Chief Inspector Gamache #6
2011 / ISBN 9780312655457
Police Procedural / Canada / Contempoary
by L J Roberts
Oh, no, no, no, thought Clara Morrow as she walked toward the closed
Morrow s first major art show in Montreal was stressful enough,
without finding a body in her garden in Three Pines the following
morning. Although uninvited to the local after-party, the woman
is one Clara and her husband, Peter, had both known. Inspector Armand
Gamache and his second, Jean Guy Bouvier transition from being friends
of this small community s residents, to being investigators looking
for a killer.
Between books, one could wonder whether Ms. Penny is really as good
as all the acclaim would indicate. No; she’s much better.
Each book is a stunning testament to her skill and ability to both
create a nuanced mystery while exposing that which makes us human;
both our foibles and our capacity for hope. She has created the
town of Three Pines; similar to Brigadoon as it doesn’t appear
on any maps. Yet it has become fictionally real to the point it’s
hard to believe it’s altogether fictitious. Penny s skill
at description applies not only to physical settings, but to people
s emotions, and is filled with subtly, intelligence and depth of
understanding, as well as humor. It wasn’t enough that they
were English and had a prayer stick, but now they’d lapsed
into pig latin. It was no wonder there were so many murders here.
Penny s characters
are real, complex and realistically layered. They got up his nose,
to be sure. But they also got under his skin. One sees the impact
of past events on Gamache and Beauvoir through each other’s
eyes, rather than a third-party narrator and the balance of their
personalities is so well done. Her characters are people you’d
want to know; in some cases, they are people you’d like to
be. She also has the ability to show realities in our own experience,
albeit past or present and, possibility, help us avoid those things
being in our futures.
Cliff-hangers are something I abhor. Yet again, Ms. Penny proves
there can be exceptions to the rule as she does include such a one
but, rather than with a sense of gimmickry, it is a thread, complete
unto itself, providing a lead to a new, future plot.
of reviewing Ms. Penny s writing is that one can tend to sound pandering.
This is a series which should be read in order so as to become friends
with the characters and immersed in the world of Three Pines. Yet
I do feel a lack of words to do this book justice. A Trick of
the Light is a sad, tragic, hopeful, beautiful book, rather
similar to the art described therein one can either glide along
the surface of a good detective story, or plunge into its depths
and acknowledge the dark depths while believing that the characters
will find the light.
of other titles in this series
Rule Against Murder #4
Trick of the Light #6
Long Way Home #10