Detective fiction by Louise Penny that rivals the best Scandinavia can offer

detective fiction

Do you enjoy detective fiction? Check this out.

An unpopular woman, a newcomer to town, is murdered in the middle of the day at a popular sports event in rural Quebec. She was mysteriously electrocuted sitting in a lawn chair on the sidelines. The local constable is clueless.

Enter the celebrated homicide detective, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec with a retinue of subordinates. Gamache plunges into the investigation with his usual quiet intensity, deploying his team with great skill. Suspects abound — of course: your job is to guess whodunit — and the Inspector methodically eliminates them, one by one. Meanwhile, his boss in Montreal is scheming to end Gamache’s career as chief of homicide because he exposed corruption at the highest level in the Surete in a previous case. The boss has planted a spy on Gamache’s team.

A Fatal Grace (Armand Gamache #2) by Louise Penny @@@@ (4 out of 5)

Now picture this setting: an isolated village in Quebec, not found on any maps, often snow-bound, but populated by a blend of long-time residents and cultural refugees from the hustle of Montreal, located an hour away. Among the late-comers are a misanthropic old woman who is one of Canada’s leading poets, a world-class painter struggling because he can only produce one or two paintings a year, his wife who is probably a better artist than he is but can’t catch a break, a bantering gay couple who own the bistro and the B&B, and a jumbo-sized black woman who bought the local bookstore after leaving a successful career as a clinical psychologist in the city. We met this cast of fascinating but lovable characters in a previous novel (Still Life) in the venerable Inspector Gamache series. They’re back playing their assigned roles as foils to Gamache’s brilliance in this first-class followup.

If you enjoy fluid and evocative writing, three-dimensional characters, well-crafted suspense, and a complex puzzle, you’ll love A Fatal Grace.

For additional reading

You might also enjoy my posts:

For an abundance of great mystery stories, go to Top 20 suspenseful detective novels (plus 200 more). And if you’re looking for exciting historical novels, check out Top 10 historical mysteries and thrillers reviewed here (plus 100 others).

And you can always find my most popular reviews, and the most recent ones, plus a guide to this whole site, on the Home Page.

Spread The Word!