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A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery, Book 2

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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, r 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 Québec, 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.

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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, r 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 Québec, 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.

30 review for A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery, Book 2

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adina

    "So much more comforting to see bad in others; gives us all sorts of excuses for our own bad behavior. But good? No, only really remarkable people see the good in others." A fatal grace is the 2nd installment in Inspector Armand Gamache cozy mystery series. In Still Life I was introduced to the inspector and his team and fell in love with Three Pines, the little village where the action takes place. Gamache is a chief inspector in the Sûreté du Québec, an honorable and complex character whose mai "So much more comforting to see bad in others; gives us all sorts of excuses for our own bad behavior. But good? No, only really remarkable people see the good in others." A fatal grace is the 2nd installment in Inspector Armand Gamache cozy mystery series. In Still Life I was introduced to the inspector and his team and fell in love with Three Pines, the little village where the action takes place. Gamache is a chief inspector in the Sûreté du Québec, an honorable and complex character whose main approach to solving a murder is to listen. He has to return to Three Pines after a year and a half in order to solve another murder. This time, one of the most hated villagers is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake during a curling match and nobody seems to have seen anything and at first sight the crime seems impossible. In this volume I learned more about the personalities of Gamache and his team, about their past and their fears. Also, I enjoyed revisiting some of the villagers from last book: Gabri and Olivier- the heart-warming gay couple, Myrna- the librarian, Ruth - the cranky poet, Clara and Peter - the artists. They all feel like a big family and Gamache is received in with open arms among them due to his pleasant personality. "Gamache was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms. And make friends with what he found there.And he went into the dark, hidden rooms in the minds of others. The minds of killers. And he faced down whatever monsters came at him. " The mystery was a bit more complex than last time and although I guessed the murderer from early on I enjoyed the ride and the plot twists. The writing is beautiful, poetic in places, and it managed to transport me to the snow covered Three Pines, a place I plan to revisit soon. Important! I believe this series should be read in order because we have a lot of personal details from all characters and conflicts that continue in the following volumes, there are references to the previous volumes so they might not be savoured so well read randomly

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan Anderson

    Where to begin with all the richness that A FATAL GRACE gave me. Reading it, I wondered how I had lived so long without discovering the work of Louise Penny, a first-rate writer. Her creation in this book is so real, her writing so lyrical, her characters so unique and the book's structure and meaning so complex that I began mumbling to myself, taking my sweet time reading the book in order to savor its mix of flavors, its innuendoes and subtleties, having at times to stop and scratch my head. I Where to begin with all the richness that A FATAL GRACE gave me. Reading it, I wondered how I had lived so long without discovering the work of Louise Penny, a first-rate writer. Her creation in this book is so real, her writing so lyrical, her characters so unique and the book's structure and meaning so complex that I began mumbling to myself, taking my sweet time reading the book in order to savor its mix of flavors, its innuendoes and subtleties, having at times to stop and scratch my head. It hurts me sometimes to have to hunt for meaning, but in this case the reward was worth the pain. The characters are memorable. I especially liked chief inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie and I loved the painter, Carol, her fragility and her luminous works; the enigmatic figure, Agent Nichol and the bag lady, Elle, and I could hear with Emilie's ears Tchaikovsky's violin concerto in D. I loved Ruth, the drunken and slovenly poet who at one point declares she committed the crime, a total hoot. And of course, the setting, Three Pines, a quaint, snowy village in the Quebec province of the author's imagination. The book is about the murder by electrocution on Christmas of the despicable C.C. de Poitiers, a character we love to hate. But it is also about the power of words and how they save and how they hurt. And it is about the agony of the people they destroy. A FATAL GRACE is not for everyone, not an easy read, but it is a fascinating mystery and a work of genius. It kept me guessing until the end. So if you love mystery and rare, rich setting; if you long for unique characters and meaning deep as bones, then don't miss A FATAL GRACE.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Have you ever been so dam cold that you could hardly move your frozen lips to talk? Having grown up in Michigan amidst many a freezing winter days, I have, and in A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny truly brings a chilling winter alive making the reader feel you are at the enchanted snowy village of Three Pines in Quebec.In book two, there's another murder to solve for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his crew as the repulsively cruel CC De Poitiers is no more. Deliberately electrocuted, the villagers Have you ever been so dam cold that you could hardly move your frozen lips to talk? Having grown up in Michigan amidst many a freezing winter days, I have, and in A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny truly brings a chilling winter alive making the reader feel you are at the enchanted snowy village of Three Pines in Quebec.In book two, there's another murder to solve for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his crew as the repulsively cruel CC De Poitiers is no more. Deliberately electrocuted, the villagers almost seem to be celebrating that the monster is dead and for good reason, but her death is linked (view spoiler)[to another sad loss nearby. (hide spoiler)] I am so enjoying this series and look forward to reading the next nine. Highly recommend if you're in the mood for a fast easy-to-read crime-mystery with well-developed recurring characters (each with their own secrets) that you get to know better with each installment.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paula Kalin

