Hello Challenge Readers!
How was your March reading? Did you find something wonderful to read? Hopefully not anything too creepy (unless that’s what you like!)
As I said before, I’m not too interested in reading about serial killers so I passed on those and went for a straightforward murder. (Nothing creepy about that, right? ha!) I decided to read A Better Man by Louise Penny, a book that had been gifted to me and wow, it was great!
A catastrophic flood, a missing woman and tensions at work greet Chief Inspector Armand Gamache when he returns to the Sûreté du Québec (the national police force in Quebec, Canada) after serving a suspension in the 15th installment of Louise Penny’s popular series.
Gamache has been demoted and now his former second-in-command Jean-Guy Beauvoir is temporarily his supervisor – as well as being his son-on-law. Gamache had been Beauvoir’s mentor and the two share a close bond complicated now by their change in position and the fact the Beauvoir and his wife (Gamache’s daughter) will soon be moving to Paris. In addition, heavy rain and a sudden thaw have caused ice jams on the many rivers of Quebec, threatening dangerous flooding and diverting all personnel to cope with the national emergency. Into this chaos a father reports that his daughter is missing – she had been repeatedly abused by her husband and was desperate to escape and now she cannot be found. The father appeals to Gamache’s love for his own daughter – what would you do if it was her? – and Gamache is drawn into a complicated, twisted, emotional mystery.
This is the first novel by Louise Penny that I’ve read and boy am I hooked now. Penny is a masterful writer, conjuring up a cast of colorful characters in a beautiful setting (I desperately want to go to Quebec now!). It’s not sugar-sweet idyllic because people are, well, people, full of messy emotions and always managing to get themselves tangled up in one situation or another. The mystery is interesting, but the heart of the novel is Gamache, his calm, wise counsel, his brilliant mind, his love for his family and his staff. Now I’m well on my way to reading the entire series from the beginning!
Now it’s your turn – what did you read for March?
Award winning mystery writer Louise Penny is back with her eighth book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery series. The Beautiful Mystery is a bit of a departure (as far as the location) from her previous books, but it just as captivating and engrossing as her previous titles. I hold a soft spot for Three Pines, the quaint and picturesque village where the previous books are located, and even though I was a little leery of the new setting, it is definitely another superb mystery. The book takes place in a remote Quebec monastery where 24 monks live in complete isolation and silence. Ironically, the rest of the world has just discovered this group through their voices and a recording of their haunting and beautiful chants that have been released to the world with rave reviews.
The Beautiful Mystery opens with the shocking murder of one of the monks, Frere Matthieu, the choirmaster of the group. Matthieu has been a champion of releasing the chants to the world in order to raise much needed funds for improvements to the monastery. Chief Inspector Gamache and his right hand man, Jean-Guy Beauvior arrive on the scene to interrogate and question the monks, attempting to piece together the puzzle of which of the remaining monks could possibly commit murder. In addition to solving the crime at the monastery, Gamache and Beauvoir confront personal issues and demons that could have the ability to tear apart their own lives.
The Beautiful Mystery is intriguing enough on its own but if you want to start with the first book in the series pick up Still Life.
Mystery writer and four-time Agatha Award winner Louise Penny’s seventh book in the Inspector Armand Gamache series, A Trick of the Light, may just be her best yet. The book follows the same quirky cast of characters who reside in the sleepy village of Three Pines near Montreal, Canada. Artist and longtime resident Clara Morrow has just reached the pinnacle of her artistic career, a solo exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Montreal. The morning after the opening celebration, as Clara is relishing in her triumph, her closest childhood friend, Lillian Dyson, is found strangled in Clara’s serene garden and Clara quickly becomes the prime suspect.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Surete du Quebec, and his team are called in to investigate the murder, which has become even more complicated as the Inspector is surrounded by the residents of Three Pines, many who have become friendly with him and his team over the years. Gamache soon discovers that Clara and Lillian had become estranged after a falling out decades earlier, which moves the investigation in a new direction. In addition to the murder of Lillian, the story gives the reader a glimpse into the competitive art world and the story is peppered with artists, art critics and museum curators. Gamache soon learns the true nature of the art world, a place where the competition between enemies and friends can lead to murder.
New to Louise Penny’s mysteries? Start with the first book in the series, Still Life, which is also a must read and introduces all the residents of Three Pines!
Louise Penny , a former Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporter, steeps her mysteries in the French culture of Quebec. Her Chief Inspector Gamache series has been compared to Agatha Christie (a small village setting and large cast of characters and surprise endings) . In Brutal Telling, Gamache is called in when an unknown dead body turns up in local bistro. Penny’s skill is creating a place that is so appealing that readers want to move there, bringing to life people you want to spend time with and describing meals that make you salivate.
Kathy Reichs works as a medical examiner in Quebec (and North Carolina). Apparently, the tv show Bones was inspired by Reichs’ work and she also works as a producer on the show.
The heroine of her mysteries is Temperance Brennan, who, coincidentally, is a forensic anthropologist who works in both Quebec and North Carolina. Monday Mourning is set in Montreal, where Tempe investigates the skeletons found in a pizzeria. In this installment, her romance with detective Andrew Ryan is not going well, though the French Canadian setting is as magical as ever.