'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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October 10, 2011

A Trick of the Light




I was looking forward to this new book -- the seventh Three Pines mystery by Louise Penny -- most, of all the mysteries I've been anticipating, and it was a perfect book to enjoy over this long weekend.  It wasn't as deep and dark, possibly not as compelling, as Bury Your Dead, the book that came just before it, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment.  So much happened in that dark and wintry book. and the characters -- especially Chief Inspector Gamache, his second-in-command Jean Guy Beauvoir, and their artist friend, Clara Morrow -- are still dealing with the effects of violence, pain and new-found success.  In this book, Clara has just celebrated (or survived) the opening of her one-woman show at a Montreal museum, and the murder that Gamache and his team investigate is connected to the art world and more personally to Clara. 

As I finished reading it tonight, I was trying to think of what it was that made these books unique, and so appealing to me.  In part, it's the premise -- the murders all occur {or most of them do} in Three Pines, a village (in eastern Quebec) so tiny {or so other-worldly} that it doesn't even appear on maps. Annie, Gamache's daughter, calls the murders there a 'cottage industry.'  Louise Penny has filled the village with a wonderful group of characters, all friends with secrets. I think the books work so well in part because we keep returning to this setting, and these people. But I especially like the way she has drawn Armand Gamache.  Her descriptions of his mannerisms, voice and responses are very subtle, but you still sense his strength of character.

It's funny. I thought I had guessed who the murderer was, and I even thought that it was a little too obvious. That should have warned me away from what I was thinking. I was wrong, and when it was revealed, in a very Hercule-Poirot-like meeting, in the Morrows' living room, on a dark and stormy night, the final resolution made a lot of sense.


1 comment:

Lisa May said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed this! It will be interesting to see if it sweeps the awards, like Bury Your Dead has.

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