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A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Winner of the 2007 Agatha Award for Best Novel!
From the Dagger award winning author Louise Penny comes the second Armand Gamache mystery set in the stunning countryside of Quebec.
Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.
No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.
When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. 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. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?
With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.
"The cozy mystery, which aims to charm as much as challenge, has a graceful practicioner of that artful dodge in Louise Penny."
—The New York Times Book Review
“A traditional and highly intelligent mystery….sure to create great reader demand for more stories featuring civilized and articulate Chief Inspector Gamache…. Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal (starred review)
“Remarkably, Penny manages to top her outstanding debut. Gamache is a prodigiously complicated and engaging hero, destined to become one of the classic detectives.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"For all the perplexing mechanics of the murder, and the snowed-in village setting, this is not the usual "cosy" or even a traditional mystery. It's a finely written, intelligent and observant book. Imbued with a constant awareness of the astonishing cold, this perfect blend of police procedural and closed-room mystery finds its solution, as in the best of those traditions, in the slow unlayering of a sorrowful past."
"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....This is a fine mystery in the classic Agatha Christie style, and it is sure to leave mainstream fans wanting more."
“This book is a small and perfect literary jewel. Penny is the best writer of traditional mysteries to come along in decades. I haven’t read a book this beautifully written since A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell.”
“Very simply, I loved this book. I expect you will, too.”
—Mystery Scene magazine
“The cast of...
- ASIN : B0011UGLRY
- Publisher : Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (May 15, 2007)
- Publication date : May 15, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 4850 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 418 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,115 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2018
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Top reviews from the United States
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I am hooked, and ready for the next novel!
There are subplots that often have little or nothing to do with the central mystery. I often find those subplots (like the ones in "A Great Reckoning" and "A Rule Against Murder") more interesting than the murder. I enjoy the poetry, history, philosophy, food descriptions, and psychological insights that might make the books seem overly busy to some readers.
I also find the anglophone-francophone tensions interesting. Although I'm descended from Quebecois, I knew very little about the bitterness surrounding the battle for the province's identity. This series openly discusses that issue and the prejudices from both sides. The term "anglo" has nothing to do with anti-american sentiment, as another reviewer seemed to infer. Louise Penny uses it to describe Quebec's own political and cultural issues.
Another Amazon reviewer was offended by Louise Penny's use of stereotypes to describe overweight people and homosexuals. That's a fine and tricky line. Penny's characters are flawed -- that's one of Inspector Gamache's primary talking points -- and, so, they speak their prejudices. They also struggle to stand up against prejudice ("The Brutal Telling"). Some of the characters are overweight, like Myrna, who is large in all ways and defies being judged by the physical numbers, and the daughter in "A Fatal Grace," whose weight is part of the reason for her victimization. Some of the characters are homosexual and they behave in a variety of ways, including the stereotypically "over the top," but it's pretty clear that that character (Gabri) chooses that persona for a reason and has other dimensions to his personality. I'm guessing that the most problematic character, in terms of offensive language, is Ruth Zardo, whose insulting nature borders on mental illness. Yet, she has a place - in this series, in the lives of others, in the view of humanity expressed by Penny's Inspector Gamache.
But, in the end, they are characters. Louise Penny is not calling people names. Her characters are, and when they do, other characters react. If you want to read about lovely, inoffensive people, this series is not for you. But, if you like complicated plots with a lot of extraneous but fascinating information, start at "Still Life," work your way through the entire series, and realize that not all the books are great - some are merely very good.
Top reviews from other countries
I enjoyed book one so much I couldn't resist buying this book, the second in the series.
Once again I have been charmed by Gamache and his quiet, unobtrusive and somewhat tender and empathetic demeanour. This contrasts beautifully when he has to do a complete about turn and change into someone who can be quite ruthless and almost unfeeling at times, but to a greater end - that of solving the murder mystery at the heart of the story.
The myriad of supporting characters, both the police and also the residents of Three Pines, are developing from book one into some wonderful people - I love the occasional affectionate insults between Gabri and Ruth, I think I may be seeing cracks appearing in the marriage of Peter and Clara, the Three Graces are lovable old ladies with a somewhat darker more sinister side.
And just what is Agent Nichol up to???? Off to buy book three now to get myself lost even more deeply into the lives and the heads of this wonderful mix of characters.
Alas, for me, that wasn't enough to rescue the book from every cliche you can think of in a murder mystery of this kind.
It's completely unbelievable; from the almost Messiah like Chief Inspector and his band of disciples (including a Judas like character) who is either loved to distraction or bitterly envied and distrusted by those he walks amongst, and has no qualms about discussing his case with the village residents - any of whom could have been the killer - and even letting them help with solving it!
to the other characters, who are completely one-dimensional.
The big "reveals" were glaringly obvious.
As a TV show in the style of Murder She Wrote (as I think another reviewer has already said) it would be ideal. As a Book, however, it didn't leave me wanting to continue with the series - even though it ended with a slight cliffhanger.