Not your classic who-done-it (whodunnit?), but somehow formulaic (in the manner of a Law and Order episode, where you’re certain the first few suspects are not the killer, and then when the killer is revealed, you’re pretty sure some elaborate withholding was necessary for you to miss the plot point that made the killer’s motive make sense), I understand the success of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Complete with a precocious eleven year old narrator – and who doesn’t love a precocious child narrator who let’s us feel like we, too, were once bright and loquacious youth? – and a wry British humour, the book reads easily.
I say cute, recognizing how I bristle when the adjective is applied to myself, because the book seems to simply want to entertain: a straightforward mystery plot, an engaging – however poorly fleshed out – protagonist, and a sensible tone. Maybe I ought to reconsider my response to ‘cute’ when applied to me, as I see now that the descriptor is not always meant in a pejorative sense (though it does carry those connotations) but rather in the sense of harmless, endearing, and altogether delightful (I’ll assume that’s what people mean when they call me cute…).