Monday, March 23, 2009

Readalikes - The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley is causing a bit of a sensation in the Canadian publishing world. At age 70, this BC writer finds himself the recipient of the Debut Dagger Award and of a multi-book publishing deal.

At the center of all this hubbub is Flavie de Luce, an 11 year old sleuth living in 1950's rural England. Flavie discovers a dead body in her father's cucumber patch, and aided by her trusty bicycle, attempts to solve the mystery.

Sweetness is set in a more innocent time and reflects village life in England with its clear social layers, its stately homes and quirky characters. This book has been described by a Debut Dagger judge as "Enid Blyton for Adults."

This is a toughie to come up with potential reads while you are waiting for this one. I suspect that if you enjoyed Harriet the Spy as a child, you would likely enjoy this book. I came across The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice which has also been described as "Enid Blyton for Adults". It is also set in post war England, centred around a daring young woman and her friends. While not mysteries, perhaps H.E. Bates' Darling Buds of May and the other Pop Larkin Chronicles might be a choice as well.

Other authors who won the Debut Dagger Competition (judging is based on the opening 3000 words of an unpublished book) were: Ilona van Mil, Edward Wright, Simon Levack and Caroline Carver.

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