On Thursday (28th Feb) night, at the Henry Bloom Noble Library in Douglas, there was a small gathering of people who had come to hear Alan Bradley talk about his series of 10 books based on Flavia de Luce the 11 year old detective.
This is not the place to try to review the whole series, instead, it is to share some of the background behind the creation of Flavia, who invaded Bradley’s consciousness with a very real voice and spooky knowledge of chemistry which he professes has never been a topic which held any interest for him.
Begun with a scant 15 pages which his wife persuaded him to enter into the debut dagger award. Dear readers, he won. This led to a book deal for first one, then three and then six books. Ultimately, it ran to a complete set of 10, the last of which has just been published.
Alan described the process of publishing a book. The dust jacket is created while the book is being written and the title usually arrives before the creative process has finished, but it the case of the first book, the title presented itself about 10 years before pen was put to paper (or more properly, finger to keyboard). The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie comes from a cookery book from the 1600s by William King.
Unless some sweetness at bottom lie, Who cares for the crinkling of the pie?
His latest, and possibly the last in the series, is called The Golden Tresses of the Dead which takes our heroine on to the foundation of a detective agency with her Father’s valet, Dogger. It entered the New York Times best seller list at number 6 on publication. There are some keen followers of the series and Alan has had some vitriolic emails when it was announced that it would be the last in the series. Flavia is a character who inspires passionate followers.
Brought up in Canada, via a stay in Malta, Alan now lives in Peel. Thanks must go to The Bridge Bookshop and Douglas Town Library staff for hosting the event so well.