    Louise Penny is terrific. I'm a big fan of her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. A Fatal Grace, the 2nd of the series, takes a different path from the first book. More emotion, in depth character analysis, and what is perceived and what is really inside peoples minds. Different and beautiful. What wonderful prose. Listening to Ralph Cosham is such a pleasure. I'm only going with the audiobooks because of Cosham's voice and French Canadian accent. CC de Poitiers, the murder victim, has to be Louise Penny is terrific. I'm a big fan of her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. A Fatal Grace, the 2nd of the series, takes a different path from the first book. More emotion, in depth character analysis, and what is perceived and what is really inside peoples minds. Different and beautiful. What wonderful prose. Listening to Ralph Cosham is such a pleasure. I'm only going with the audiobooks because of Cosham's voice and French Canadian accent. CC de Poitiers, the murder victim, has to be one of the most despicable characters written. She is hated by everyone. What makes this book so much fun is the opinions of the eccentric group of villages from Three Pines who return from the first book. Just delightful! I first read a more recent Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In. A GR friend (Susan) recommended I start from the beginning and read them all. How fortunate to get such good advice. Highly recommend. 5 out of 5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    I feel honour-bound to give this Exceptionally well-written book five stars. Louise Penny is a Supernova in the Canadian literary firmament. And her warmth and human compassion is especially endearing, as is her supercharged inspiration in concocting such an endlessly labyrinthine structure for her book. I loved it. But why do its premises draw me into a dangerously dead-ended pattern of thinking? Let me explain. Isn’t this yet another return to the flawed Golden Age Theory? The mythical Québec vi I feel honour-bound to give this Exceptionally well-written book five stars. Louise Penny is a Supernova in the Canadian literary firmament. And her warmth and human compassion is especially endearing, as is her supercharged inspiration in concocting such an endlessly labyrinthine structure for her book. I loved it. But why do its premises draw me into a dangerously dead-ended pattern of thinking? Let me explain. Isn’t this yet another return to the flawed Golden Age Theory? The mythical Québec village of Three Pines, nestled quaintly and cozily in the Eastern Townships, being an Eldorado which calls out to principal players like Gamache, CC, and Saul to rest in its eternal Shangri-la - like the island of the Lotus Eaters in Homer... It’s the Sunset World of Trungpa’s classic Shambhala. A place of eternal moral entropy. Welcome to the Hotel California! And in the master’s chambers They all gather for the Feast They stab it with their steely knives But they just can’t kill the Beast. That’s why Three Pines is NEVER a stranger to murderous evil for too long. Oh, there indeed is rest here - and eventual stupor. But there is no straight road of clear judgement. Is it any wonder Pure Evil results? And double toil and trouble for all the villagers. For - Into many a green valley Drifts the appalling snow... The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the tea-cup opens A lane to the land of the dead. THAT is the Real Three Pines. So why not call it by its real name? Well, simple. That would steal all the romance and adventure from Perry’s wonderful plot. So let all this little wistful Jeremiad stand as the lone faint damn in a world of loud praise. And if you read this book you’ll LOVE it as I did. But if your ethical principles get in the way of your appreciation of the book, let your feelings play a double role as you read... in a willing suspension of discredit!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Yet another of those books with two titles. A Fatal Grace or Dead Cold. Take your pick. Anyway whatever it is called it is an excellent book. I hate the cold, but love reading about places where the snow is metres deep and the water freezes on the end of the firemen's hoses as they try to put out a fire. Wow! Also the story takes place at Christmas in a picture perfect town where the snow sparkles in the sun and everyone drinks hot chocolate and eats cookies. What more does a book need? Actually o Yet another of those books with two titles. A Fatal Grace or Dead Cold. Take your pick. Anyway whatever it is called it is an excellent book. I hate the cold, but love reading about places where the snow is metres deep and the water freezes on the end of the firemen's hoses as they try to put out a fire. Wow! Also the story takes place at Christmas in a picture perfect town where the snow sparkles in the sun and everyone drinks hot chocolate and eats cookies. What more does a book need? Actually of course it needs characters and this book does not lack anything in that area. There are characters galore, most of them slightly quirky or even quite outrageous. The main character,Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is the ultimate in detective fiction heroes. He appears to have no faults and charms everyone he meets. Except for the few who hate him for reasons that are not totally clear yet. I expect to discover more in future books which I am really looking forward to!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Candi

    "The monster’s dead and the villagers are celebrating." It’s been some time, but I was happy to find myself back in Three Pines, the idyllic little community in Quebec that is peppered with interesting characters, as well as several secrets. CC de Poitiers is fairly new in town, and definitely not a friend to any – not even those who had tried to make an effort to welcome this hateful, self-centered woman. So when she was found murdered in the middle of a curling match, it’s no surprise that the "The monster’s dead and the villagers are celebrating." It’s been some time, but I was happy to find myself back in Three Pines, the idyllic little community in Quebec that is peppered with interesting characters, as well as several secrets. CC de Poitiers is fairly new in town, and definitely not a friend to any – not even those who had tried to make an effort to welcome this hateful, self-centered woman. So when she was found murdered in the middle of a curling match, it’s no surprise that the townspeople are not mourning her death; rather there is a celebratory air in the village. Perhaps this is due in part to the approaching Christmas festivities, but certainly the removal of the town ‘bully’ must have something to do with the cheer. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is summoned to assist with the case once again. Most of the residents were pleased to see him return, as was I. He is a charming man, and a fair and honest detective, a crackerjack in his profession. "Gamache was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms. And make friends with what he found there. And he went into the dark, hidden rooms in the minds of others. The minds of killers. And he faced down whatever monsters came at him." Along with the folks we met in the last installment, we are introduced to a few more. I liked reacquainting myself with the regulars and popping into the bistro and the cozy little homes again. Louise Penny allows a glimpse of the inner workings of several characters a bit more, and I found this refreshing. I suspect we’ll get to know them even more intimately with the next in the series. Something bigger than just the murder at hand seems to be brewing on the horizon - something with a sinister vibe that does not bode well for Gamache. I felt a little on edge about this! I guess it’s a thread that will perhaps run through the next several books, sort of tying them all together. I enjoyed Dead Cold , but not quite as much as I did the first, Still Life. The crime in this one was a bit out there, somewhat unbelievable. Regardless, I did have fun arriving at the solution and there was enough here to keep me interested in continuing. 3.5 stars rounded down "A layer of pure white was both beautiful and dangerous. You never really knew what lurked beneath. A Quebec winter could both enchant and kill."

