Fran T. (San Diego, CA)
A Trick of the Light--not your typical "Cozy"
A Trick of the Light is the first of Louise Penny's mysteries which I have read. I selected this book because I love mysteries and I was well aware of all the awards and accolades which Louise Penny has received. Now I understand indeed why she has garnered such high praise. Her stories rise to a much higher level than simply a cozy mystery. Her characters are complex mixtures of light and dark
as all real human beings are--but many characters in novels are not. In addition to being so conscious of human psychology, Louise Penny writes in an appealing and yet cerebral style. She and the best of her characters, particularly Chief Inspector Gamache, are deeply introspective and philosophical. The denouement of this novel, in my opinion, is amazing. As Hercule Poirot did in Christie's stories, Gamache assembles all the major players and reveals the murderer. But Gamache is far more broadly intelligent and humane than Poirot ever was. As he reveals the solutions of the mysteries, he also reveals his knowledge of and compassion for all the major characters in this novel--their strengths and weaknesses. Louise Penny, through Gamache, shows us some of her thoughts about life--the giving and receiving of forgiveness, wanting peace more than pain and never giving up on hope.
I now intend to go back, so to speak, and read all of Penny's previous mystery novels with the consciousness that her writing is superb and that the questions she raises about life are deep.
Carolyn D. (Chico, CA)
Murder (again) in Three Pines!
A good read! Penny's fans know what to expect from the series and all moving parts are well-oiled and performing as they should. The book is well plotted and the clues are all well (and deftly) planted. I did not find the victim as compelling as others in the series have been. Penny has given herself a real challenge keeping a tiny town with a minute population fresh and new. We know the usual suspects so well that we can kind of finish their sentences for them by now. But I still love them and there is certainly plenty going on to move the book and the series along smartly.
Kristina G. (Aiken, SC)
A Trick of the Light
Wow! What a great surprise - in addition to being a well-written murder mystery, this book has humor, information on the art world, and a bit of French. The characters are real, flawed, and believable. The author ties the ending together neatly in a way that made sense. Very readable!
Karen M. (Great Falls, VA)
Excellent Mystery in the Agatha Christie Tradition
We have a cozy village tucked away where it cannot be found on any map and where murder is always afoot. We have the Chief Inspector Gamache, a loveable, brilliant, renaissance man, with keen insight into the hearts of people. And we have a village full of eccentrics who return to enchant in nearly every novel. Trick of the Light is the seventh book in Louise Penny’s award-winning series. I’d plan on sitting down and reading this book in one sitting. It’s quick-paced, well-plotted and clever in its’ twists and turns. It’s rare that I solve the “who-done-it” puzzle before the Chief Inspector and his team.
I have to admit that I am always a bit sad when the book is finished and I have to leave the world that Penny has created. Strong, original and fully developed characters are her strong suit. She also writes with great intelligence and passion. Her books contain alot of research and information. Often when solving the murder, we may also learn about the indigenous tribes of Canada, the stolen artworks of Eastern Europe, or the importance in Quebec’s history of Samuel de Champlain and his missing body. In this book, the struggles, jealousies, and triumphs of the tight art community in Quebec are our education.
If you are new to this author, I’d start with the first book, the award-winning Still Life. In addition to the murder plot central to the novel, in each subsequent book Penny continues story lines from previous books. Starting at the beginning helps put certain revelations about a character in context.
For more on her awards, kudos, and book tour, visit www.louisepenny.com.
Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)
A Trick of the Light
Thank you for introducing me to Louise Penny through your First Impression Program. A Trick of the Light is the 7th Inspector Gamache mystery and the first that I read. Like a gracious and welcoming community, the novel’s characters came to life within the book and I found myself deeply interested in their dreams, misgivings, hopes and fears. Through the storyline of a solving a murder mystery, the reader learns about the community of artists, critics and gallery owners. Running throughout the storyline are the challenges faced by addicts and recovering addicts. The story is well paced, with multiple plot twists to keep the reader thoroughly engaged. The story is entertaining and informative and the writing is exceptional. I will now hunt down Ms. Penny’s older books and anxiously await her next book. Thank you again for the introduction.
Hilary H. (Tucson, AZ)
Louise Penny has done it again
The Armand Gamache series has been consistently strong - writing, characters, sense of place whether Montreal, Quebec City or Three Pines. These books have delightful people whose lives you care about. I found that I was a couple of books behind in the series so I read #5 & 6 before A Trick of the Light. Armand Gamache is a very different sort of Detective Inspector - he is and has been a strong mentor for his staff. He has a solid marriage. In the books just before this one, there was a major incident that he and his second, Beauvoir, are still trying to recover from. The incident continues to play a major role in the story while the focus is on one of Three Pines’ residents, Clara, who has finally had her solo art show and yet of course a body appears in the garden. The books do stand alone but you will miss a great deal if you don’t devour all of them in order. Bring on #8.
Susan Q. (East Williston, NY)
I haven't read any books by Louise Penny, but after reading A Trick of Light I will look for more of her books. I like mysteries and this book was exactly what I was looking for. I can usually predict the outcome of a story, but was pleasantly surprised that I didn't figure the ending out until the end...the way it's supposed to be!