Flavia de Luce, an eleven-year-old British sleuth who very recently entered the literary scene, already has a fan club! I'm joining the quickly-growing group of readers who have fallen in love with this winning heroine, penned by septuagenarian debut novelist Alan Bradley. After following Flavia through her first crime-solving adventure, with five more to come, I say, "Sign me up and bring them on!"
What makes Flavia such a fun heroine? Through her first-person narration we enjoy her illuminating thought processes - which can take us from the brilliance of Sherlock Holmes to the schemes typical of a young girl seeking revenge on two older sisters who often belittle and torture her. I found myself saying, "You go girl!" as Flavia passionately concocts a poison in her chemistry lab - not fatal of course, just enough to mix into the vain sister's lipstick, causing her lips...
Beyond the Book
The Story of Stamps
Great Britain's "Penny Black" plays a significant role in The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
. It was the first stamp, first issued on May 6, 1840. It cost one penny, was printed in black, and bore the profile of Queen Victoria. For the next 60 years (until her death in 1901), Queen Victoria's portrait was the only subject allowed on British stamps.
In the early days of the postal service stamps and envelopes did not exist. A letter was folded, sealed shut and, although it was possible to prepay, it was usually the person who received the letter who paid for the delivery costs....