read everything written by Tracy Kidder, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood and Jennie Nash. I’ve already got so many books I want to read that I – dare I say? I can’t ever die. Then again, I have longliving genes…

    1. Oh, I liked it just fine. I go by the star system in three stars means I like it, four stars means I really like it, and five stars means OMG IT’S INCREDIBLY AWESOME! Two stars would mean more “it was only OK” and one star means no-likey…
      so, three stars is decent just not gush-worthy, I guess. sigh.

  2. I enjoyed your non-review, even if you didn’t love this book (why custard pie, by the way?). I want to read it, but I know I have to wait until the hype DIES DOWN.

  3. This book has gotten so many great reviews (and I too love the name and cover!) but I still can’t quite decide if it’s a book I would like. It’s so different from what I normally read, but maybe that’s a reason to try it. Why am I rambling in your comments section? I’ll stop now! Great non-review btw!

  4. I liked this one. It was the green cover that attracted me. And the hardcover was a good size — it was kind of little and perfect for carrying in my bag.

    1. Isn’t it fun sometimes what’s fun about abt a book? I think one of our book club books was successfully influenced by those half-flap book marker flaps…

  5. I didn’t know the author was 70-ish. That gives me hope!

    I mix up this book with At The Corner of Bitter and Sweet..or something like that..

  6. I started this book last year but wasn’t able to finish it. I had just finished reading a book that has another young girl scientist in it.

    I keep reading great things about Love Begins in Winter! Can’t wait to read your thoughts on it! Happy reading.

    1. I’m glad I read it – if not only so I know who this Flavia character is!

      You know I’ll have a ‘thoughts’ post on LBIW sooner or later. 🙂

  7. I love series because it is like meeting old acquaintances! I think this one sounds good, and I agree the title is very appetizing 😀

    And it is fine that he has his debut at the age of 70. It is good that you don´t have to be young and beautiful in some branches (well, perhaps he is extremely handsome, but you know what I mean).

  8. I kind of wanted to see Flavia have a nicer relationship with her sisters. All through the book when they were fighting, I was thinking, aw, but sisters are so great! Whereas my mother, who has a turbulent relationship with her sister, thought it was great. 🙂

  9. I really enjoyed “Sweetness” and found it a fun, light read! I am a series and author follower, but I prefer to find the books at the library, so sometimes I have to wait.

    1. It IS a fun, light read. I’m starting to be an author follower. The only exception with series books that I can think of for me is Chronicles of Narnia – but I was young then. And Janet Evanovich – I mowed thru the first 8 once I started but again, that was way before I knew what ‘tbr’ stood for.

  10. Oh Care, I utterly adore your “yapping” about books!!! 😀 I’m really looking forward to reading this one of these days…someone who read it told me that the girl in it reminds them so much of my daughter, so of course, I’m curious. I didn’t realize that the author was an older gentleman publishing his very first book…somehow that just makes it extra cool.

    1. oh Debi, I am so thrilled that you enjoy my yapping!

      Your dot isn’t obsessed with poisons, is she? Hopefully not more than an impressive interest in chemistry. Flavia is a smart kid and I wouldn’t want to cross her.

  11. I haven’t yet begun the audio; since I’ll be listening on the treadmill, I won’t worry about those new-to-me words!

    And, isn’t Simon Van Booy just WONDERFUL!? See if you can find a YouTube interview or reading – funny engaging guy (and quite a writer!)

  12. I really liked this book – and have my hands on the sequel now, which I will be reading soon. I also read this one a year ago so perhaps that is why I’m eager to read the sequel now. Back to back isn’t always the best. But Bradley’s third one is also in the works for anyone interested in the series!

    He also wrote a small memoir of his childhood relationship with his mother a few years ago that nobody really seems to know about, but I absolutely loved it. It was lovely, endearing and had some really funny parts as well. It ws entitled The Shoebox Bible, and I highly recommend it.

  13. Almost forgot to add that I also love the cover – so relevant to the story, and of the perfect colour. It’s the shade of green known as ‘poison green’ in sewing circles; I think the designer was spot on with this cover.

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