The seventh book in Louise Penny's Three Pines series was released in August. I am surprised to discover I haven't reviewed her books before this! From her very first book, Penny became a favorite author and has remained so with each addition to the series. The setting is a tiny village of Québec south of Montréal with a disproportionate share of creative geniuses and artful curmudgeons. And also, as a character in A trick of the light puts it, a cottage industry in murder. The shining star of the books is Chief Inspector Gamache, who, with his satellites, the homicide detectives, is called to Three Pines over and over to solve riveting and perplexing crimes. It sounds fantastic, but Penny's people and settings are so warm and inviting. It would be great to call Three Pines up on MapQuest and drive up there! A weekend at the inn sounds just the thing.
In the sixth novel, we found that Gamache, brilliant and kind as he is, had sent an innocent man to prison. Jean Guy Beauvoir, Gamache's assistant, went to work to solve the problem at Gamache's insistence and paid for his dedication with wounds from which he is still recovering.
As is the chief. They both had physical and emotional trauma, but Gamache puts his own feelings aside and reaches out to Olivier, the innocent man. Jean Guy gets a divorce as introspection drives him to make changes and face uncomfortable truths, such as the love he feels for the chief's married daughter.
Meanwhile, Clara Morrow has had a fabulous "vernissage" or exhibition, which opened to critical acclaim--especially her paintings of the village women. The afterparty at her house was equally successful, despite Peter's obvious difficulty in dealing with her success.
But the next morning there is a body in the Morrow garden--an old friend of Clara's long estranged. Clara never even saw her while she sat and enjoyed her morning coffee. Don't miss these gems. ~Tessa Eger