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review 2020-02-09 22:17
Review of The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
The Cruelest Month - Louise Penny

The third book in the Gamache series - a series I am starting to really love. The story once again takes place in Three Pines and the many characters from the town are all present. The characters and their personal stories are the best parts and the murder investigations are usually secondary (at least in terms of my enjoyment). This book had a second backstory going about Gamache and the trouble he had in the past with the police force in Canada. The backstory was alluded to in the first two books but was fully explained in this installment. I look forward to the next book.

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review 2020-01-09 22:18
Still Life (Penny)
Still Life - Louise Penny

The title of this book has at least two meanings in the context of the work: first, and most obviously, the victim of the murder is an artist (and her work - though not exactly still life - contains clues that point to the murderer); secondly, there are references in various conversations to people who do not progress morally, who have "still" (i.e. unmoving, unprogressing) lives.

 

I already like Chief Inspector Gamache, which is a good thing, as he has numerous further adventures and two of them await me on my shelf. And I like his faithful lieutenant, Beauvoir. I am left speculating whether Agent Yvette Nichol is going to have a story arc of her own in which she learns not to let her own egotisms and insecurities stand between her and becoming a good officer. She certainly gets the rough edge of Gamache's tongue in this volume; I am wondering if she is the police equivalent to the much darker case of the murderer - someone who obstinately refuses to learn, but wallows in past mistakes. As such, she might be a one-off character.

 

The jury's still out for me on whether I'm going to embrace this series whole-heartedly. There's something about the rather jumpy conversational style that holds me at a bit of a distance from the characters. I can't quite put my finger on it. On the other hand, I really liked the characterizations (the gay couple running the Bistro, and the sharp-tongued eminent old lady who's a poet, stand out for me). I liked the rural Quebec setting, and the fact that Gamache was clearly an outsider in some ways, but still knew his way about. I liked the range of cultural reference, and the way that the police officers didn't just listen to the answers to their questions, but also read the way people answered (or didn't answer) them. I liked the specificity and oddness of the detail about hunting bows and painting technique.

 

Onward to volume 2 in the series for me.

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review 2019-12-03 01:09
Review of A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
A Fatal Grace - Louise Penny

I enjoyed this book as much - if not more - than the first in the series.  Now that I know the characters better, I found them highly entertaining as a part of the story.  The murder mystery was a bit too simple in some ways, but I have no problem with that because it is more about the story than the whodunit in my opinion.  A nice series I will certainly read through.

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review 2019-12-01 13:27
24 Festive Tasks: Door 13 - Advent: Book
Still Life - Louise Penny

 

Turns out I already read my book for this square!

 

On a related note, color me somewhat less impressed than I expected to be -- this is yet another insanely popular series that, as it turns out, I won't be rushing to continue.  There's some really good and insightful writing in the later parts of the book, but the beginning is dominated by cliché and long too-cutesy-to-be-true passages strongly reminiscent of the worst of cozy mystery writing, and equally as importantly, with the exception of Gamache himself (and one or two of the villagers), I found few characters I really cared about ... or could even be bothered to like and root for.

 

(Task: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.)

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review 2019-11-28 23:45
Review of Still Life by Louise Penny
Still Life - Louise Penny

Well I found a new series I am going to enjoy! I have had this book and others in the series forever but for whatever reason have never read them. I thought this was great - a nice story with characters I liked (and those I did not like) and a mystery murder that involved an entire village in Canada. I appreciated the writing style and look forward to see which characters will recur and grow throughout the series.

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