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 keenness for poison, is intrigued by way of a chain of inexplicable occasions: A useless chicken 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 extremely joyful, existence starts off in earnest whilst homicide involves Buckshaw. “I want i may say i used to be afraid, yet I wasn’t. relatively the opposite. This used to be via a long way the main fascinating factor that had ever occurred to me in my complete life.”

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THE POLICE STATION IN HINLEY used to be housed in a construction that had as soon as been a training lodge. Uncomfortably hemmed in among a small park and a cinema, its half-timbered entrance jutted beetle-brow out over the road, the blue lamp suspended from its overhang. A cinder-block addition, painted a nondescript brown, adhered to the facet of the development like cow muck to a passing railway carriage. This, I suspected, used to be the place the cells have been positioned. Leaving Gladys to graze in a bicycle stand that was once greater than part choked with official-looking black Raleighs, I went up the worn steps and within the entrance door. A uniformed sergeant sat at a table shuffling bits of paper and scratching his sparse hair with the sharpened finish of a pencil. I smiled and walked on prior. “ ’Old on, ’old on,” he rumbled. “Where do you're thinking that you’re goin’, pass over? ” he requested. it kind of feels to be a trait of policemen to talk in questions. I smiled as though I hadn’t understood and moved in the direction of an open door, past which i'll see a dismal passageway. extra quick than i'd have believed, the sergeant was once on his ft and had seized me by means of the arm. i used to be nabbed. there has been not anything else to do yet burst into tears. I hated to do it, however it used to be the one software I had with me. TEN mins LATER, we have been sipping cocoa within the station tearoom, P. C. Glossop and that i. He had instructed me that he had a lady similar to me at domestic (which, by some means, I doubted), identify of Elizabeth. “She’s an excellent ’elp to her terrible mom, our Lizzie is,” he acknowledged, “seeing as ’ow Missus Glossop, the spouse, that's, ’ad a fall from a ladder within the happle horchard and broke ’er leg weeks in the past come Saturday. ” My first inspiration used to be that he had learn too many problems with The Beano or The Dandy; that he was once laying it on a section thick for leisure reasons. however the earnest glance on his face and the furrowed forehead fast informed me differently: This used to be the genuine Constable Glossop and that i must take care of him on his personal phrases. therefore, i started to sob back and informed him I had no mom and that she had died in distant Tibet in a mountain climbing coincidence and i neglected her dreadfully. “ ’Ere, ’ere, miss,” he acknowledged. “Cryin’s now not allowed in those ’ere premises. Takes clear of the traditional dignity of the surroundin’s, in an effort to converse. You’d most sensible dry up now ’fore I ’ave to toss you within the clink. ” I controlled a faded smile, which he again with curiosity. a number of detectives had slipped in for tea and a bun in the course of my functionality, every one of them giving me a silent thumbs-up smile. at the least they hadn’t requested any questions. “May I see my father, please? ” I requested. “His identify is Colonel de Luce, and that i think you’re retaining him the following. ” Constable Glossop’s face went abruptly clean and that i observed that I had performed my hand too quick; that i used to be now up opposed to officialdom. “Wait ’ere,” he stated, and stepped out right into a slender passageway on the finish of which there a wall of black metal bars. once he was once long past I had a short examine my atmosphere. i used to be in a gloomy little room with sticks of furnishings so shabby that they may were obtained at once off the tailgate of a peddler’s cart, their legs chipped and dented as though they'd suffered a century of kicks within the shin from executive law boots.

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