Wednesday, February 26, 2014

a fatal grace

a fatal grace
armand gamache #2
louise penny
published 2007

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 - an 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.  CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament.  And yet no one saw anything.  Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder - or brilliant enough to succeed?

With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there.  For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves.  But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache.  As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.

In Still Life I grieved with everyone over the loss of the murdered victim, Jane.  Penny wrote about her in life as well as in the memories of friends and she was someone the small village of Three Pines would miss greatly.  The victim in A Fatal Grace, CC de Poitiers was the exact opposite.  She was awful and there weren't many in the village who were sad to see her go, if anyone.

The murder was intricate, complicated and hard to pull off.  The suspect pool was large, but the number of people who had the means were few.  It made for an interesting story and the return of Nichol was an interesting side story.  But there was a lot going on that the reader isn't really privvy to yet.  It was almost as if the purpose of this book is to set up events that will happen later in the series.  There are many references to the Arnott case, which happened some time before the events in Still Life.

It was a little frustrating.  I don't like reading a book and feeling like I'm missing things, as if I've skipped a book somewhere or am reading something out of order.  So I suppose I should jump right into the next book to see if all my questions are answered.

This story, besides the Arnott stuff, felt pretty unbelievable in the way everything came together at the end.  It was a good mystery, but really a set up for another book.

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