STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Monday, August 22, 2016

On My Bookshelf

Back in January I read my first Louise Penny mystery, Bury Your Dead, the sixth in a lengthy series (you can read that post here.) I knew long before I finished the book that I would be reading more of her work, so I set about searching for the previous five in the series. I bought the first two, Still Life and Dead Cold (titled A Fatal Grace in the USA) and finished them both within a week. The next three, The Cruellest Month, The Murder Stone (title A Rule Against Murder in the USA) and The Brutal Telling were borrowed from the library last week and I am now well into the fifth one. Each one could certainly stand on its own and be enjoyed as an individual mystery, but I have so enjoyed them as a series, getting to know the characters a little better with each successive story. The series is set in Three Pines, a quiet (fictional) village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal and close to the Vermont border. The principal character is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, an appealing and intelligent man with great listening skills and an uncanny ability to make people open up and  share their thoughts. His sidekick second in command Jean Guy Beauvoir and several other police detectives appear in each book, and form just part of the lovable cast of characters. The eccentric inhabitants of Three Pines are also "regulars" in each story... Peter and Clara Morrow the struggling artists, Olivier and Gabri, the gay couple who run the village B and B and bistro, Ruth the curmudgeonly poet who always speaks her mind (often with colourful language) and Myrna who left her career as a psychologist to run a used bookstore in Three Pines. I could never pick a favourite as they all have their own (lovable) quirky traits, but Gamache is certainly a character I'd love to meet. Penny admits the Chief Inspector is based on her husband Michael.
I'm not going to give plot summaries for each book, you can find those elsewhere if you want to. Suffice it to say murder mysteries are not my usual genre, but I am LOVING this series and each one gets better than the last. Penny makes the characters come to life, and writes so descriptively I am often salivating for the meals cooked at the bistro. I can clearly picture the town square of Three Pines, and the cozy cottage-like homes of brick and fieldstone and I'd love to book a relaxing weekend at the B and B. I cannot wait to continue reading more titles in this series.
What are you reading lately? Any recommendations?

 EDIT: Since I've had some questions in the comments, here's a little more info. Louise Penny's website can be found here. On her sidebar you'll see the 11 books of the series listed in order; her newest, #12, A Great Reckoning, comes out next week, August 30. It has already been named one of the top 10 books of  September by O Magazine. Penny was born in Toronto, and became a journalist and radio host with CBC, working in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Quebec City and Montreal. She currently lives and writes in a small village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, south of Montreal near the US border. This New York Times and Globe and Mail best-selling author has won five Agatha Awards, five Anthony Awards and numerous others. 
You can find recipes for some of the mouth-watering dishes described in her books here and answers to many frequently asked questions here.

Peace,
Linda

That moment at 3a.m. when you whisper to yourself "I need to stop..." as you turn the page.

13 comments:

Sara - My Woodland Garden said...

Sounds like a good mystery... or series of mysteries. :)
I wonder why my sidebar list still shows only your previous post.
(I have noticed this problem often in the last few weeks, also with my own posts.)
Have a lovely late-summer week! xx

Dolores said...

I am slowly going through the Penny books via the audio route (while I sew and quilt.) The person who reads them is very good. You should check out one audio version.
Right now I am actually reading a hard copy of 'Chambers of Death: a Medieval Mystery' by another Canuck, Priscilla Royal. I think some of her other books have the same characters. I'm only about one fifth through the book but so far, so good and I plan on reading some of the others.

Colleen Gander said...

The author has a Facebook page and sometimes posts recipes for the delicious foods featured in the stories. I am like you inspired to read and devour the foods she describes.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love this series too and I told my hubby if anything ever happens to him, I'm going after Chief Inspector Armand Gamache! hahaha! Don't you LOVE him...and his wife too of course! You inspired me today and I have a book post ready for tomorrow. I went to the library this morning and thought I was going to have to make 2 trips to carry all my books. I put a link to your blog on my post too. See you again tomorrow! bring a book! haha Hugs, Diane

Jennifer said...

Louise Penny's books are such a good read. I think I may have missed only one or two, and I like how, even though the books can be read as stand-alone titles, the story threads run through. Three Pines sounds like a great place to visit......and yes, I would love to stay at the B & B and eat at the bistro too!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I have 'How the Light Gets In' #9 of the series I believe because Kobo offered it for a very low price along with other authors and I stocked up. I'm sure I'll like it Linda if you recommend the series, we are a couple of mystery hounds aren't we? :-)

Mary Howland said...

Louise Penny's twelfth book in this series publishes at the end of August and she is working on the next one. I loved these books and read them quickly. I'm already on my library's wait list for the new one so maybe I'll go back and read them again. At first I didn't understand why she didn't resolve all the issues in one book but that made it more interesting as the entire story unfolds. I am in awe of her mind and how she keeps all of the plots going. Have you read the Maisey Dobbs books? If not, start with the first one. I enjoy your posts and appreciate your sharing.

Joyce F said...

Love this series and am looking forward to the newest one coming out the end of August. I have all of the others in paperback in my home library and will reread them again someday. They are just that kind of book - I am sure I will notice something different/more with rereading. I was able to get and save on my computer the recipe publication The Nature of the Feast through her website/newsletter. There are also some good interviews with her on YouTube, including one at a 2016 Book Expo. Can't say enough good about this author.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Right now I am reading ann Rule's "Every Breath You Take". I know that I have seen the story on Dateline and probably somewhere else, but her books always delve into and tell the entire story. We have a quaint little paperback exchange that I like so I'll check out Louise Penny when I go.
xx, Carol

Vee said...

It is interesting that you don't usually read this genre, yet you are enjoying it. I don't either and am not sure that I could enjoy it. I have trouble with mysteries when I usually figure out who did it too early in the story. Did you?

GailM. said...

My husband likes mysteries and enjoyed the last mystery you posted about. So I'll find some of Louise Penny books for him to see if he likes them.... Thanks for posting.

Susan Mac Donald said...

can you tell me where Louise Penny is from? The books sound very interesting & I'll have to check these out. Thanks for the reply.

Linda H said...

Susan, I hope you check back here to see my reply. I cannot contact you personally because I am not on Google Plus so cannot access your contact info. Louise is Canadian, born in Toronto. She lives just outside a small town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, an area southeast of Montreal.

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