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

Filed under:Mystery — posted by Randolph on April 16, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie won the First Dagger award, which prompted my reading. It is a light mystery story involving an 11-year-old girl who’s father is accused of a murder. She solves the murder mostly through legwork and clever deduction. The story is told in the first person, and does a good job of portraying the thoughts, energy, and goals of a child, at least from the perspective of an adult.

The protagonist, Flavia De Luce, is a precocious child and chemistry wiz. She is the daughter of a lower nobleman living in England. She makes the occasional error, which seem very appropriate for this character.

The supporting characters were mostly flat, but also mostly unimportant to the story. Only the inspector and antagonist really played an important role.

I felt the writing did a good job of describing people and the puzzle. The writing flowed well, although the book was a tad on the light side. There was too much information provided early on, making it a little easy to figure out. But the solution was good and made sense.

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” by David Bianculli

Filed under:History — posted by Randolph on April 5, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour by David Bianculli
This is a good history of the Smothers Brothers. The majority of the book covers the story of their show and their fights with CBS. It does a good job of portraying the facts of the issue and does not pretend to portray the brothers (Tom) in the best of light. It clearly shows Tom going to far to create problems where compromise or moderation would have served his own goals better.

The book does a very good job of putting the events into their place in history. Clearly the Vietnam War is an important part of this, but it also draws on the general politics with LBJ and others, social movements, CBS, and the CBS battles with NBC and ABC.

The one disappointment was that some of the stories were repeated. They were in different contexts, but it seemed like whole paragraphs were copied and pasted. I would have preferred that a different perspective were provided, or different details to keep the information fresh.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace