Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Synopsis From Back Cover:

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate a woman's murder, it doesn't take long for him to realize that no love was lost on the victim.  But even if everyone hated her - her husband, lover, and daughter among them - how is it that no one saw her get electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake in the center of town?

Gamache digs beneath the surface of Three Pines to find where the real secrets are buried.  But other troubles lie ahead for the detective.  It seems he has some enemies of his own... and with the coming of the bitter Northern winter winds, something far more chilling is in store.

Can someone please build a real life Three Pines village somewhere.  I'm thinking that I want to move, and I can't think of any place that I would want to move to more.  It's almost unbelievable, how much this town seems to take over these books.  For me, the setting is almost, if not a little bit more, as important as the characters and the plot devices used to progress the story forward.  Don't get me wrong, I love Gamache.  I love his men, and I love the villagers, but I love the village more.  There is so much character and vitality in that little blip on a map, and I want some of it for my own.

Now that I've bent your ear over how much I love the setting, I want to make sure I point out how much I loved the story itself.  There is something so intoxicating about Louise Penny's storytelling.  She is able to weave murder and eccentric characters into this wonderfully quirky tale, that keeps me enchanted the entire way through.  Sometimes it's hard to pay attention to a story when the characters are so strong and vibrant, which they all are.  You either hate them or love them.  I love them all, including the murder victim, who deserved everything that happened to her.  Truthfully, she probably deserved a little bit more.  The woman was a bitch, not sure there is any other word for her.  Her murderer had every right to kill her, and I'm not sure I would have done anything else in their shoes.  But she was so fleshed out, and had such a distinct personality, that I loved her anyway.  Or maybe I didn't love her, but I loved the characterization that Louise Penny gave her.

Even more though, I loved the story she gave them to play in.  The interactions between the characters, the way they relate to each other, gives so much depth to the underlying mystery.  It allows the reader, myself included to get lost and almost forget that this is a fictional account of a fictional murder.  She breathes so much life into every word, that it all feels real, concrete.  Even better, she never allows the story to get to heavy.  There is a playfulness to everything, even with the horrendous crimes that occur.  It keeps the story enjoyable, and allows the reader to feel comfortable in the face of violent death.

Now I just need to get my hands on the third book, and I'll be a very happy boy indeed.


Heidenkind said...

You're the second person I know who loves this series! I think I have to get on the Louise Penny bandwagon.

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like you really get lost in these books. I need to try Penny's work!

Yvette said...

Ryan, I read the first couple of books in this series, liked them, and then got sidetracked. Don't know why. I've always meant to get back to Three Pines - surely the most murder filled adorable little village I've ever read about (even more so than St. Mary Mead) but for whatever reason I wandered away. Shame on me.

Nise' said...

This series has been recommended to me by numerous people. I need to pick up the first book.

JaneGS said...

I've only read the first book in the series, to prep for a trip to Montreal a couple of years ago, and have the second book, Fatal Grace, which I've been trying to get to for awhile.

I agree, the village is wonderful. I'm not sure that I have what it take to survive a Quebec winter, but I like the history of it, location, town folk, etc.

Great review--I may have to figure out how to read this sooner rather than later!

carol said...

Love this series! and it just keeps getting better. I actually have the one that gets published later this year pre-ordered and I never do that.