It's Thanksgiving!

Those of us who generally work on holidays tend to lose track of them.  So you can imagine our surprise this morning when we discovered that today is actually Thanksgiving.  (Whoops)  Of course the first thing that came to mind is, "Where's our damned turkey?", but once we reconciled ourselves to the fact that Thanksgiving dinners aren't traditionally served up in airports, we began to think about the real meaning of the holiday and realized there is something we are very grateful for indeed this year:

We are grateful for Alan Bradley.  If you haven't heard of him, allow us to fill you in.  Alan Bradley is a retired director of television engineering who lives in Canada.  When he retired in 1994, he decided to write a novel.  He called his book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and in it he introduced to the world one of the most creative, witty, precocious protagonists ever to grace the pages of a novel, Miss Flavia de Luce.

Flavia is the smartest eleven year old you will ever meet.  The youngest daughter of widower Colonel de Luce, Flavia lives an entirely dysfunctional life in the sleepy English hamlet of Bishop's Lacy in her family's rambling historical estate.  Left to her own devices, she spends her days teaching herself chemistry (her one passion in this world) and torturing her elder sisters, the self-absorbed Ophelia ("Feely") and the bibliophile Daphne.  Oh, and she solves murders, too.

Just because an eleven year old is the main character is Bradley's series of sharp mysteries, don't mistake these books for Young Adult.  They most certainly are not.  The Flavia de Luce series is most assuredly written for adults - adults that appreciate whimsy and wit.

Although he was a very great musician, and a wizard composer of symphonies, Beethoven was quite often a dismal failure when it came to ending them.  The Fifth was a perfect case in point.

Dum. . . dum. . . dum-dum-dum, it would go, and you would think it was over.

But no--

Dum, dah, dum, dah, dum, dah, dum, da, dum, dah, dum---DAH dum.

You'd go to get up and stretch, sighing with satifaction at the great work you'd just listened to, and suddenly:

DAH dum.  DAH. dum.  DAH dum.  And so forth.  DAH dum.

It was like a bit of flypaper stuck to your finger that you couldn't shake off.  The bloody thing clung to life like a limpet.

(from The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag)

Flavia's droll wit and astute powers of observation are without peer in the mystery world.   If you haven't read the series (there are currently four books), don't get left behind.  Track down a copy of the first book in the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and be thankful for authors that can write like this.  A Reader's Respite is.  (Oh, and we're also thankful for the Dunkin' Donuts in O'Hare Airport that is open and serving coffee to the rest of us working this holiday!)


  1. Happy Thanksgiving!

    I haven't read Bradley's books yet.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Amy! And you must read these...I'm so sure you would love them. :)

  3. Um, I didn't really fall in love with the first one, so I didn't continue. But I realize I'm the only one in the universe....

    Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you find turkey somewhere!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving. I haven't read any of these yet but I plan to.

  5. Happy holiday, Michele. I love Flavia!!! I have the latest one here ready to read or listen to.

  6. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, even though you had to work.

  7. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a good one, even if it wasn't exactly a "holiday."

  8. I too work most holidays..I knew it was Thanksgiving because I was the only person there!

  9. I haven't read the Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie but it's on my TBR list.

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