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    I started reading this book immediately after finishing Still Life, with high expectations. At first, I was disappointed. The initial chapters seemed to lose the edge established by the prior book, the returning characters from the village of Three Pines seemed far less interesting than before. Then Inspector Gamache came on the scene, late in my judgment, but once he made his appearance, the story took off, with an accelerating pace that lasted all the way through. The Three Pines characters, n I started reading this book immediately after finishing Still Life, with high expectations. At first, I was disappointed. The initial chapters seemed to lose the edge established by the prior book, the returning characters from the village of Three Pines seemed far less interesting than before. Then Inspector Gamache came on the scene, late in my judgment, but once he made his appearance, the story took off, with an accelerating pace that lasted all the way through. The Three Pines characters, now seen through Gamache's eyes and not forced to make it on their own, regained their gloss. The plot is more than a little bizarre, and not quite believable in all aspects, but so what. It's a ripping story, thoroughly enjoyable. And author Penny clearly lays the basis for further intrigue in the career of Inspector Gamache, finally explaining the case that happened before Still Life and letting us know why there are some in the Sûreté who are out to get him.

  9. 4 out of 5

    James Thane

    Louise Penny is a gifted writer who has created in Chief Inspector Armand Gamache a sympathetic protagonist who appeals to large numbers of readers. She has also created a richly-imagined setting in the charming Canadian village of Three Pines, which is located somewhere just south of Montreal. The tiny hamlet is populated by a cast of quirky but mostly lovable characters who spend a lot of time walking through the snow and curling up in front of blazing fires. In doing so, Penny has attracted a Louise Penny is a gifted writer who has created in Chief Inspector Armand Gamache a sympathetic protagonist who appeals to large numbers of readers. She has also created a richly-imagined setting in the charming Canadian village of Three Pines, which is located somewhere just south of Montreal. The tiny hamlet is populated by a cast of quirky but mostly lovable characters who spend a lot of time walking through the snow and curling up in front of blazing fires. In doing so, Penny has attracted a legion of enthusiastic readers who, apparently, can hardly wait for each new installment of the series to appear. This is the second book in the series and the second that I've read, in both cases because the book was selected by one of the book clubs to which I belong. Having done so, I can stand back and dispassionately appreciate Penny's accomplishment; my problem is that this just isn't the sort of book that appeals to me. Inspector Gamache is just a bit too perfect and life in the little snow-globe village of Three Pines is just a bit too saccharine for my taste. I don't mean that to sound as dismissive as it probably does, and again, I understand that there are large numbers of readers who would love to live in Three Pines, but I'd probably go stark raving mad in less than a week. In thinking about it, it occurred to me that, on the one hand, you have the world of Three Pines and, on the other, for example, the world of Matthew Scudder's New York City as imagined by Lawrence Block. And it strikes me that, while certainly there would be exceptions to the rule, most of the people who enjoy hanging out in Scudder's New York aren't going to want to spend a lot of time in Gamache's Three Pines, and vice-versa. What it comes down to, I guess, is that I'm just one of those people who would much rather spend a night hanging out with Matt and Mick Ballou, drinking a good Irish whiskey at Grogan's Open House than I would sitting around a pleasant fire at the bistro in Three Pines, drinking a nice hot chocolate. In this case, a particularly unpleasant woman is murdered in a very complicated and public way while attending a curling match. Sitting at the front of the crowd, the victim stands up, touches the chair in front of her and is promptly electrocuted. Gamache is called to investigate and soon is digging into the secrets and tangled relationships of the little village that go back for years. At the same time, he is assisting in another totally unrelated murder, that of a street person who is killed in Montreal. All of this occurs in the dead of winter and the weather itself becomes an important factor in the story. The story takes a number of twist and turns and, again, I can understand its appeal. But I did have a lot of trouble buying into the way the Three Pines murder occurred; it just seemed completely implausible to me and unnecessarily complicated. As one of the characters asked, why go to all that trouble? Why not simply shoot her or something? In the case of my book club, most of the Louise Penny fans were perfectly happy with the book, while others of us were less enthusiastic. Again, I recognize that Ms. Penny is a very talented writer, but I probably don't need to make a third visit to Three Pines.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Delee

    Myrna looked out the window and wondered whether their peace, so fragile and precious, was about to be shattered. Since CC de Poitiers had arrived there'd been a gathering gloom over their little community. She'd brought something unsavory to Three Pines, in time for Christmas. [image error] It is Christmas in Three Pines- and once again Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are called to investigate another murder... No one liked CC de Poitiers – not her daughter, not her husband, not her l Myrna looked out the window and wondered whether their peace, so fragile and precious, was about to be shattered. Since CC de Poitiers had arrived there'd been a gathering gloom over their little community. She'd brought something unsavory to Three Pines, in time for Christmas. [image error] It is Christmas in Three Pines- and once again Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are called to investigate another murder... No one liked CC de Poitiers – not her daughter, not her husband, not her lover, and certainly not her neighbors. So when Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate CC’s death on the day after Christmas- in the midst of a curling match- he has plenty of suspects, but apparently even though she was killed with the entire town present...no one saw a thing. [image error] A FATAL GRACE is a marvelous mystery in the classic Agatha Christie style... and Tis the season for a marvelous mystery! Isn't it?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beata

