The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: A Flavia de Luce Mystery

By Alan Bradley

It's the summer time of 1950–and on the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, younger Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a fondness for poison, is intrigued by way of a sequence of inexplicable occasions: A useless poultry is located at the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia unearths a guy mendacity within the cucumber patch and watches him as he's taking his demise breath.

For Flavia, who's either appalled and thrilled, lifestyles starts in earnest while homicide involves Buckshaw. “I want i'll say i used to be afraid, yet I wasn’t. really the opposite. This was once via a long way the main fascinating factor that had ever occurred to me in my complete life.”

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Twining. That used to be it. “Old Cuppa. ” and that i knew accurately the place to discover him. 5 BISHOP LACEY’S loose LIBRARY used to be situated IN COW Lane, a slim, shady, tree-lined music that sloped from the excessive highway right down to the river. the unique construction used to be a modest Georgian residence of black brick, whose picture had as soon as seemed in colour at the conceal of state lifestyles. It have been given to the folks of Bishop’s Lacey via Lord Margate, an area boy who had made stable (as simple previous Adrian Chipping) and had long past directly to status and fortune because the sole purveyor of BeefChips, a tinned bully pork of his personal invention, to Her Majesty’s govt in the course of the Boer conflict. The library had existed as an oasis of silence till 1939. Then, whereas closed for renovations, it had taken hearth whilst a pile of painter’s rags spontaneously combusted simply as Mr. Chamberlain used to be providing to the British humans his well-known “As lengthy as struggle has now not began, there's regularly desire that it can be avoided” speech. because the complete grownup inhabitants of Bishop’s Lacey have been huddled around one another’s instant units, nobody, together with the six participants of the volunteer fireplace division, had noticed the blaze until eventually it used to be a ways too overdue. by the point they arrived with their hand-operated pumping engine, not anything remained of where yet a pile of scorching ashes. thankfully, all the books had escaped, having been kept for cover in transitority quarters. yet with the outbreak of battle then, and the overall fatigue because the Armistice, the unique construction had by no means been changed. Its web site was once now not anything greater than a weed-infested patch in Cater highway, simply not far away from the 13 Drakes. the valuables, having been given in perpetuity to the villagers of Bishop’s Lacey, couldn't be offered, and the once-temporary premises that housed its holdings had now turn into the loose Library’s everlasting domestic in Cow Lane. As I became off the excessive road, i'll see the library, a low field of glass-brick and tile, which have been erected within the Twenties to deal with a motorized vehicle showroom. a number of of the unique the teeth indicators bearing the names of extinct motor vehicles, corresponding to the Wolseley and the Sheffield-Simplex, have been nonetheless hooked up to 1 of its partitions lower than the roofline, too excessive as much as have attracted the eye of thieves or vandals. Now, 1 / 4 century after the final Lagonda had rolled out of its doorways, the development had fallen, like previous crockery within the servant’s quarters, right into a type of chipped and damaged decrepitude. at the back of and past the library, a warren of decaying outbuildings, like tombstones clustered around a rustic church, subsided into the lengthy grass among the outdated showroom and the deserted towpath that the river. a number of of those dirt-floored hovels housed the overflow of books from the library’s gone and masses greater Georgian predecessor. Makeshift constructions that had as soon as been a cluster of motor fix outlets now came upon their dim interiors domestic to row upon row of undesirable books, their matters categorised above them: heritage, Geography, Philosophy, technological know-how.

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