Winner of the 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel!
Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.
No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter - and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder - or brilliant enough to succeed?
With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.
©2006 Louise Penny (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc
From 4/12/15 on, I will only rate a book 5 stars if it so good I will listen to it again. To date, the Bino series tops that list.
This is another great story set in Three Pines. It involves the murder of truly horrible woman, which wouldn't interest me had it not been for the villagers of 3 pines and Gamache himself. It's funny and just great story telling.
Here's a snippet from my first review of the first book in the series.
Let me tell you why I have fallen in love with the series.
Inspector Gamache is a smart and extremely humane hero. He doesn't have flaws or demons like Robicheaux or Hole, but he does share their extreme sensitivity in crime solving. And unlike those two great detectives, he doesn't resort to violence, or at least he hasn't been forced to yet. What sets him apart is the absolute devotion he receives from his peers and everyone he meets. His squad loves him, the community loves him and even his enemies respect and fear him.
The second feature I love is the setting. the village of Three Pines is quite literally a real life version of Narnia. It's filled with young and old living in cottages nestled in hillsides with one church, a general store and tavern. It is described on several occasions as a village no one finds until they are lost. It is never a destination, but once you've found it you'll never forget it. There's even a rundown mansion of sorts. The villagers are more like a family, in that they get along because they have too. They are rude, cantankerous, funny, diverse, talented and charismatic. There are poets, artists, drunks, gurus, Christians and atheists. In much the same way I felt when I read the Chronicles of Narnia, I find myself engrossed in the community of Three Pines.
When I read the first Three Pines book, I found it a bit slow. I'm more accustomed to the noir of the Scandinavian thriller writers, the convoluted grunge of Tana French, and the literary stylings of Elizabeth George. I didn't know how to take the village of Three Pines.
But as I settled into the second offering, I began to see the village as a type of Eden, so perfect that it takes a while for the snake to be recognized. There are spiritual references in both, but they are more apparent in "A Fatal Grace" than in the first book of the series. I love the world that Penny creates where even the most benign and attractive apple has a worm burrowed somewhere inside. To counter balance that, the most disagreeable characters have something worthwhile peeking through the cracks.
I was able to figure out the whodunit part of this story before the end. But I enjoyed the journey, being led by the voice of Ralph Cosham, so much that I didn't mind.
I will do listen to more of these.
I really enjoyed most all of Louise Penny's Three Pines novels. I believe that I have read them all. This one was really intriguing. Maybe it's because I like the style of Chief Inspector Gamache. Maybe it's because I like all of the characters of the Three Pines village. It is difficult to write a review on this one without giving away too much. The synopsis written by audible is a good description. A despicable woman has been murdered in front of many potential witnesses but nobody saw a thing or they saw but are not telling! If you like a story that is more mystery/suspense and some thriller aspects, then the Three Pines novels might be of interest to you. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is an excellent performer. He is the voice of Gamache for me.
An excellent mystery with excellent characters. I was thoroughly invested in the entire plot.
Absolutely. In fact, I practically did. One of the best modern mysteries I have read.
To date, I have read or listened to four of the Three Pines mysteries. So far, this one is my favorite. I would, however, recommend checking out the first book, Still Life, first. There are spoilers.
Loved each story. The characters came to life for me. I have been touched by each story and find it difficult to pause them.
Registered Physical Therapist, many interests and hobbies, love reading and listening!
No. I found Ralph Cosham to be a problematic narrator. It was obvious that Cosham was engaged in his reading and enjoyment of the excellent book, but the problem was a lack of modulation and a too rapid verbal delivery. This was the first audio book that I slowed to .5x speed with pretty good success.
Claire, multi-faceted and engaging protagonist, with her own issues!
No, I have listened to hundreds of audio books, and Mr. Cosham's talking velocity was too fast, and lacked sufficient modulation. Sentences would frequently become nearly inaudible as he tried to convey a plot subtlety.
Let's leave it a book. I watched the first Canadian adaptation and found it lacked the personalities of the characters Penny created.
Not one of my best purchases.
I read the first Three Pines novel and really enjoyed it. Due to travel plans, I decided to listen to the second and I'm so glad I did. The narrator is perfect for this series. I will most likely download the third and listen as well rather than reading the novel, although I love to read. Well done!
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Chief Inspector Gamache just keeps growing on you . . . as does the little town of Three Pines in Quebec . . . with its quirky, artsy, grumpy, loyal-to-a-fault people . . . so wihen self-absorbed, cheating-on-her-husband, CC de Poitiers moves to the little village, along with her beaten-down husband and forlorn daughter, she isn't well received . . . and she's not long for this world . . . but who on earth would murder this woman in such a public fashion? In the middle of town for all to see? Just doesn't add up . . . with his usual polish and poetic thoughtfulness, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team set out on the search for a killer . . . I've become a fan . . . of the whole kit and kaboodle . . . the lyrical writing, the mystery, the townsfolk, and the inner workings of Insspector Gamache's head . . .
SET REVIEWS TO BE SORTED BY 'MOST RECENT' INSTEAD OF 'MOST HELPFUL'!
Best: Narrator's soothing voice and effortless French pronunciations. Least: So many unanswered questions! And suddenly God is appearing in multiple minor character roles.
Explain Elle's comment to Clara about having always loved her art. And explained the whole Agent Nichol reappearance.
Yes, loved his performance in Still Life.
Visit Quebec again!
Louise Penny continues to develop the characters of Gamache's police team even as she unfolds a new mystery. I'm now thinking the police are more important than the "background" story. Narrator is very good.
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