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Collingwood Public Library 2012

The Defender

Ashley Kulchycki, supervisor, children and teen services at the Collingwood Public Library, is often seen biking around town on her retro red Supercycle. Christened Blanche, the bicycle links her to Flavia de Luce, the heroine of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Although Kulchycki does not share de Luce’s passion for chemistry, she does love to bake, and of course, read. Oliver Jeffers is her literary soul mate and she cries every time she watches Little Women. If you see her zipping around town be sure to say “hello,” and you’ll receive a “ring ring” in response from her bicycle bell.

The Book

The summer of 1950 hasn’t offered up anything out of the ordinary for eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce.

But then a series of mysterious events gets Flavia’s attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath.

Did the stranger die of poisoning?  At that moment, Flavia commits herself to solving the crime – even if it means keeping information from the village police, in order to protect her family. But then her father confesses to the crime, for the same reason, and it’s up to Flavia to free him of suspicion. Only she has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim’s identity, and a conspiracy that reaches back into the de Luces’ murky past.

Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is inventive and quick-witted, with tongue-in-cheek humour that transcends the macabre seriousness of its subject.

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Library Contact: Christine Palka

(705) 445-8757 ext. 6241 /