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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review: A Trick of Light by Louise Penny

imageI recommend all sorts of books to my mom. Most she likes and some that I think she’ll really like, she ends up hating. I was a bit worried recommending A Trick of Light by Louise Penny because I really enjoyed it and I wasn’t sure if it would make the cut for my mom.

Well, I can report that she has since purchased all of Louise Penny’s books and is a huge fan of Inspector Gamache.

Author Louise Penny lives outside of a small village south of Montreal, but she hasn’t always been a Quebecer. Penny was born in Toronto and became a journalist and radio host for CBC. She moved to Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, eventually settling in Quebec.

Within weeks I’d called Quebecers ‘good pumpkins’, ordered flaming mice in a restaurant, for dessert naturally, and asked a taxi driver to ‘take me to the war, please.’ He turned around and asked ‘Which war exactly, Madame?’ Fortunately elegant and venerable Quebec City has a very tolerant and gentle nature and simply smiled at me. (...more)

Full of courtesy and dignity is our main character, the Inspector. No wonder my mom has a bit of a heart throb for him. Even investigating the murder of Lillian Dyson, he is charming yet firm, worldly yet not pretentious.

Now don’t go worrying about dear Lillian, because she wasn’t much of a dear. Lillian, more times than not, played the stream roller, taking down the careers of many artists and presumed friends in the art world. She was a harsh and caustic critic, in particular of Clara Morrow, in whose garden she found herself murdered.

Now why was she in Clara’s garden the night of Clara’s first solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal? Lillian certainly wasn’t invited to the after-party in the garden. And what was she planning to do in that shocking, red cocktail dress?

A modern-day Agatha Christie, Louise Penny can hold her readers attention. Even the secondary characters have fully realized personas and backstories, which certainly makes it harder to guess the conclusion of this who-dunnit.

If you have never heard of Louise Penny, A Trick of Light is worth the read.

Published by St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover edition
Canadian author

Audiobook by Macmillan Audio (Listen to a clip.)

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