The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Of added interest is that Alan Bradley was the Director of Television Engineering in the media centre at the University of Saskatchewan for 25 years before taking early retirement to write in 1994. I hadn't known that when I picked up the book. Here's a link to his bio.
This book is intended to be the first in a series of books and I think the 2nd in the series is supposed to be available this month. I think Alan Bradley is going to be a very wealthy man if his next books are as good as his first! The stories will be loved by young adult readers as well as adults.
The protagonist is Flavia de Luce, a precocious 11 year old who lives in an old mansion that happens to have a Victorian era chemistry lab, which sparks in Flavia a passion for potions! She has an eccentric family and is an amateur detective. I'm not typically a mystery reader but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love reading books where I learn something and in this one I learned some things about chemistry and stamps. It was a delightful read.
Flavia also loosely reminds me of Harriet the Spy, who I adored as a young girl!
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