Welcome to my weekly review. I’ve have just read two amazingly good books this week. One book, Blood On Snow, I read for an upcoming book club meeting. Its my first reading of a Jo Nesbo book. I was blown away, but I’m going to save that book and tell you about it after the meeting.
The other amazing book I read was Magpie Murder. The author, Anthony Horowitz, is a good mystery writer with his cleverly hidden clues, flawed characters and a perfect English village. But, the one thing that makes this truly amazing is the design of the story.
The book opens with a discussion by the editor of “Magpie Murders.” She tells us a little about herself, the author and then introduces the novel to us. The story of Magpie Murders is told in it’s entirety, except for the last chapter. At this point the editor comes back with a whole new story and a whole new set of characters. But wait – is this story and these new characters somehow linked to the story and characters in Magpie Murders?
Do you see why I call it amazing? The unusual design was fun, but I also loved the classic English village style murder mystery and all the nods to Agatha Christie. All settings were contemporary, but it still had that mid-twentieth century feel to it. My only complaint was with the “editor.” I thought she could have edited her sections down a bit. At one point I jthought it was going on too long. Other than that, I loved the book and recommend it to all lovers of the mystery genre and, in particular, Agatha Christie fans.
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Back in 2011/12 I was a part of a four-person blog named Quirky Girls Read. We had great fun, but disbanded after a year or so. Some of the book reviews I wrote there need to be preserved on this blog. In particular I wanted all of my Louise Penny book reviews all together here. Below is the only one not on this blog. Here’s what I thought of Fatal Grace:
The star in Louise Penny’s novels is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, along with his team. They are back in Three Pines, Quebec. They work for the Quebec Sûreté and this is the second time they’ve been assigned to a case of suspicious death in the small village south of Montreal.
C.C. de Poitiers was a very nasty, self-absorbed creature who was trying to launch her career as a “Life-Style/Spiritual Guidance Designer.” But, she was cruel to everyone she knew, including her husband, daughter, lover, local residents, and virtually everyone she knew. As you can probably figure out, she was the victim.
C.C. was electrocuted on Boxing Day while watching an outdoor curling match. Details of how she was electrocuted in the midst of sub-zero conditions, was quite the puzzle. Since everyone wanted this woman dead, the mystery is who was smart enough to figure it out and how, exactly, did they pull it off. Gamache and his team had a tough job, but of course they were able. I like each one of these team members.
What makes Louise Penny’s stories so amazing for me, and obviously for many others, is the author’s ability to create characters with so much depth and to infuse the story with more than just a mystery. In Fatal Grace we see inside the relationship of three old friends, the psyche of an abused child, the minor irritations of a married couple, a little dose of poetry and a bit about art. And, if that’s not enough, there’s also a little sub-plot with the Chief Inspector’s team that carried over from the first book.
I find it hard to write or talk about a special book like this one without resorting to a flood of overworked adjectives. You’ll have to trust me on this one – Fatal Grace is superb. If you are a person who likes to read literary novels, you won’t be disappointed. If mystery is your favorite genre, you must read anything by Louise Penny. Each novel can stand alone, however, I recommend starting with her first book, Still Life. Then, when you read Fatal Grace, you’ll understand why Louise Penny has so many avid fans.
That’s it for me this week. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week ahead. Happy Reading!