“Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.” But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they've found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.
©2011 Three Pines Creations, Inc. (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
As I knitted a shawl and listened, the characters wove themselves into the fabric. I will always look at my shawl and think of the interesting place this book took me.
An intelligent and thoughtful mystery, it was captivating. Thank you Ms. Penny for again for providing such a wonderful story.
Although Mr. Cosham does a great job of narration, I did get lost a few times in the scene transitions. The sentences ran together, and it took me a few seconds to realize the scene and characters were completely different from the previous sentence. Adding a few seconds break between these transitions would have helped. This is only a minor stumble to an otherwise fabulous narration.
I've listened to well over 200 audiobooks and I like a good detective story. Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache ranks for me far above the jaded, violent, tormented creations in modern detective fiction that seem so much to be the current fashion.
The Inspector Gamache stories have evolved to be about more then just "the case". The lives of the villagers in 3 Pines have become as much part of any new installment of the series then the hunt for the murderer, especially in this installment. That gives the books an additional dimension, no silly filler stuff, no gratuitous violence or almost laughable sexual encounters to keep the readers interested between the different steps of the investigation, but sweet, sad, intelligent, stupid, infuriating, and because of all that interesting characters, exist in the space "between" and around the actual case story.
Ralph Cosham has become, at least in my ears, very much the voice of Gamache. In a way he has become as much the voice of the stories then George Guidall simply is Walt Longmire in the Craig Johnson series (another series that, while it is a very different environment, I believe you will like if you like Inspector Gamache) .
A comfortable place, good friends, good food, a great book (being read to while knitting), a hot milky drink, a little perfectly pronounced French thrown in. Ah, Bliss... Ms Penny and Mr Cosham just keep raising the bar. Very difficult to stop and go to bed. I loved this book! (but A Case Against Murder is still the favorite of the series). Sit back and enjoy the experience.
It's like stopping in at Olivier and Gabri's bistro on a chill winter evening for something warm and delicious. These characters are by now my old friends, and yet the books have too much depth, are too intelligently written to be considered a Cosy. Each book reveals more layers to the people of Three Pines, as well as Inspector Gamache, Jean-guy and the rest. And I don't think I would ever be able to read Louise Penny's books as long as I can listen to the wonderful Ralph Cosham narrate, since he IS Inspector Gamache!
Dept Q, Harry Hole... where are you?
Since I'm on a roll with these Gamache novels and it appears few people are reading my reviews on the series, Im going to take a risk and ramble...
I wonder if Louise Penny identifies most with Claire, the talented artist whose genius is discovered in the 25 th year of her marriage? Claire's husband Peter had been the successful artist and bread winner until this point. Suddenly she is viewed as the real talent and Peter struggles mightily over it. I'd bet Penny encountered the same issues when her first novel sold.
AA figures prominently in the story. Several suspects and the victim are intimately involved with the 12 step program. At first, all of the police team including Gamache view the program suspiciously as a cult. Most of the team ever grows to trust it's membership. Like her other novels, Penny uses the humility and wisdom of Gamache to seek out the deeper meaning in key relationships between the suspects.
The art world, and I assume the literary world is exposed as petty, immature and stifling.
Words can destroy lives, sticks and stones just break bones.
The mystery was secondary to the story itself.
Ralph Cosham is a brilliant narrator.
I love this series and adore the narrator. All of the Inspector Gamache novels have a touch of the fabulous (in all three senses of the word: extraordinary, amazingly good, and mythical) but this particular novel strained credulity in a different--and not so wonderful--way.
It was Gamache's nearly total ignorance of the way Alcoholics Anonymous works that bothered me the most. I find it hard to believe that a career policeman would not have had multiple contacts with AA. I rather felt like the author had just discovered AA and wanted to make sure we readers learned all about it. It made me impatient.
I believe I would have preferred an approach such as this: "Gamache was well aware of the challenges facing AA members, having tried and failed many years ago to persuade a friend and colleague to attend one of the many meetings held weekly in Quebec. His failure pained him deeply, as his friend's impaired judgment had fatal consequences one frigid night after the two policemen had left a local bistro where much too much whiskey had been consumed."
Then we could have got on with the story, knowing that Gamache and the readers were on the same page. Occasional references to AA policies and procedures could then be sprinkled in without the pedantic and somewhat tedious recitations that slowed the story considerably.
But! I love this series and adore the narrator! I can hardly wait for the next book!
Louise Penny has developed a series and a set of characters that keep on becoming deeper, more interesting, more compelling. And Ralph Cosham does a masterful job of conveying these characters and their foibles. I've listened to or read each book in the Inspector Gamache series, and have enjoyed each one more than the one before. The Quebec setting, the plot lines, and again, the characters, are all so real, and their dramas are all intriguing. Love this series, this author and this reader!!!!
Oh no, no, no, Louise Penny. Before all you Louise Penny fans kill me, let me say I have loved this series since it first came out and preordered a hardbound copy back in May. Bought the audio book the day it was made available. Louise is exceptional in her ability to bring the reader into the scene. You can taste the food, see the location, and smell the environment. She still has that ability in this novel and I was transported to Three Pines once again. BUT where is she going with her characters? I am so unhappy with the direction she is taking the main characters that I'm not sure I have a desire to buy or listen to her next book. Felt like we were ending up a soap opera . . . will little Billy kick his drug habit or sabotage his mentor in the process, will Jane take Dick back, did Spot come home - is that spot there? I think she was trying to create a cliff-hanging ending that would draw us back; but, to me, all she did was trivialize her characters.
As always, Ralph Cosham did an outstanding job of narration!
interested in history, science, and pulp fiction
I eagerly await the annual Louise Penny publication, and this novel befits this strong series. I continue to appreciate Ms. Penny's thorough research into each location and milieu. I have always enjoyed her interpretation of both the challenges of art making, and the perils of the career side of high art (it rings true from my experience). This was a great thriller. Shortly after I read it so voraciously, I saw that Ralph Cosham had passed away in September 2014. What a fantastic narrator, and how fortunate we have been to have him bring these characters to life. I hope he knew that, and his work will be here for others to enjoy for years to come.
Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.
This mystery was essentially impossible to solve, both for the detectives and the reader, because crucial information was not found or revealed until the end. But the murder seems almost incidental to the complex character development of Inspector Gamache, his chief deputy Beauvoir, the newly discovered artist Clara Morrow and her artist husband Peter. Much remains unresolved, and the stage is set for the next in the series. At least, I hope there will be another!
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