    What can I say? Can't add much to thousands or readers praising this series .... One thing is certain, A Fatal Grace left me wanting to read next instalments.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Louise Penny returns with a second novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, just as riveting and captivating as the debut piece that offered the reader so much! While many of the familiar residents of Three Pines are in Montreal to shop for the holiday season, a newer family has begun to set-up some roots of their own in this bucolic town nestled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. CC de Poitiers heads this family, a woman who takes no prisoners and seeks to crush those in her way, in Louise Penny returns with a second novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, just as riveting and captivating as the debut piece that offered the reader so much! While many of the familiar residents of Three Pines are in Montreal to shop for the holiday season, a newer family has begun to set-up some roots of their own in this bucolic town nestled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. CC de Poitiers heads this family, a woman who takes no prisoners and seeks to crush those in her way, including a timid husband and emotionally abused daughter. CC is talk of the town, though not for anything she has done, even though she’d be happy to espouse her new-age way of living. During his annual Boxing Day Cold Case review, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache explores those cases the Homicide Division of the Sûreté du Québec might have overlooked. Embedded in the piles is a new case, that of a homeless woman who was found murdered just before Christmas. While not known personally to Gamache or his wife, her presence in Montreal’s downtown core could not be missed. When a call interrupts Gamache’s further exploration of the woman’s murder, it’s all hands on deck and back out to Three Pines, a journey about which the Chief Inspector has mixed feelings. When they arrive in one of the surrounding towns, the body of CC de Poitiers has been found, electrocuted. As Gamache and his Sûreté team begin digging through CC’s life, they cannot help but notice the truly Canadian surroundings, for this wretched woman died at a local curling event, having gripped the end of her chair, one that was seemingly attached to a sizeable generator. As Gamache and the others notice the raw distaste that others had for CC, they cannot help but wonder why much of CC’s life cannot be substantiated. Might she have been hiding something bigger, something even more disgusting than the tidbits she puts on display? And what of this vagrant woman that caught Gamache’s attention earlier in the week? All this and much more as Three Pines envelopes Gamache and the reader for another stunning mystery. Highly recommended for those who want a ‘quieter’ murder mystery with tons of Canadiana embedded in the narrative. I am enjoying the early stages of my Louise Penny binge, having found something that is not only unique, but captivating in its descriptive power. Penny uses not only the peaceful Eastern Townships as her setting, but continues to provide the reader with some great character development of Armand Gamache, a man whose intellect is balanced with a compassionate side. The reader learns a sliver more about his family life, with a loving wife and an extended family who cannot comprehend his need to work so much. This slow reveal, sandwiched between the current cases, keeps me wanting to learn more, yet take a moment to see the protagonist develop before my eyes. Penny continues to explore the larger Sûreté Homicide team, including some quirks in the hierarchy and some new faces, sure to stir the pot in ways that might not have been expected in such a quaint novel. It is the collection of Three Pines locals who steal the show—as I was told they would by the friend who recommended this series—with their acerbic wit and jabs at one another. This patchwork quilt of personalities keeps the story from getting too dreary, though Penny does offer much in the way of backstory and character development, such that I am going to have to keep things straight to learn all their nuances. The story moves well in this piece, with a few moments of chronological disorder to lay some of the groundwork for the murder and how CC could be so horrid a woman. Penny ensures the reader is in the middle of the investigation, watching Gamache’s mind spin as more information comes to light at key moments in the narrative. I am well on my way to a successful binge, with a new novel set to come out soon. Bring on more Penny and keep them coming! Kudos, Madam Penny, for intriguing me greatly. I am eager to see what else you have in store for this series. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Hippie Reader

