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.
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.
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!)