The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley I stumbled upon the title of the second book in the series (The Weed that strings the Hamgman’s Bag) and was intrigued, so I decided to give the first one a chance even though I rarely read mystery or detective novels. Not without some trepidation, though, because I feared that I might be severely annoyed by a story centred around and even told from the POV of a pre-teen, know-it-all, first-person-narrator. Images of an insufferable Episode One Anakin Skywalker flooded my mind and made me squirm in my seat in an attempt to get away from these mental images. And all that before I had even read a single sentence of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. That didn’t bode well.But Lo and behold! I was oh so pleasantly surprised. Flavia de Luce is nothing like that. Yes, she’s very smart and she knows it. One might accuse her of being a Mary Sue if it wasn’t for her “evil” older sisters and her absent-minded father, who constantly make her doubt her own worth – but never for a long time. :o) She gets totally absorbed in her sleuthing, but also easily distracted by plotting acts of revenge on her sisters at the same time. Her observations are almost uncanny in their precision. She knows things an 11 year-old, even one with exceptionally much time, a vast library and her own laboratory at her disposal, could hardly know. She might have a touch of Asperger’s if it wasn’t for her easy way to get along with the inhabitants of the nearby villages (the members of her own family being the exception) whom she easily manipulates into spilling the beans to a seemingly innocent and completely harmless child. Flavia’s narration is adorable; her elaborations on her misadventures and failed attempts at revenge on her sisters are charming. She’s certainly walking a thin line between being annoying and droll, but has not managed to put me of yet. With Flavia at the centre, the world of Buckshaw and Bishop’s Lacey is an enjoyable place to visit, with a lot much more hidden beneath the surface layer. I’m looking forward to reading many more novels set there and finding out more about the de Luce family history.