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache solves more murders while surrounded by the sparkling personalities that compose the small town of Three Pines in Canada. Nobody likes the victim of the murder, which makes the job harder for Gamache. As a reader, I was cheering for Gamache to solve the crime, but not because of the unlikeable CC de Poiters. She was as different a character from the victim of the first book, Jane, as you could possibly be. I wonder if Louise Penny's editors said, 'Give us another co Chief Inspector Armand Gamache solves more murders while surrounded by the sparkling personalities that compose the small town of Three Pines in Canada. Nobody likes the victim of the murder, which makes the job harder for Gamache. As a reader, I was cheering for Gamache to solve the crime, but not because of the unlikeable CC de Poiters. She was as different a character from the victim of the first book, Jane, as you could possibly be. I wonder if Louise Penny's editors said, 'Give us another cozy murder, but different.' Well, she delivered. "Anything CC didn't like didn't exist. That included her husband and daughter. It included any unpleasantness, any criticism, any harsh words not her own, any emotions. CC lived, Saul knew, in her own world, where she was perfect, where she could hide her feelings and hide her failings. He wondered how long before that world would explode." pg 11, ebook Meanwhile, a storm is brewing at Gamache's headquarters because of fall out from the mysterious Arnot case (which the reader first read about in the last book and finally gets to learn about in this one). "Only fools underestimated (Gamache), but Brault knew the service was full of fools. Fools with power, fools with guns. The Arnot case had proved that beyond a doubt. And had almost destroyed the large, thoughtful man in front of him." pg 57, ebook We are also treated to more background on some of my favorite characters from the last book, Clara and Myrna, plus poetry from the irascible Ruth. Well, all children are sad but some get over it. Count your blessings. Better than that, buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet. Take up dancing to forget. pg 39, ebook. I like that Penny is developing these characters. They're not just stuck in a time or place, unmoving and stiff. For example, Clara and Peter, her husband, are still fighting, but about different subjects now than from the last book. How very realistic for a married couple. "When my death us do part Then shall forgiven and forgiving meet again, Or will it be, as always was, too late?" pg 61, ebook. And it's simply a treat to follow Gamache around and listen to his inner voice. He's sensitive and kind, smart and intuitive. He also likes good food and drink. It makes him so relatable. He's one of those characters that I'd like to meet for a drink sometime, if he were real. Or I'd want him in my book club. "Gamache's job was to collect the evidence, but also to collect the emotions. And the only way he knew to do that was to get the know the people. To watch and listen. To pay attention. And the best way to do that was in a deceptively casual manner in a deceptively casual setting. Like the bistro." pg 142, ebook. The only part of this book that I found a bit off-key was a moment between Gamache and one of the town's oldest residents, Em. They talk about moments from their past when something inexplicable caused them to behave in a certain way. That conversation comes back to haunt Gamache later in the book, and it almost has an air of magical realism to it. There's nothing wrong with magical realism, but I felt like Three Pines and its residents had enough every day magic without resorting to the truly far out there. I'd be curious as to what other readers thought of that moment — I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get there. Highly recommended for readers with a hankering for cozy mysteries.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    This is the third book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I have read and it is the second in the series. It is fast becoming my favorite new series and I plan to read them in order. I don't think it is necessary to read the books in order but I think it will help to get to know Gamache, the members of his team, and most of all the quirky residents of the small village of Three Pines, Quebec. It is Christmas time in Three Pines but CC de Poitiers manages to alienate everyone she co This is the third book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I have read and it is the second in the series. It is fast becoming my favorite new series and I plan to read them in order. I don't think it is necessary to read the books in order but I think it will help to get to know Gamache, the members of his team, and most of all the quirky residents of the small village of Three Pines, Quebec. It is Christmas time in Three Pines but CC de Poitiers manages to alienate everyone she comes in contact with. Her husband, her daughter, and even the friendly and outgoing residents of Three Pines. She may be colder than the Quebec winter. So it should come as no surprise that when CC is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament no one is grieving too much or that her shocking death was no accident. Inspector Gamache is called in to investigate. There is no shortage of potential suspects and the murder of a homeless woman in Montreal appears to have ties to both CC and Three Pines. Inspector Gamache's methods when investigating a murder are to talk with the residents. To get to know them (and so does the reader). The murder was not spontaneous. It was deliberate and planned. Only by talking with everyone will Gamache learn the events that led the murderer to commit this act. No one will every confuse Armand Gamache with Jack Reacher. I had a pretty good idea who the murderer was early on. It seemed somewhat obvious and I was pleased with myself that my deduction was correct. Even though I thought I knew who the murderer was this was a delightful read. It is approaching Christmas when I read this so that helped. We are in the midst of a "polar vortex" currently so I could relate to the author's description of the brutal winter weather. Three Pines is a fictional village but the description of it makes you wish it, and it's residents, were real. It would be nice to browse the bookstore and cozy up with a good book, sit in the bistro and enjoy a good meal and look out the windows at the lights of the village, and then head back to the B&B and your comfortable room. Almost makes winter sound pleasant. Almost. We are getting snow, sleet, and freezing rain as I write this and I know if I want to go anywhere I will have to warm up the car and scrape ice off the windows.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    Description: 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 Québec, is called to Description: 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 Québec, 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. Opening: Had CC de Poitiers known she was going to be murdered she might have bought her husband, Richard, a Christmas gift. She might even have gone to her daughter’s end of term pageant at Miss Edward’s School for Girls, or ‘girths’ as CC liked to tease her expansive daughter. Had CC de Poitiers known the end was near she might have been at work instead of in the cheapest room the Ritz in Montreal had to offer. But the only end she knew was near belonged to a man named Saul.People are cruel and insensitive I understand. You can’t spare anything, a hand, a piece of bread, a shawl against the cold, a good word. Lord knows there isn’t much to go around. You need it all. So that's the way it will be - starting with a carrot! It was Susanna who clued me into this series, HUZZAH! Read book 4 before 2 and 3 because I was caught at an airport with only A Rule Against Murder to dive into, so now I shall take up the slack... This is the one with a shocking curling match, a stinky dedication, and a weird ball retrieved from a dumpster. Three Pines: Salvador Dali Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D Major Although there were the trademark astute one-liners such as: It was almost impossible to electrocute someone these days, unless you were the governor of Texas, it was hard to feel sympathetic to some characters because I had read ahead. Not this book's fault, I know.Now here’s a good one: you’re lying on your deathbed. You have one hour to live. Who is it, exactly, you have needed all these years to forgive? 4* Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1) 3.5* A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2) TR The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3) 4* A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    It is seldom the case for me to feel a happy contentment when opening up a book. A feeling of "Oh, it feels so good to be home". Louise Penny has become a firm favorite in the murder mystery genre and I just loved to be home in the Three Pines village of Quebec again with all the characters welcoming me. This time it was the day after Christmas, the deadly winter was raging, and more people would die than ever imagined. CC was a despised woman. Obnoxious, cruel, -she was maddeningly bad news- to It is seldom the case for me to feel a happy contentment when opening up a book. A feeling of "Oh, it feels so good to be home". Louise Penny has become a firm favorite in the murder mystery genre and I just loved to be home in the Three Pines village of Quebec again with all the characters welcoming me. This time it was the day after Christmas, the deadly winter was raging, and more people would die than ever imagined. CC was a despised woman. Obnoxious, cruel, -she was maddeningly bad news- to the people who knew who she was, but did not reveal the secret. Well, CC died, electrocuted on a frozen lake while the entire village was there, curling, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, arrived in Three Pines again. The whosdunit was on! The book could well have been a novel about a small-town community without the murder mysteries to turn it into a picturesque magical, although imaginery, place. The author enhanced the story with multilevels of intrigue and suspense. For a small romantic village, there seems to be quite an extraordinary number of murders! Hopefully the third book in the series will be just as good as the first two. I am hooked!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamach of the Sûreté du Québec received the call while with his wife – he was immediately headed to Three Pines where he’d investigated a murder the previous year. There had been another murder. Three Pines was a pretty little village and as it was nearing Christmas, it was bitterly cold with snow and ice surrounding the cottages, the bistro, the B&B as well as the village green; even the lake was completely iced over. CC de Poitiers had been despised by all – no one pe Chief Inspector Armand Gamach of the Sûreté du Québec received the call while with his wife – he was immediately headed to Three Pines where he’d investigated a murder the previous year. There had been another murder. Three Pines was a pretty little village and as it was nearing Christmas, it was bitterly cold with snow and ice surrounding the cottages, the bistro, the B&B as well as the village green; even the lake was completely iced over. CC de Poitiers had been despised by all – no one person was sorry about her death. But Gamach was determined to discover who had murdered her; he rarely failed. Would Gamach and his team be able to find the answers to this strange and baffling murder? He’d not encountered anything quite like it before… A Fatal Grace is the 2nd in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamach series by Louise Penny and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gamach is a fascinating man – gentle, compassionate and kind, he also has a strength of character and a way of nutting things out that make him pretty much perfect. There are plenty of twists and red herrings in A Fatal Grace, and I won’t be leaving #3 too long to pick up. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ “With each breath his nostrils froze shut and the air was like an ice pack in his sinuses, shooting pain through his forehead and making his eyes tear and freeze. By the time they were halfway to the train station he could barely see . . . the cold was already inside him, as though he was naked. . .” Reading this during a steamy Australian summer is an interesting experience. Here it’s the kind of weather when you find yourself stripped down to barely acceptable clothing and opening the fridge 5★ “With each breath his nostrils froze shut and the air was like an ice pack in his sinuses, shooting pain through his forehead and making his eyes tear and freeze. By the time they were halfway to the train station he could barely see . . . the cold was already inside him, as though he was naked. . .” Reading this during a steamy Australian summer is an interesting experience. Here it’s the kind of weather when you find yourself stripped down to barely acceptable clothing and opening the fridge or freezer a little more often than necessary. There, in the Canadian winter, you have to pile on the layers to try to retain what body heat there is, becoming barely acceptable in another ‘fashion’. “. . . she sat in front of him, nearly submerged under layers of thick sweaters and blankets. She looked like a laundry hamper. With a head. A very small, very worn head. All ten hairs on her tiny wizened scalp were standing straight up from the winter static in the house. She looked like a muppet with strings.” And I love it. The village of Three Pines and its stubborn, gentle (and occasionally murderous) folk who insist on living in a place that would kill you if you ran out of firewood. Inspector Gamache has returned to Three Pines following another murder. This is the second of what is now a long series about this big, gentle, intellectual man and his various sidekicks and off-siders. He is welcomed back to the B & B, to the bistro, to the various easy chairs by the various fires. But he never loses sight of why he’s there. He watches, he listens, and like me, he seems to suspect various possible perpetrators of the murder. I’m not going to discuss the plot, other than to say that the unpleasant woman who was murdered was mourned by nobody, and her impending doom is mentioned in the first sentence. There are a few scary moments, but this is not a thriller. It is a just a good story told in good company. A cozy mystery, one might say, except that seems a little too light-weight for the quality of Penny’s writing and the distinctiveness of her characters. She sets a scene better than most. I particularly liked the description of the church and its families. “On Christmas Eve St Thomas’s was also filled with families, children excited and exhausted, elderly men and women who’d come to this place all their lives and sat in the same pew and worshipped the same God and baptized and married and buried those they loved. Some they never got to bury, but instead immortalized in the small stained glass window placed to get the morning, the youngest, light. They marched now in warm yellows and blues and greens, for ever perfect and petrified in the Great War. Etched below the brilliant boys were their names and the words ‘They Were Our Children’.” I’ve given it 5 stars because I loved it. I don’t need to tell you about the 3 old ladies (one of the “laundry hamper” remark), the younger woman who was murdered, the widower and the practically catatonic daughter, the community curling festival on the frozen lake (where the murder took place), and the many village meals and conversations. So I won’t. And I won’t mention the sneaking-around backstabbing that seems to be going on behind our wonderful inspector over some previous case for which he’s in the doghouse. Nope. It’s enough for me to say I loved it and am looking forward to the next one. I just like spending time there, so why not?

