12 January 2012

The last of Louise Penny's books

I was happy I got to read the first of Louise Penny's books, Still Life. It was charming and interesting.

So I picked up a second one, A Fatal Grace, when I was at the library. I evern renewed it because there were so many interruptions over the holidays (if grand daughters can be safely called interruptions.)

It took too long to read. It wasn't as charming or as interesting. The plot was far fetched. Most of the interesting characters from Still Life were in this book, but they weren't as interesting the second time around.

I did finish the book, so it wasn't awful. It just wasn't as wonderful as the first one of Penny's that I read.

Tiny, improbable village in southern Quebec where a second murder in as many years takes place. What are the odds? About the same as the odds of there being a second-hand book store there that supports its owner, as Penny contends. Now, I've read Carol Bly and Kathleen Norris and I'm willing to concede that there's probably more diversity in rural towns than I saw growing up in one. But the diversity in Three Pines stretches my sense of the possible. And like Cabot Cove, Maine, the violent crime rate is pretty high. I wouldn't want to live there and I doubt I'll visit again through Louise Penny's novels. (It's not the last of Louise Penny's books, but it's probably the last one I'll read.)

Have you read A Fatal Grace (published in Canada as Dead Cold and Sous la glace)? What did you think of it? Read other of Louise Penny's mysteries? What did you think of them? Write and tell this little bit of the world what you thought.


Ken Wedding said...

Dale Stahl, who originally recommended Penny's books urges me (us) to read on.

"Ahh, my friend, you give up too easily! You just finished the worst of the series. The next book is far better, and they continue to improve.

"What I enjoy is the characters in the village, their lives and the ridiculously tempting description of their food and drink! I am as tough a critic as any and while I admit there is too much murder in that little village, and some of the murder solutions are a bit complex to be credible, I have gotten an awful lot of enjoyment out of the entire series.

"My wife and I both appreciate the little asides, comments on life and human nature all seem to resonate with us. The damn books also make me wish I was more knowledgeable about poetry, and I hate poetry!

"I believe Dan Conrad agrees with me here. I recently finished the last book, A Trick of the Light, and sincerely hope she has another one in the works!

"Cheers, I’m off to have a licorice pipe and a sip of scotch!"

Ken Wedding said...

Well, here's what Dan Conrad wrote. I'm willing to trust Dale's recommendation for at least one more book. Will Dan?

"I had exactly the same reaction to the first two Louise Penny books in the Inspector Grimanche (sp?) series: loved the first, disappointed by the second. I am now about 1/4 of the way through the third, The Cruelest Month, and in desperate need for someone's encouragement to read any further.

"I hate to admit it, but the quaint manners of the lovable folks of idyllic Three Pines are becoming predictable, repetitive and a bit boring so the pages devoted to their charm is not so engaging as at first. Also, it looks as though the discovery of the murderer will share a great deal of space with a side story devoted to plots and spies within the Quebec police department whose aim it is to destroy the somewhat cloyingly lovable Inspector Grimanche.

"As negative as I sound, I really will plunge on if someone can give me even the slightest reason to do so. Please tell me it gets really good! If not I'll move on to the next in the series and give Louise Penny one more look. That's how much I liked the first in this series."