Sweetness-cvr-thumbIn our “Literary Girls” series we have discussed many amazing, inspiring heroines from books we cherished while growing up. Flavia de Luce has appeared on the scene more recently, as the first novel she was featured in was released in 2009, but this brilliant girl detective harkens back to Nancy Drew and other classic mysteries.

Flavia de Luce is described on her creator‚Äôs website as ‚Äúeleven years old and passionate about poisons ‚Äì although she‚Äôs almost as interested in old churchyards and the fascinating chemistry of decay.‚Äù She inhabits the fictional English village of Bishop‚Äôs Lacey in 1950 with her father, Colonel Haviland “Jacko” de Luce, her two older sisters, and her trusty bicycle, Gladys. Flavia is forceful, brilliant beyond precocious, gravitates towards poison and danger, and really must be read to have her voice truly be appreciated.

Flavia’s creator¬†was originally working on a different book entirely when, according to him, “Like Athena, who sprang fully formed and fully armed from the brow of Zeus, Flavia simply appeared. . . She walked onto the page of another book I was writing, and simply hijacked the story. I had no idea who she was or where she came from, and because of that, I resisted her. It took Flavia a while to make me shut up and listen.”

The first of the Flavia de Luce novels, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, was published in 2009. This was the first novel by Alan Bradley, who wrote the book after winning the prestigious Debut Dagger Award for new mystery writers in 2007 on the basis the first chapter and the synopsis of the book. There are currently a total of eight books in the Flavia de Luce series.

Alan Bradley has said in another interview, “It’s certainly time that we had a female protagonist in a series of detective novels, as I’ve said before. . . I really couldn’t imagine Flavia at all other than as a girl. I just couldn’t envision another character who could stand in and have that same personality, that same combination of wild talents.”

-Emily Holm
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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