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marita

    I guessed the identity of the murderer early in the story, but I enjoyed going along for the atmosphere, the coffee and freshly baked croissants, the cheese and wine being served as the cast of characters watched an ice hockey match on TV. Not everything about this mystery is cozy; there are dysfunctional relationships and sorrow. There are also some unexpected twists to the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The setup for this book is very long and the main thing the author established was how cruel some characters were and how others were affected by cruelty. This section was so unnecessarily long that I wanted to give up on the book. The only reason I didn't was because I really enjoyed the first book. The focus of the cruelty was on fat. And for a while it seemed that it was only the characters who were being cruel but then I read this passage about a 12 year old girl. And beside him an enormous c The setup for this book is very long and the main thing the author established was how cruel some characters were and how others were affected by cruelty. This section was so unnecessarily long that I wanted to give up on the book. The only reason I didn't was because I really enjoyed the first book. The focus of the cruelty was on fat. And for a while it seemed that it was only the characters who were being cruel but then I read this passage about a 12 year old girl. And beside him an enormous child was wearing a sleeveless sundress of the brightest pink. Her underarms bulged and flopped and the rolls of her waist made the skintight dress look like a melting strawberry ice cream. It was grotesque. This is the author's description, not a characters. And to me it makes the author more grotesque than any 12 year old child could be. The fat comments tapered off after this but the damage has been done. I don't think I could continue to read an author who would use such strong terms to describe an abused child. It's grotesque.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    What Louise Penny does is create a small, intimate world, while creating a sense of place so pervasive you feel you know it. Canada is rarely featured in best-selling books, and to have it so celebrated is wonderful. It is Quebec, to be sure, but the Quebec of Anglo-culture, and so, it is the Canadian Quebec. Most powerful, for me, is the way she builds quiet characters of amazing strength and depth. These are not cartoon-brilliant people. They are, for the most part, fully-fleshed out, but rath What Louise Penny does is create a small, intimate world, while creating a sense of place so pervasive you feel you know it. Canada is rarely featured in best-selling books, and to have it so celebrated is wonderful. It is Quebec, to be sure, but the Quebec of Anglo-culture, and so, it is the Canadian Quebec. Most powerful, for me, is the way she builds quiet characters of amazing strength and depth. These are not cartoon-brilliant people. They are, for the most part, fully-fleshed out, but rather ordinary people, for and around whom extraordinary events take place. I cared about them. And I love how she handles food. She herself talks about how the murder is really a conceit for the characters to reveal themselves - and their relationships. I think she has achieved this, and taken the mystery well beyond the procedural or the two-dimensional world of so many modern mysteries. She also has a reporter's eye for the compelling detail, and this effort, the research that has gone into the books, keep them from being too precious. There is a dense strong realism undergirding the story line. And she knows how to dose out the story, to keep you engaged. I also love the poet, the Ruth character, and her arc, through all the books, is amazing. As a reader, I at first disliked her, but she grew on me. I am not an expert, but Ruth's poetry resonates for me, I found it compelling, really powerful. I wish Penny would publish a book of poems by Ruth. I am looking forward to A Beautiful Mystery. Really.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This is the second book I've read in this series and just as good as the other one I have read. I'm not reading them in order, which is fine with me since it's usually a few weeks after I finish one before I start another in the series. I really love Louise Penny's writing style and the way she develops these characters. Here are two of my favorite lines from this book: "There at the back stood CC de Poitiers wearing a fluffy white sweater made of either cashmere or kittens." "Now she sat in front This is the second book I've read in this series and just as good as the other one I have read. I'm not reading them in order, which is fine with me since it's usually a few weeks after I finish one before I start another in the series. I really love Louise Penny's writing style and the way she develops these characters. Here are two of my favorite lines from this book: "There at the back stood CC de Poitiers wearing a fluffy white sweater made of either cashmere or kittens." "Now she sat in front of him, nearly submerged under layers of thick sweaters and blankets. She looked like a laundry hamper. With a head. A very small, very worn head."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    This series is great. I love the way Penny leads us into the psyche of people. Ganache listens. It is how he solves crimes. Gamache also loves people but I think Louise Penny must too. The people of Three Pines are an amazing cast. It makes me yearn for that kind of community. I love Ruth and the Beer Walk really touched me when I learned what it was. The story itself was pretty sad. I am enjoying the foreshadowing about the Arnot case and looking forward to seeing where that goes in future book This series is great. I love the way Penny leads us into the psyche of people. Ganache listens. It is how he solves crimes. Gamache also loves people but I think Louise Penny must too. The people of Three Pines are an amazing cast. It makes me yearn for that kind of community. I love Ruth and the Beer Walk really touched me when I learned what it was. The story itself was pretty sad. I am enjoying the foreshadowing about the Arnot case and looking forward to seeing where that goes in future books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    joyce g

    It feels like coming home when you read this second in the Gamache series. Delightful! I would take a few good friends with me to live in Three Pines.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ann Girdharry

    Definitely a top read. This is a really enjoyable, cozy mystery, starring the wonderful Inspector Armand Gamache. In this second book in the series, Gamache and his team and called back to the small village of Three Pines to investigate the murder of CC Poitiers. It’s Christmas time in the quiet Quebec village and everyone is enjoying the festivities and an abundance of food and good will and neighbourly good deeds. The winter landscape plays an important part in the story as they cope with plumm Definitely a top read. This is a really enjoyable, cozy mystery, starring the wonderful Inspector Armand Gamache. In this second book in the series, Gamache and his team and called back to the small village of Three Pines to investigate the murder of CC Poitiers. It’s Christmas time in the quiet Quebec village and everyone is enjoying the festivities and an abundance of food and good will and neighbourly good deeds. The winter landscape plays an important part in the story as they cope with plummeting temperatures and outside conditions which threaten the lives of the frail. We meet the eccentric and wonderfully portrayed characters we met in the first book, plus some newcomers including CC Poitiers, her shy husband and her nervous daughter. When CC Poitiers is murdered on the curling rink the whole village could have been a witness, yet they all claim to have seen nothing. The real stars of this book are the three Graces – three old women who have been friends forever and around whom this mystery seems to revolve. Everyone loves Gamache and is charmed by his calm temperament and determination to find the truth. However, there is a background mystery rumbling around, to do with an old case (the Arnot case) which keeps surfacing in this book but is never explained. Gamache is implicated and members of Gamache’s team are also implicated in this case, which involved corrupt officers. I expect more will be revealed in later books in this series. The quality of the writing is great, and so is the atmosphere and the plot. (The only tiny thing which didn’t suit me were the massive amounts of food and drink which seemed to be in overabundant supply, and the author did rather go on about that and the gourmet food on offer at the local brasserie – still, I know I am being picky when I point this out). A great read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    I enjoyed this one slightly more than the 1st book in the series, and that gives me hope for the rest of them! I find the stories to be slightly outlandish, but the characters and setting are charming. They have a bit more depth than usual mystery/thrillers. I'm curious to see where the stories go as one town can't possibly keep getting hit with so many murders and not have people questioning living there? Nonetheless, a fun cozy mystery that fleshes out the characters more as it goes along and I enjoyed this one slightly more than the 1st book in the series, and that gives me hope for the rest of them! I find the stories to be slightly outlandish, but the characters and setting are charming. They have a bit more depth than usual mystery/thrillers. I'm curious to see where the stories go as one town can't possibly keep getting hit with so many murders and not have people questioning living there? Nonetheless, a fun cozy mystery that fleshes out the characters more as it goes along and has a compelling case! 3.5 stars

