A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

fatal-graceCC de Poitiers, eager to push her personal philosophies of mind and style, manages to antagonize everyone in her path.  The list of those slighted by CC is great, and she does nothing to ingratiate herself to her adopted town of Three Pines, an isolated bucolic place somewhere in the eastern townships of Quebec.

CC dies in a freak electrocution during a curling event on one of the coldest days of the year.  In the wake of her death, it’s up to Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec homicide division, to comb through the complications of this case.  As he does, Gamache is also working on a different incident as a courtesy to another department, and the two cases become intertwined.

As the temperatures drop down to the sub zeros, the intrigue heats up, and the congenial residents of Three Pines find themselves suspecting the worse in others.  Thankfully, the body count is limited, if not the snowfall.

Louise Penny writes intelligent, chatty whodunits in which good food and camaraderie take first place before sheer gore.  To be sure, there are murders and mystery in her books, in addition to some dastardly villains, but she always maintains a strong sense of decency in her usual cast of characters, even as she plumbs their past.  Even the best have their dark secrets.

I read the first in this series (Still Life) over three years ago, and then skipped to some of the later ones.  An ardent fan of her books exhorted me to go back and read the earlier ones, of which Fatal Grace is the second.  And yes, even though I cheated and read ahead, I still plan to fill in the blanks.

And by the way, Penny’s got a new one out – A Great Reckoning.  Go ahead and read it if you’ve been good and read all the rest.

(William Hicks, Information Services)



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