This was one of the most popular books on the blog last summer. In the idyllic small town of Three Pines, Quebec, where people don’t even lock their doors, a beloved local woman is found in the woods with an arrow shot through her heart. The locals believe it must be a hunting accident, but the police inspector senses something is off. The story is constructed as a classic whodunit but it feels like anything but, with its deliberate pacing, dry wit, and lyrical writing. A stunningly good first novel. Still Life is the first in a series (of 11 books to date) that keeps getting better. For fans of Jacqueline Winspear. Great on audio.More info →
I loved the first book in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series, Still Life, so much that I included it in the minimalist summer reading guide. (I got Will hooked on the series, too, which is always high praise.)More info →
Penny's mysteries are alternately centered in the cozy village of Three Pines and the wider world. For this excellent follow-up to the game-changing Bury Your Dead, Inspector Gamache returns to Three Pines to solve a murder that's intimately tied to the world of fine art. The story is built around the concept of chiaroscuro—the contrast between dark and light that's significant in some artists' works, and in all our natures. It may sound obtuse, but Penny probes with a light hand. It works.More info →
There was never a question I'd continue with the Inspector Gamache series (although I will say that book 3 wasn't my favorite) but the series moves to the next level in this sixth installment, in which Penny finally brings a plotline she's only hinted at in previous books front and center, and it is riveting.More info →
From the publisher: "#1 New York Times bestselling author Louse Penny's beloved Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery novels have received critical acclaim, won numerous awards, and have enthralled millions of readers. Featuring Chief Inspector of Homicide Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec."More info →
From the publisher: "Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder. No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary." Add Audible narration for $3.99.More info →
These mysteries are unlike anything I'd ever read: the whodunit plot lines are just an excuse to explore human nature, granting them a depth and psychological astuteness I never expected from this genre. Louise Penny is a Summer Reading Guide pick (in the addictive series category—you'll see why) and an author worth binge reading.More info →
A new Louise Penny! This is book 13 in the series; you don't have to read these novels in order, but I recommend it: you'll miss the richness of her plot lines and characters if you jump in midstream. Penny's whodunit plot lines are an excuse to explore human nature, granting them a depth and psychological astuteness not often found in this genre. We're back in fictional Three Pines for this one: imagine the cozy feel and quirky characters of Stars Hollow, with fewer teenagers, more murder, and a smidge less levity. Publication date: August 29, 2017More info →
I adore this series. From the publisher: "The peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness. No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. Why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?"More info →
This eighth installment of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series takes place when "the lock on the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups is drawn back, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer, they grow vegetables, they tend chickens, they make chocolate. And they sing. Ironically, for a community that has taken a vow of silence, the monks have become world-famous for their glorious voices. Before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between." The reviews on this call Penny "utterly reliable, utterly enchanting" (Herald Sun) and "ingenious, gripping and elegant... an utterly magical read." Add Audible narration for $12.99.More info →
Booklist calls this "Another gem from the endlessly astonishing Penny." The New York Times says "Ms. Penny's books mix some classic elements of the police procedural with a deep-delving psychology, as well as a sorrowful sense of the precarious nature of human goodness, and the persistence of its opposite, even in rural Edens like Three Pines."More info →
In the 11th installment of Penny's Three Pines series, a young boy stumbles upon an inexplicable, frightening something that's been hiding in the woods for a long, long time, revealing that the town's history is darker than anyone imagined.More info →
The new Chief Inspector Gamache novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.
When a peculiar letter arrives inviting Armand Gamache to an abandoned farmhouse, the former head of the Sûreté du Québec discovers that a complete stranger has named him one of the executors of her will. Still on suspension, and frankly curious, Gamache accepts and soon learns that the other two executors are Myrna Landers, the bookseller from Three Pines, and a young builder.
None of them had ever met the elderly woman.
The will is so odd and includes bequests that are so wildly unlikely that Gamache and the others suspect the woman must have been delusional. But what if, Gamache begins to ask himself, she was perfectly sane?
When a body is found, the terms of the bizarre will suddenly seem less peculiar and far more menacing.
But it isn’t the only menace Gamache is facing.
The investigation into what happened six months ago―the events that led to his suspension―has dragged on, into the dead of winter. And while most of the opioids he allowed to slip though his hands, in order to bring down the cartels, have been retrieved, there is one devastating exception.
Enough narcotic to kill thousands has disappeared into inner city Montreal. With the deadly drug about to hit the streets, Gamache races for answers.
As he uses increasingly audacious, even desperate, measures to retrieve the drug, Armand Gamache begins to see his own blind spots. And the terrible things hiding there.More info →
From the publisher: "#1 New York Times best-selling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, Louise Penny brings her 'nerve and skill—as well as heart' (Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post) to selecting the best short mystery and crime fiction of the year. Louise Penny in her introduction. “In a short story there is nowhere to hide. Each must be original, fresh, inspired.” Originality is just what’s in store for readers of the twenty clever, creative selections in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018. There’s no hiding from a Nigerian confidence game, a drug made of dinosaur bones, a bombing at an oil company, a reluctant gunfighter in the Old West, and the many other scams, dangers, and thrills lurking in its suspenseful pages. The Best American Mystery Stories 2018 includes T. C. Boyle, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Charlaine Harris, Andrew Klavan, Martin Limón, Joyce Carol Oates, and others."More info →