Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Trick of the Light; Louise Penny

Author:  Louise Penny 
Publication Year: 2011 
Publisher: Macmillian Audio 
Edition: audio book
Reader: Ralph Cosham ( very good) 
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 10/16/2011
Setting: Canada
Rating: 4/5
Recommend: yes

Once again mystery author Louise Penny returns her readers the small picturesque village of Three Pines near Montreal for her seventh novel. Most people would expect life in this beautiful village would be peaceful and safe. Not so - another murder has occurred in Three Pines.

In her last novel, Bury Your Dead, an armed raid led by Chief Inspector Armand Gamache does not go as planned and a blood bath results with people dead and the Inspector and his second Lieutenant, Jean Beauvior critically wounded. Beauvior is still addicted to pain meds and his marriage is less than stable as a result.  Several of the characters from the last novel return to this one, so in my opinion, it would be good to read A Brutal Telling, (book 1) and  Bury Your Dead (book #2) before reading this one.

In this mystery, Clara Morrow and her husband Peter are artists. Peter is confident, good-looking, and has had some success as an artist, while Clara, insecure and plain in appearance, has lived in her husband's shadow. She has gone pretty much unnoticed until now.  Finally, Clara is recognized for her art work.  She is having a solo show at the Musee d'Art Contemporin in Montreal. Clara is riding high, while her husband is not exactly thrilled about his wife's recent success.  When an unpopular art critic, Lillian Dyson's, body is found in Clara's garden, after a celebratory barbeque, Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir find themselves with a murder to solve.  Since the deceased has made many enemies, there are more than a few suspects on their list.

What I liked about this audio book -- The reader, Ralph Cosham, who has read other book by Louise Penny, was very good. He uses a French accent so at time, some words were a bit hard to grasp, but I didn't feel like I missed a lot because of it.  Because, there were quite a few characters in the mystery, in some respects, I think that the print version might have been a better choice. Everyone would have been easier to keep track of. If you have never read a book by this author, her mysteries, in my opinion, are more substantial than most cozy mysteries, but yet there is no blood and gore either. The author's greatest ability is to provide interesting characters, and to create a small town feel.  Her characters are often dealing with everyday situations like, relationship problems, addictions, and other emotional issues. Her novels are at times serious, and at other times just plain funny.  One thing that is also true about her mysteries is that there will be plenty of secrets to unravel in the process. As a reader you will always have plenty invested in solving the mystery. I never feel bored with her books.

If you haven't tried this author, you should; a very good mystery.


  1. I really enjoyed Bury Your Dead, which was the first Louise Penny book I read. I'm interested to head back to the cold and snowy setting for a little more mystery. Hadn't thought about listening to this in an audio version, but I'll go preview it now!

  2. I've never heard of this author or series, but it sounds very good!


  3. Her first book in this series is 2.99 for my Kindle so I ideally think I'm going to buy it tonight! I've been wanting to read it forever!

  4. I definitely do better with print versions when there are a lot of characters in a book. I really want to try Penny's work.

  5. Definitely going to try to find this author.

  6. I love readers with accents - to me, it makes the book way better than it would be by itself!

  7. Oh, no, a reviewer murdered! I liked your review, although I don't usually read mysteries. The town reminds me of the small town in Vermont from that television show Murder, She Wrote. Seemed like it should have been a safe place.

  8. Well, Louise Penny is my very favorite author. I am very much the fan girl for her Three Pines series. I love the characters, love the setting, love the fact that her writing has improved and improved. There are depths and layers and the reader has a great time revisiting old haunts and learning new things about characters they've thought they knew. I recommend this series to everyone. Doesn't have to be read in order, but I highly, highly recommend it. Louise reveals things a bit at a time. Some story arcs carry from book to book. You can hop in at any stage, but it will be a richer journey if you read in order.

    By the way, Diane, not to quibble much, but the book previous to this one was BURY YOUR DEAD. I feel you kind of must read THE BRUTAL TELLING and BURY YOUR DEAD in order.

    Glad you enjoyed it. I've just started listening to these in audio (after having read in print). I'm enjoying the narrator, but I've read the books before, so I already know the storyline. I think that probably helps.

  9. I like the bit about the married but somehow competing artist couple, and think that this one sounds like just the thing to get me over my reading slump. Thanks for the great review on this one. I hope it can be read as a standalone!

  10. Kay, thanks so much for correcting me on the order; I appreciate that and have modified my post to reflect that.

  11. I have heard a lot about Louise Penny over the years, but still haven't read anything by her. One day I really will have to. Good review!

  12. Sounds like a dangerous little town! I'll keep her in mind. I like a good mystery every so often.


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