Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: 'A Fatal Grace' by Louise Penny

✰✰✰✰½ CC de Poitiers is an arrogant, self-centered, and cold-hearted woman. CC believes that her philosophy of life and self-published book, Li Bien, will soon make her a household name. She also believes that she is on the path to great success. She even had the gall to purchase the old Hadley residence in Three Pines. Unfortunately, she’s managed to alienate just about every single resident of the sleepy little hamlet and is about to become the latest murder victim. When CC is electrocuted in full view of all the spectators at a curling match on Boxing Day, no one sheds a tear.

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Gamache had planned to spend Boxing Day with his wife, Reine-Marie, reviewing case files of unsolved murders. Hoping to bring new insight to the cases, once a year Gamache exchanged files with his counterpart at the Montreal Metropolitan Police. One case in particular catches his wife’s eye: the murder of a vagrant just before Christmas. Reine-Marie convinces Gamache to look into the case with the hopes of at least finding the bag lady’s name. With this mystery already on his mind, Gamache and his team arrive in Three Pines to investigate CC’s death. They have their work cut out for them as there are no witnesses. Gamache and his team will have to gently pry out the clues little by little as they uncover one of the town’s darkest secrets.

The Bottom Line: Author Louise Penny does it again by delivering a riveting literary mystery full of twists and turns and a surprise ending. A Fatal Grace is an excellent follow-up to A Still Life. It drew me in from the very beginning and wouldn’t let go. All of my favorite characters (and one not so favorite: Yvette Nichol) return as Penny takes the reader deeper into the secrets of this sleepy little town to uncover another layer of mystery and intrigue. All-in-all, the second book in the series is even better than the first. The eccentric characters have more depth and the writing is breathtaking. Penny makes the reader feel as if they are right there in Three Pines battling the elements and trying to solve the mystery with Gamache and his team. Highly recommended for fans of mysteries, cozies, and literary fiction. Penny keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

Details: A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny. Paperback published by Minotaur Books in 2006. 320 p. ISBN: 978-0-312-54116-3

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