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A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel + The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Chief Inspector Gamache Novels) + Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)
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Product Details

  • Series: Chief Inspector Gamache (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (February 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312541163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312541163
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (406 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Penny's newest mystery returns to Three Pines, the bucolic but hardly idyllic hamlet south of Montreal where Inspector Gamache has his hands full contending with a pair of murders including that of a spiritual and domestic diva. Veteran reader Cosham isn't the best choice for this project, although his rich baritone voice can mesmerize listeners. The entire town plus the local office of the Sûreté de Québec is swept up in these murders, but unfortunately, the citizens all sound alike, as do Em, Kay and Mother, who are referred to as the Three Graces. Cosham's French is perfect, if a bit formal, but he uses the language spoken in Europe, not the Québécois dialect and pronunciation that would be used by the locals. His British accent is also a bit tony for this corner of Canada and its artistic but down-to-earth inhabitants. Despite the apparent miscasting, Cosham'space makes the witty narrative frothy and irresistible, like a good café au lait.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

Quebec Surete Inspector Armand Gamache, who made his debut in Still Life (2006), returns in this enjoyable follow-up. An almost universally disliked, even hated, woman is murdered. Naturally, the pool of potential murderers is deep, ranging from the victim's lover to her friends (well, acquaintances) to various others in the small Canadian community of Three Pines. Gamache, a smart and likable investigator--think Columbo with an accent, or perhaps a modern-day Poirot--systematically wades his way through the pool, coming upon a few surprises along the way. Penny is a careful writer, taking time to establish character and scene, playing around with a large cast, distracting us so we won't see the final twists coming until they're upon us. This is a fine mystery in the classic Agatha Christie style, and it is sure to leave mainstream fans wanting more. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

LOUISE PENNY is an award-winning journalist who worked for many years for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She lives in a small village south of Montréal where she writes, skis, and volunteers. Her bestselling first mystery, Still Life, was the winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards; and her second, A Fatal Grace, won the Agatha Award for Best Novel in 2008. Visit her website at www.louisepenny.com.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4 star
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3 star
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See all 406 customer reviews
The twists and turns of the plot will keep you guessing until the end.
Ann
What a joy to visit Three Pines again, with all of its memorable characters and the wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache.
Karen Simon Peterson
The plots are interesting, the characters are well developed and real and the story flows beautifully.
California Jo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is the second novel in my favorite new mystery series, and it's every bit as good as the first one. STILL LIFE introduced Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sureté de Québec, and he solved a murder in the colorful village of Three Pines, just a few miles north of the U.S. border. In this new mystery, he's back in Three Pines at Christmastime, looking for another murderer among the eccentric local population.

Every mystery series needs a good detective and a good setting, and Penny is better than most at evoking her small Canadian town and the vivid people in it. And Gamache is a memorable creation--I really hope we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the years ahead. Not since Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot have I found such a likable crimesolver. If you enjoy good writing, fair clues and surprising solutions, you're going to love this series. Highly recommended.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By P. Bigelow VINE VOICE on November 11, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Fatal Grace" is the second in Penny's excellent series featuring Sûreté du Québec Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Gamache returns to the small town of Three Pines when one of its residents is electrocuted during a curling match. It soon becomes clear that this was no accident, it was murder. Gamache discovers the victim, who is not liked by anyone, including her family, is not who she said she was. Slowly, but surely Gamache peels back layer after layer in his search for the killer. With each layer peeled away, he learns something new about the residents of the small town, about the deceased, and about the murderer.

As with all the books in this series, there are recurring characters. While you don't necessarily have to read the series in the order it was written, you will miss the joy of getting to know them as Gamache speaks with each one. While Gamache heads the investigation, his team, including a spy working for the head of the Sûreté du Québec, is instrumental in turning up pieces of the puzzle that Gamache finally puts together in order to discover who the killer was.

One of the things that readers will savor is Penny's ability to coin a phrase. One of my favorites from this book is when Gamache speaks about his deceased dog, "Gamache had had the impression it wasn't that his old heart had stopped, but that Sonny had finally given it away."

Penny's descriptions of the winter weather will have the reader inching up the thermostat so vividly does the author make the reader feel the bitter cold of a winter's day in Quebec.

This is one of the best series being written. Penny is in the same league as P.D. James, Charles Todd, and Laurie R. King. Don't miss this author and her series starting with "Still Life."
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful By egreetham on July 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed "Still Life" but unfortunately "A Fatal Grace" is not nearly as entertaining. I had the same kind of experience reading it that one of the inhabitants of Three PInes, Clara, had when viewing the Christmas window in a department store in which she formerly had been completely able to lose herself: an unpleasant realization shattered the fantasy.

A psychopathic minor Martha Stewart is murdered in Three Pines at Christmas. She is a woman so horrible that most of the villagers have motives to kill her. Inspector Gamache of the Surete believes that the key to her death lies in her mysterious past which seems to be somehow connected to Three Pines.

The characters from "Still Life" reappear, but instead of being quirky and eccentric, they are now overdrawn black-or-white cardboard figures. The village is no longer just charming--it's greeting card perfect. Inspector Gamache, always too good to be true, is now a saint. Apparitions of God appear. The victim is an impossibly motivated woman with a literally unbelievable rationale. A subplot having to do with politics within the Surete is supposed to draw us further into the series, but really seems an unnecessary distraction.

However, Ms. Penny's work has moments of descriptive power and good humor, and I have to confess to enjoying the descriptions of Three Pines during the Christmas season in spite of myself. I hope her future novels return to the level of her first.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. C. Crammer VINE VOICE on April 8, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I won't describe the plot, because others have already done that.

Somehow the things I liked about the first book were over-emphasized in this second in the series: for example, the charming Quebec town (it's Christmas and snowing like crazy) comes across as too Thomas Kincaid and the psychological-philosophical talk was overdone. Worst of all, I had little trouble figuring out who did it and what the supposed secrets were well in advance of the police.

I also didn't like the way some characters are caricatures of bad while others are caricatures of good. Additionally, the emphasis on women's physical appearance -- particularly dress and hairstyle -- struck me as quite shallow in a book in which psychological and philosophical depth was intended. I wanted to say "a bad haircut or cheap clothes are not the worst thing in the world, and no indicator of character or intelligence"!

The coziness of the book was probably the most appealing part -- Quebec small town life at Christmas. I did have to laugh at the way snow seemed to be little obstacle to travel. I am from Chicago and know that even in the city, if too much snow falls in a short period of time, driving becomes next to impossible until the snowplows clear the roads -- and that happens first on major thoroughfares and only later on sideroads. Yet we have Gamache needing two other people to help him clear snow off his car, and then he hops into his Volvo and drives off. In your dreams, I thought -- he'd need to be driving a very different vehicle for that to happen.

This was an enjoyable read but a book I have already passed on for others to read -- unlike the first in the series, which will remain on my shelf for future reads.
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