Library notes: Put Flavia on the case
By Cathy Brown
Rowan Public Library
Did you know that all the really famous (or should that be infamous?) poisoners in history have names that begin with the letter C?
Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce does. Thanks to the Victorian-era chemistry laboratory left behind by her uncle, Tar de Luce, Flavia knows a great deal about chemistry ó both the kind that will kill and the kind that will just really annoy her older sisters.
In the Flavia de Luce series, Canadian Alan Bradley has created a unique heroine. Flavia lives in the small British village of Bishopís Lacey, which seems to have more than its fair share of murder and intrigue in the post-World War II years.
While being tormented by her sisters and seemingly never able to please her philatelist father, Flavia dreams of the day she will be recognized as the great chemist she knows she is.
To that end, Flavia uses her knowledge to help the local police (whether they want her help or not) in the first three novels of a planned six: ěThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie,î ěThe Weed that Strings the Hangmanís Bagî and ěA Red Herring Without Mustard.î
One does not have to have Flaviaís knowledge of poisons to enjoy the books, but donít make the mistake of thinking these are just standard murder mysteries, either. With Flavia as the novelsí narrator, Bradley has done a wonderful job of letting the reader see the citizens of Bishopís Lacey through the eyes of a child. Flavia may be book smart beyond her years, but she is not nearly as street smart, which leads to her placing herself in a series of dangerous situations in her efforts to find the truth.
Published in 2009, ěThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pieî involves Flavia in a murder that occurs in her fatherís cucumber patch. Through her knowledge of the chemicals, pure stubbornness and riding a bicycle named Gladys, Flavia not only solves that murder, but also solves the 20-year-old mystery of the suicide of her fatherís school headmaster.
Last year, Flavia returned in ěThe Weed that Strings the Hangmanís Bag.î When the citizens of Bishopís Lacey witness the death of a nationally renowned puppeteer during a show, Flavia (and Gladys) once again ride in to bring the killer to justice. In the process, Flavia uses her deductive skills to solve the mysterious 8-year-old death of a local child and friend, along with discovering a local drug ring.
This past February, Flaviaís latest adventure, ěA Red Herring Without Mustard,î was published. Due to her guilt over accidentally burning down a gypsy tent, Flavia is tied to one murder attempt, one actual murder, and accidentally solves the mystery of an infant that disappeared several years before.
Those who enjoy a good mystery will definitely take delight in the antics and deductive powers of young Flavia. Contact Rowan Public Library to check out any of the books in the series and to find other great mysteries.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are approximately 90 minutes. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times at all locations are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 (basic computer skills required; April 11, 7 p.m., Absolute Beginners; April 18, 7 p.m., Internet Basics.
South ó Monday, 7 p.m., Absolute Beginners; April 28, 11 a.m., Introduction to Gmail
East ó registration required. April 14, 1 p.m., Postcards from the Web: Interesting Places to Visit Online.
Childrenís Storytime: Now through April 29, weekly story time. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
Headquarters ó Toddler Time (18-35-month-olds), Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Baby Time (6-23-month-olds), Wednesdays, 11 a.m. Preschool Time (3-5-year-olds), Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; Noodlehead (4-8 years), Thursdays, 4 p.m.
South ó Noodlehead, Mondays, 4 p.m.; Baby Time, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Preschool Time, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.; Toddler Time, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.
East ó Preschool Time, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Toddler Time, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.; Baby Time, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.
Princess party with author Stephanie Greene: Headquarters, April 14, 5:30-7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Author Stephanie Greene has a new book, ěPrincess Posey and the Perfect Present,î a K-2 early reader chapter book. We will celebrate with the Rowan Childrenís Literature Guild by having a Princess Tea Party at RPL in honor of National Library Week. This event is free. Books will be available for purchase or bring your own copy to have signed.
Chris Hartley, author of ěStonemanís Raid 1865î: Headquarters, April 19, 7 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Rowan citizens will be able to relive the past when Chris Hartley shares his book, ěStonemanís Raid 1865î at RPL. Copies of Hartleyís book will be available for purchase. The program is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will follow the program.
Book chats for children: South only; April 14, 4:15 p.m. ěGranny Torrelli Makes Soupî by Sharon Creech; grades three and four. Children in grades two through five (different grade each month) are invited to participate in ěBook Chatsî at RPLís South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove. Registration is required and space is limited. Please call 704-216-7728 for more information.
Book Bites Club: South only; April 26, 6:30 p.m., ěA Reliable Wifeî by Robert Goolrick. Book discussion groups for both adults and children will meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public; anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information please call 704-216-8229.
American Girl Club: Headquarters, April 16, 11 a.m. A book discussion group about the life and times of the American Girl characters.
JRís Adventure Club: Headquarters, April 30, 11 a.m. The club will choose a project to build, and have books from the library and recommended websites that go along with the project. The club is open to all school age children. Light refreshments will be served. Call 704-216-8234 to learn more.
Teen program: Enjoy board games and video games.
East ó April 18, 5:30-7 p.m.
Headquarters óApril 19, 5:30-7 p.m.
South ó April 26, 5:30-7 p.m.
Displays: Headquarters ó Lee Street Theatre and National Library Month; South ó watercolors by Caroline Marshall; East ó Ann Furr 4-H.
Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.