Book Review: A Fatal Grace

EFA28756-F551-4215-A7CC-7E08CED6222ETitle: A Fatal Grace
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: February 15, 2011

From Minotaur: 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.

My Review: I fell in love with the remote village of Three Pines during Still Life, Louise Penny’s first novel in the Inspector Gamache Series and I’m so glad to be back in this second instalment, A Fatal Grace. Three pines is a charming community full of the most eccentric characters you will meet. For all their quirks they are a warm and loyal bunch. And what’s not to love about Inspector Gamache? His stoicism, compassion, and courage command your respect and his endearing wife, Reine-Marie are the perfect pair – a lovely couple you wish you knew in real life.

Inspector Gamache and his team return to Three Pines investigating the peculiar murder of unlikable CC de Poitiers. An impossibly unpleasant woman who intimidated her husband and belittled her obese daughter, CC was electrocuted on a frozen pond in front of the townspeople but no one noticed because they were too busy watching the Christmas curling tournament.

Penny has a penchant for keeping me guessing to the end and coming back for more.  Another superbly written gentle mystery, this series grows by leaps and bounds with every new instalment.

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Book Review: The Cruelest Month

F26B85A9-DB7B-4826-BC2B-2327EC215334Title: The Cruelest Month, Inspector Gamache Book 3
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur
Publication Date: March 4, 2008
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

From Minotaur: Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.
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.

My Review: The Inspector Gamache Series gets better with each book and I am 100- percent invested in this series and all the charm, dysfunction and mystery Three Pines imparts. Book 3, THE CRUELEST MONTH, takes us back to Three Pines at Easter to a ‘cleansing’ of the Hadley House, but the seance goes wrong when one of the troupe dies.

Chief Inspector Gamache and crew return to Three Pines to solve the ‘whodunnit’ mystery with all the flair rendered, after all he is head of Sûreté du Québec. I am smitten with Gamache’s procedure for solving his cases; he is patient, inquisitive and listens to everyone. But moreover I admire his mantra of wisdom he demands of his subordinates: I don’t know, I’m sorry, I was wrong, I need help.

What I liked:

  • I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ralph Cosham and cannot praise his narration enough!
  • Inspector Gamache’s gentle heroism.
  • The delicacies – baguettes and cheese boards.
  • Ruth Zardo – her abrasiveness is part of her charm.

What I didn’t like:

  • The seance was my least favourite part.

Overall:
I cannot recommend this series enough. A modern day version of Agatha Christie in a French-Canadian setting, you will fall in love with Inspector Gamache!

Book Review: Still Life

IMG_0179Title: Still Life
Author: Louise Penny
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 17, 2006
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Minotaur: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

My Review: I fell in love with the quaint and charming Québécois village of Three Pines, the picturesque setting of STILL LIFE. Three Pines is the kind of place you stumble upon accidentally and never want to leave. It’s an artistic community filled with eccentric folks who have known each other their whole lives and no one locks their doors at night and everyone counts on one another.

This tiny community is rocked to its core when longtime resident Jane Neal turns up dead Thanksgiving morning murdered. The townspeople want to believe Jane’s death is a hunting accident but according to Gamache this is no accident and he must confront the killer before another resident of Three Pines suffers a similar fate.

What you won’t get from STILL LIFE is a mystery leaving you on the edge of your seat. Penny pens a literary and sophisticated mystery with a narrative that sucks you into Three Pines quirkiness. And Inspector Gamache is every bit gallant, a highly respected member of the Surete du Quebec, a noble man who is amorous of his wife Reine-Marie.

STILL LIFE is the beautiful start to a series that I look forward to continuing and further getting to know the idiosyncracies of Three Pines!

 

Book Review: Dead Woman Walking

DEAD WOMAN WALKING BY SHARON BOLTON BOOK REVIEWTitle: Dead Woman Walking
Author: Sharon Bolton
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5

From Minotaur Books: Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face – but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe – but it could be the most dangerous place of all…

My Review: I won DEAD WOMAN WALKING from a giveaway hosted by Jessica over at jessicamapreviews.com and Minotaur Books – thank you both! This review is entirely my own.

DEAD WOMAN WALKING is described as an achingly gripping read. It’s a story about a hot air balloon ride gone dangerously wrong when the passengers witness a cold blooded murder in the act on the ground below them. This sets into motion a chain of events that leaves Jessica Lane hunted and running for her life from Patrick Faa. In a span of three days she must get to the bottom of an organ trafficking case she is closing in on while evading Patrick. There are quite a few plot twists and I want to keep my review spoiler free so there’s not much more I can write. 

This is my first Sharon Bolton novel. I thought it was good but not great. I really wanted to love DEAD WOMAN WALKING but overall it fell flat for me. The book is 362 pages and divided into three parts. Unfortunately the story remained fairly uneventful until Part 3 and by then it was too late for me to get invested. The character’s were thinly developed and I never felt a connection to any of them. I need some type of connection whether it be on an emotional level or a relatable event to suck me in. On the other hand, the plot was unique and full of twists – right up to the end – I just wish it had more of that suspense / thriller grip factor. All in, I think it was an entertaining read and definitely worth checking out from the library.