It's spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees, and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life.
When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil - until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?
Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town, where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.
©2007 Louise Penny; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Arthur Ellis Award-winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gamache is a prodigiously complicated and engaging hero, destined to become one of the classic detectives." (Kirkus Reviews)
Louise Penny offers incredible depth to all of her characters, and each book in the Gamache series probes into the characters of Three Pines more and more. Penny's latest book offers a mystery that leaves you guessing until the end when the truth is finally revealed. Incredible writing AND an incredible plot? Awesome.
Wow, was I ever surprised that I liked this book. I normally don't go for the cozy style mystery, but this series is an exception. Louise Penny writes in such a thoughtful way, and describes everyday life in such familiar, endearing terms....Gamache is a great DCI, and his perspective and kindness made me take a hard look at myself. I really love these books. Hopefully, you will as well.
Louise Penny proves with her latest novel that she is no fluke. Three Pines is a wondrous place to visit. It sounds strange to describe a murder mystery as lyrically beautiful.....but she manages it. Give yourself a treat and visit Three Pines.
After being so happy with the first two novels in this series, I was disappointed that this one dragged a lot (first three quarters of book basically). It did not have the charm nor pleasantly steady pace of the first two Gamache books. Still, a nice twist at the end means I'll check out the next one in the series. And the narrator is great.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I do love this series, so I'm biased. But I think this particular book in the series needs to be listened to twice. The first time you listen you want to know what's going to happen. The characters are so real that you're transported to Three Pines. I can see every one of these people. I finished the book and immediately listened again. The second time it was to really examine the writing and to see how Louise Penny constructs these books to make them so appealing. They are so well crafted. I really appreciate her skill as a writer. And I very much appreciate listening to Ralph Cosham. I can't imagine a better narrator.
If you've not listened to any of these books, I wouldn't start with this one. Though each book can stand on its own, it's really nice to start with "Still Life" and get the background on each character.
No plot spoilers
Well I'm not sure about this series. I loved Book 1 --Still Life--thought it a complex engaging story. I had mixed feelings about book 2 which seemed formulaic and too much like book 1 to be engaging. I already had book 3 in my library so I pushed ahead. The sort of shot gun approach to the story telling makes everyone in the story seem sinister and guilty and in the end it over does. There are so many characters with minor roles or maybe future rolls in new books that it can be confusing and cumbersome keeping it all straight. So very many red herrings and outlandish turns of events that it made me sigh, roll eyes, and almost give up. However, I will say the book continues to evoke the village of Three Pines in Canada south of Montreal beautifully. Makes me want to drive there and stay at the B&B and walk the village green. But, if you ask if I'll read another book in the series--probably not. Lost in the drama of it all.
I have become a devotee of these lullingly fascinating mysteries which are about as close to Christie as I have been able to get. Serenity and gentility pervade the stories, and you are drawn into the ideal armchair mystery puzzle. This book, in particular, allows unusual slippage of the masks of prominent characters, including Gamache and the inscrutable Ruth. In my unfortunate fashion of reading series backwards, with most recent first, then the previous, I have knowledge of the outcomes of many of the characters. However, in this book, Gamache, Ruth Zardo and even John Guy Bovoire reveal different and deeper aspects of their inner selves not seen in subsequent books. In fact; some of this book's revelations seem at odds with the newest stories. However, it all makes the Camelot of Three Pines and its inhabitants all the more interesting.
Penny observes the rule of honor for mysteries Christie established and respected; that of providing all the clues to the reader, thus allowing them to fairly match wits with the protagonist to solve the crime. Other authors pull the solution out of a hat, not unlike a rabbit; only then revealing "clues" to which the reader was not privy. This is a telling, not an involvement for the reader.
This was, as all are, a thoroughly enjoyable mental exercise and insight into the minds and lives of Gamache, his team, the Surete politics, and the residents--with a few new and enriching glimpses into the people that drive the books. I always think the marvelous narrator's tone so monotonous it will be dull; but that is never the case; it reflects perfectly Gamache's demeanor.
This was my first Louise Penny book but it will not be my last. The author sets the scene beautifully with excellent, artful, subtle descriptions of everything from the Quebec woods to the brie dripping off crisp French bread. The story is intricate but not too complex, the characters have depth and there is also some comic relief and profound philosophy, all in a good mystery. The narrator was well chosen and a pleasure to hear.I will miss his accent till the next time!
The story delves deeper nto the characters and motivations of the key residents of Three Pines. I love the interaction between them and the Chief Inspector.
Well set up.
I've read quite a few of her books and enjoyed them all. Actually, I've listened to the majority of them and have one complaint: The narrator needs to pause for a greater length of time when the scene changes versus when there is just a new paragraph. That would make it a bit easier on the listener to grasp the flow of the story.
Along with Still Life, this is one of the best books of the series. It's telling - of a séance in the old abandoned Hadley House - is reminiscent of a campfire thriller. The ambiance is set from the first moment the story begins, and the mystery soon follows. The pacing is fast and engaging, and best of all it features the fun, quirky, and imperfect characters from Three Pines in abundance. Their artistic sides are spotlighted in new and interesting ways - Clara's newfound success with her painting and her husband's silent jealousy; Ruth's biting and witty sarcasm which we find is informed by a deeply felt humanism, one which she can only express through poetry and her love for animals; the struggle of less talented artists to succeed in a nearly impossible field. The themes of the story are jealousy, the measure of success, and the struggle to find belonging in a competitive world.
I have only 2 mild criticisms: 1. Penny's writing follows a definitive pattern which makes it too easy by Book 3 to guess who the murderer is and anticipate how the mystery will unfold. This is not a tragic shortcoming, however, because the characters of Three Pines and their struggles are as important to the story, if not more so, than the mystery itself. 2. There is a scene in the end which is so entirely implausible and ridiculous that it threatened to ruin the book. I don't want to give it away, so I'll just say that it includes Inspector Gamache gathering the entire community together and airing all of their private business in public without their consent. For a man who is supposed to be the ideal moral compass (ironically making him by far the least interesting character in the entire series) this move exhibited a startling disrespect for the feelings and privacy of the inhabitants of a town which he supposedly loves. This scene should have been handled differently.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book - one of the best in the series. A tip: It's best enjoyed in the dark!
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