If you’ve talked to me, you know I like quirky things and quirky characters are included in that list. Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley stars one of my all-time favorite quirky mystery characters, Flavia de Luce.
Flavia is an 11-year girl in 1950s rural England. Her hobbies include being very nosy, annoying her two older sisters and long-suffering father and chemistry, specifically poisons. (!) Flavia’s family, while being from a long line of proud English noble families, has fallen on hard times. So, when a dead bird and then a dead man shows up in her gardens, she is on the case.
Besides a great cast of secondary characters and a pretty realistic (and funny) view of sibling relations, the bucolic English countryside setting is absolutely wonderful. As a bonus, there are six books after this one, which means that you can stay in Flavia’s world for a while.