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review 2019-01-13 19:21
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch - My Thoughts
A Beautiful Blue Death - Charles Finch

This is the third book from my Christmas haul and again, I enjoyed my read. 

The book and the author were recommended by one of my most favourite authors, Louise Penny, the author of the Gamache series.  I just spent 20 minutes trying to find the reference and failed miserably  *LOL*.   Anyway, that's the reason I picked it up.

So, Charles Lenox is a Victorian gentleman who likes to solve mysteries. He has an interesting group of family and friends and he's a smart fellow.  I liked him.  I can see why Louise likes him as well - there's a faint Gamachian feel to the book and the characters which is fine by me. 

I like Finch's writing style, it's easy to read and while there are instances of what could be termed as info-dumping, they're handled well and not annoying.  He also does some easy back and forth banter between Lenox and his old friends that I found quite fun. 

The mystery worked for me, as did the wrapping up of the various plot-lines.  There was a question or two that didn't get answered, or if it did, I missed it, but that didn't impede my enjoyment of the book.

If I had one real problem with the book, it was that there was an awful lot of snowing going on in London for late December/early January.  I don't think it snows that much over there at all. 

Anyway, I enjoyed the book enough to add Book 2 to my wishlist.  :)

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review 2018-12-23 21:46
Kingdom of the Blind-24 Tasks
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny

Read this for St. Lucia, luckily this was released in November 2018.

 

 

Not much to say with this one. I think the earlier brilliance of this series is gone honestly. I just didn't feel engaged while reading this the past two days. I think the bigger issue is that Penny flips flops back and forth between the action at the Sûreté du Québec/with a cadet and the village. I was more invested in the village happenings and with Myrna. I also 100 percent cannot keep reading about Gamache and the opioid epidemic anymore. It feels disingenuous as hell and people caring about this (due to the high number of non people of color that are being affected) is something that I wish that Penny would address if she is going to keep banging on about it. I was interested more in the murder investigation, and I really wish that Penny had made that the main focus of this book. The only good thing that I really can say is that my least favorite character may be making an exit from this series. Thank goodness.

 

"Kingdom of the Blind" takes place several months (I think almost a year) after the events in "Glass Houses." We have Gamache suspended from the Suerte, but yet still uncertain about his future. There is an investigation into how opioids managed to get through the net that Gamache had laid out to capture the criminal syndicate. It appears, per usual, Gamache is in someone's cross-hairs to take the blame for things. While that is going on, Gamache appears to meet a notary at an old abandoned farmhouse. To his surprise, Myrna and a young man that they don't know also shows up too. They find out that they were named as executors in a will to a woman that known of them knew. Gamache puzzles out who this woman was and why she would do such a thing. This eventually leads to a dead body and Gamache and Jean Guy trying to figure out if there are any links between these things or not. 

 

As I said above, the book veers back and forth between Three Pines (my favorite parts of the book) and Gamache and Jean Guy dealing with the fall out from their actions at the Sûreté du Québec. Three Pines is dealing with a blizzard that knocks out power, but causes he village to pull together. I found myself snuggling under the covers and only venturing out of bed to find hot chocolate while reading these sections. At this point, if you are a long-time reader you know everyone and their backstories. It's just nice to see Ruth, Myrna, Clara, Olivier, and others in this one. 

 

The Surete sections are the weakest because per usual we have Jean Guy doing his doubting Thomas routine with Gamache. I am glad Isabelle gave him a verbal slap about it. This character has shown zero growth in the last 5 books and he's getting old. I also don't see him as being a worthy successor of Gamache since he doesn't listen and likes to just treat everyone like a liar and suspect.  I was hoping that eventually this book would spin off to follow Isabelle and her family. I loved her scenes with Gamache, and was happy to see that Gamache still includes her in his thoughts, and she was active with helping with the murder investigation that took place too. 

 

The writing in sections was quite good, and in others felt hampered. I felt as if Penny was trying to work out in a realistic way what she threw down in the last book, it just didn't work. The flow was up and down since there are two different plots going on in this one. Only plot one (will and murder investigation) actually worked well and was firing on all cylinders. 


The setting of Three Pines in this one was appealing. 

 

The ending left things on a different note that I wonder about. I don't know if this is the end of the series or not. Things are left up in the air, and it does seem some characters are taking their final bow. 

 

St. Lucia's Day

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review 2018-12-08 19:08
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny - My Thoughts
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny

My birthday present to me. It's so very rare for me to pay $15 for an ebook, but this is one of my very favourite of favourite authors and it was my birthday the week it came out, so...  I gave myself a gift!

Anyway...

It was like coming home.

I came to a realisation about myself and the Gamache books when I was about halfway through this one.  They are perfect for people watchers.  Perfect for people who love to watch TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother because they want to see how the people will react and what they will become in different situations.  There is a lot of people watching in these books, and speculating and looking for the 'why' of things.  I love it!

All of our friends are back in Three Pines, but this time the focus is more on the Sureté side of the family than the civilians. There are parallel storylines here - the case of the will, the murder of one of the heirs in said will, and the fallout from the previous book with the drugs Armand was forced to let slip through his hands in order to catch the bigger fish. 

I wish I was better at writing these things so that I could explain why they're so good, but suffice it to say that Armand Gamache, is a wonderfully flawed hero and the family that he makes around him is also filled with real people who are alternately flawed and heroic in their times. 

I don't know that I'm completely thrilled with the way this book ended.  Oh, don't get me wrong, the ending was perfect and filled with surprises and sadness and feel good moments, but I'm going to be really annoyed if Jean-Guy's fate is permanent!  (Although the whole theme of the student taking the place of the mentor by his actions was pretty cool.)

So, I am thinking positively that there are more Gamache tales to come and that we will be returning to Three Pines in the future.  :) 

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text 2018-12-04 19:23
Reading progress update: I've read 190 out of 381 pages.
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny

Now the elderly poet sat at her laptop, fingers moving swiftly and noisily over the keys as she pounded rather than tapped. A look of satisfaction on her face that would have frightened Genghis Khan.

 

Far from being computer-illiterate, Ruth in her early eighties had embraced the Internet.

 

"As a way," Gabri had guessed, "of spreading her empire."

 

If there really was a darknet, Ruth Zardo would find it. Conquer it. Become its empress.

 

I like Ruth. She scares me, but I like her.

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text 2018-12-04 19:01
Thank you, mystery librarian!
Kingdom of the Blind - Louise Penny

 

Now I can do my updates properly.

 

 

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