"People wandered in for books and conversation. They brought their stories to her, some bound, and some known by heart. She recognized some of the stories as real, and some as fiction. But she honored them all, though she didn't buy every one." (p.8, The Brutal Telling)Louise Penny is a Canadian author and her Inspector Armand Gamache series is set in the province of Quebec. There are 8 books so far, and they have won numerous awards. I discovered Louise Penny when she did a reading at a local bookstore in 2011 and have been working my way through the books since.
Here is the order of the series (using the U.S. titles), and my notes on the ones I have read so far.
I gave this 4 out of 5 stars (i almost never give anything 5 stars) and moved immediately to the next book in the series.
A Fatal Grace
Mystery series often suffer from sophomore slump with the 2nd installment, but this one holds up. The mysteries are solidly structured and the characters continue to develop. I particularly liked the curling aspect of this story: the image of the old women curling on the frozen lake is wonderful. The skepticism about the sport from the 2nd detective was a nice counterpoint.
The Cruelest Month
There was a very strong sense of dread throughout this novel--you felt something bad coming. The ultimate solution to the crime was pretty predictable though. I liked the focus on Armand's story, it added a lot to this fairly thin crime story.
A Rule Against Murder
This book was set not in 3 Pines, but nearby and fetured the family of one of the regular cast from 3P. We saw a new side of Beauvoir, which I liked.
The Brutal Telling
Penny's writing is wonderful, and her characters are becoming richer, more interesting people with each book.
Bury Your Dead
The structure of this novel was more complex than previous novels in the series with 3 separate storylines intertwined. It worked really well. A new relationship develops between an unlikely pair of characters and I'm interested to see where that goes.
The Hangman (a novella)
A Trick of the Light
The Beautiful Mystery
This post is part of the Crime Fiction Alphabet 2012 at Mysteries in Paradise. I got behind on this and am working on catching up the letters I missed.