Flavia de Luce


If you have not yet discovered the sheer pleasure of Flavia, you need to do yourself the service of checking out The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. All eleven of these books are listed under mystery, with the detective being an eleven year old English girl. That said, Alan Bradley, at age seventy, has told a quirky, humorous, and intriguing adult mystery through the brain of Flavia.

As you might guess, I have read the first two and have the third on the shelf. I have to pace myself, I don’t want to have too much fun all at once.

Just in case you wonder if these books are worth the time, Bradley won  the Debut Dagger Award, the Agatha Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Macavity Award and the Spotted Owl Award, all for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

I give these two a 4.6 each.

Mike Lawrence

A Morbid Taste for Bones

Ellis Peters is the most famous pseudonym of Edith Mary Pargeter (1913-1995). This book is the first of her most successful series, the Brother Cadfael mysteries set in the Twelfth Century. Cadfael is a 50-something monk living in Shrewsbury, England, in an Abby that has become a tourist attraction since this book first came out in 1977. There are 20 books in the series.

I read several of her books years ago and watched all episodes of the TV version staring Derek Jacobi (mid-90’s). Her story telling is wonderful.

This is just the kind of book I enjoy the most. Pargeter was not a historian, but she lived in or near Shrewsbury most of her life and did enough research to “get it right.” She also portrayed the Abby and the town in 1153 in an entirely believable fashion. But the books are not about history or religion, they are about murder and the solving of murder. I think she was as good as Agatha Christie (who died the year before this book was published).

I rate this book 4.5.

Mike Lawrence