  27. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    3.5 stars. The 2nd in the Gamache series did not get quite as high praise as the first, but I will continue with this series. I think this one bogged down a bit for me and perhaps since the victim was not very likable I am not sure I was as invested in finding out "who dunnit". That said, I love Gamache and his team. I love the way he methodically plods to the conclusion and I try to figure the mystery out right along with him. This one came to me rather early but I could not figure out all th 3.5 stars. The 2nd in the Gamache series did not get quite as high praise as the first, but I will continue with this series. I think this one bogged down a bit for me and perhaps since the victim was not very likable I am not sure I was as invested in finding out "who dunnit". That said, I love Gamache and his team. I love the way he methodically plods to the conclusion and I try to figure the mystery out right along with him. This one came to me rather early but I could not figure out all the how? Also love the quirky characters of Three Pines...but I wonder how many murders can take place there?? I am unsure if all the books are set there or not? I very much like that we continued to get a bit more insight into these characters and they are developing more depth and past history. This makes me want to return. A delightful mystery for a cold wintry weekend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    It took a little while to get started, but what a great finish! I really enjoyed the second in the Inspector Gamache series. The village of Three Pines and all its inhabitants comes alive under the pen of Louise Penny. I'm also enjoying getting to know not only Gamache, but all of his team. The villagers and the team are all recurring characters. Many are quirky and odd, which makes me like them even more. I'll definitely be continuing with this series. Penny understands a great breadth of human It took a little while to get started, but what a great finish! I really enjoyed the second in the Inspector Gamache series. The village of Three Pines and all its inhabitants comes alive under the pen of Louise Penny. I'm also enjoying getting to know not only Gamache, but all of his team. The villagers and the team are all recurring characters. Many are quirky and odd, which makes me like them even more. I'll definitely be continuing with this series. Penny understands a great breadth of human emotion, and it shows in the wide range of her characters. More literary than the typical mystery series, you may be surprised by the emotions elicited by her novels.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ann Girdharry

    Definitely a top read. This is a really enjoyable, cozy mystery, starring the wonderful and ethical Inspector Armand Gamache. In this second book in the series, Gamache and his team and called back to the small village of Three Pines to investigate the murder of CC Poitiers. It’s Christmas time in the quiet Quebec village and everyone is enjoying the festivities and an abundance of food and good will and neighbourly good deeds. The winter landscape plays an important part in the story as they co Definitely a top read. This is a really enjoyable, cozy mystery, starring the wonderful and ethical Inspector Armand Gamache. In this second book in the series, Gamache and his team and called back to the small village of Three Pines to investigate the murder of CC Poitiers. It’s Christmas time in the quiet Quebec village and everyone is enjoying the festivities and an abundance of food and good will and neighbourly good deeds. The winter landscape plays an important part in the story as they cope with plummeting temperatures and outside conditions which threaten the life of the frail. We meet the eccentric and wonderfully portrayed characters we met in the first book, plus some newcomers including CC Poitiers, her shy husband and her nervous daughter. When CC Poitiers is murdered on the curling rink, one wintry morning, the whole village could have been a witness, yet they all claim to have seen nothing. The real stars of this book are the three Graces – three old women who have been friends forever and around whom this mystery seems to revolve. Everyone loves Gamache and is charmed by his calm temperament and determination to find the truth. However, there is a background mystery rumbling around, to do with an old case (the Arnot case) which keeps surfacing in this book but is never explained. Gamache is implicated and members of Gamache’s team are also implicated in this case, which involved corrupt officers. I expect more will be revealed in later books in this series. The quality of the writing is great, as is the atmosphere and the plot. (The only tiny thing which didn’t suit me were the massive amounts of food and drink which seemed to be in overabundant supply, and the author did rather go on about that aspect and the gourmet food on offer at the local brasserie – still, I know I am being picky when I point this out).

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Welcome to Three Pines, a small-town community in Québec. Problems gravitate to this tight-knit hamlet along with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a member of the Sûreté. Once again, a woman was murdered and he was called in to locate the culprit. His team assisted him. I observed Inspector Beauvoir in action and learned a little more of his inner thoughts. Agent Lacoste returned to locate necessary facts about the case. Robert Lemieux, who made a brief show in the first story, entered the fold. Welcome to Three Pines, a small-town community in Québec. Problems gravitate to this tight-knit hamlet along with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, a member of the Sûreté. Once again, a woman was murdered and he was called in to locate the culprit. His team assisted him. I observed Inspector Beauvoir in action and learned a little more of his inner thoughts. Agent Lacoste returned to locate necessary facts about the case. Robert Lemieux, who made a brief show in the first story, entered the fold. And the strange Yvette Nichol was back. Mother Bea, Kaye and Em and their relationship with the victim, CC Poitier, appeared to be the center of A Fatal Grace. CC: a woman that was selfish, abusive and just plain mean-spirited. She was someone you wouldn't want as your neighbor and yet she bought the one available home house that was up for sale for a cheap price in Three Pines. I have to comment on several things. First of all, the cold. It is safe to say that the author understood a wickedly fierce winter and, in an indirect manner, her descriptions of the fiendish algidity matched the victim. Gamache was coughing and trying to catch his breath. It was like inhaling acid. Beauvoir didn't know what was worse, the shriek of the alarm or the shriek of the ground as though the earth itself was crying out in pain with every step they took. Then there was the way CC was murdered; it was different than anything I have read before. Kudos to Ms. Penny for an ingenious idea. I enjoyed witnessing cracks in several relationships amongst the townspeople; it made an interesting human relationship spin. Food was mentioned because everyone likes to eat, right? Strong coffee with brunch, buttered croissants and wedges of cheese, thick soup with rolls and dessert...food served a purpose: love -or lack of it- and energy. A Fatal Grace had a few bumps and lumps, some areas that drifted (no pun intended!) and several subplots that I am sure will come to fruition in other stories. I look forward to visiting with Armand again.

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