The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is a cozy mystery that introduces a most endearing sleuth. Her name is Flavia de Luce, a plucky eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry. In the summer of 1950 Flavia is living with her father and two sisters on the family estate, Buckshaw. Flavia's mother disappeared when she was a baby and is presumed dead, the mansion is slowly falling down around their ears, and Flavia and her two teenage sisters spend their time teasing and tormenting one another. One day a dead is found on the doorstep with a postage stamp impaled on his beak. Meanwhile, a stranger appears and is soon found dying in the family garden. When Flavia's father is implicated in the death of the man Flavia sets out to discover the truth.
Author Alan Bradley won the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger Award for this engaging story. And the series just gets better with age. If you like cozy mysteries, quirky characters, engaging sleuths or precocious young chemists with a talent for making poisons, you're going to love Flavia de Luce.
For more of Flavia read:
The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag
A Red Herring Without Mustard
I Am Half Sick of Shadows
Speaking From Among the Bones
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
For another precocious sleuth try:
The Enola Holmes series (Sherlock's younger sister), start with: The Case of the Missing Marquess