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A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel: 2

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Although there were the trademark astute one-liners such as: It was almost impossible to electrocute someone these days, unless you were the governor of Texas, it was hard to feel sympathetic to some characters because I had read ahead. The village of Three Pines and its stubborn, gentle (and occasionally murderous) folk who insist on living in a place that would kill you if you ran out of firewood. A 12-year old overweight girl is described on multiple occasion in the most jarring, mean-spirited way - not by other characters, but the author. The cozy mystery, which aims to charm as much as challenge, has a graceful practicioner of that artful dodge in Louise Penny.

CC lived, Saul knew, in her own world, where she was perfect, where she could hide her feelings and hide her failings. She emotionally abuses her daughter (Crie) and husband, expresses contempt for her lover, and -- worst of all, the text says -- she wears boots made of baby sealskin, making her not merely a damaged, destructive human being but an actual monster who wears babies on her feet. As Gamache and the others notice the raw distaste that others had for CC, they cannot help but wonder why much of CC’s life cannot be substantiated. It was nothing that I wanted except perhaps location and I certainly wasn’t up for a massive renovation project. C. de Poitiers, a woman so vile and insufferable no one is sorry when she is electrocuted in a freakish "accident" during a Christmas curling match at Three Pines.

A Fatal Grace is the second Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery set in the stunning countryside of Quebec. I decided that “Chairs might red glass” could be “Jars my tired ass,” because Billy Wms went a different way to the hospital than he did with CC in the truck. I enjoy her rich, layered plots, and I worry myself sick about Gamache and the forces working against him. Now that she reminds me—and how remarkable for her to remember—I know that she and Michael insisted on taking me to lunch on that Saturday, and made more of a fuss about my birthday than they did about her chances of winning the Agatha. Louise Penny has become a firm favorite in the murder mystery genre and I just loved to be home in the Three Pines village of Quebec again with all the characters welcoming me.

The only part of this book that I found a bit off-key was a moment between Gamache and one of the town's oldest residents, Em. The doomed CC has written a self-help book that prattles about love and enlightenment, even though she is actually like the Snow Queen from the fairytale who pierces everyone’s hearts with ice. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself. He does solve the murder, and connects it with another murder in the city of Montreal, with the help of his dedicated team of excellent investigators. I think it’s magnificent on so many levels: as a complex and masterful detective story, as a glorious character study, and as an exploration of universal hopes and fears.

No one seems to have sympathy and is happy to see her gone but Gamache and his team are dispatched nonetheless to find the murderer. I was shocked by Clara ignoring the homeless woman when she's supposed to be so loving and generous and connected, but nobody else was.

Can it be possibly be coincidence that CC’s book, Be Calm, has the same name as the meditation center Bea Mayer, known as Mother, runs in Three Pines? He flipped through the other pages and slowly felt a smile come to his frozen face and move to his hardened heart. I save the hard to get books for the times when I am visiting because the collection is that expansive. And the chair is sitting out on the ice with only what, 2 or 3 other chairs around it, and they are all right in front of the shoreline bleachers stuffed with onlookers?And I won’t mention the sneaking-around backstabbing that seems to be going on behind our wonderful inspector over some previous case for which he’s in the doghouse. But he has enemies of his own, and as he is frozen out of decision-making in the Surete du Quebec, he has to decide who he can trust. Penny continues to explore the larger Sûreté Homicide team, including some quirks in the hierarchy and some new faces, sure to stir the pot in ways that might not have been expected in such a quaint novel. CC, who had a "spiritual guidance" business based on eliminating emotion, was hated by seemingly everyone, including her husband, lover, and daughter.

While the deceased CC de Poitiers sounds like a real nasty person but I’m interested in seeing her murderer brought to justice nonetheless. 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. This time, one of the most hated villagers is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake during a curling match and nobody seems to have seen anything and at first sight the crime seems impossible. The beauty of Louise Penny's auspicious debut novel, Still Life , is that it's composed entirely of grace notes, all related to the central mystery of who shot an arrow into the heart of Miss Jane Neal. I guessed the murderer early on, but I get the feeling that whodunnit is less important to these books than the local color, the ambience, the sweet community.Then a new team member arrives unexpectedly: Agent Yvette Nichol—”the rancid, wretched, petty little woman who’d almost ruined their last case”—apparently sent by the Superintendent of the Sûreté. This book sealed the deal on my deciding to continue on with the series as I was nicely surprised by the second offering. It’s been some time, but I was happy to find myself back in Three Pines, the idyllic little community in Quebec that is peppered with interesting characters, as well as several secrets.

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