I enjoy books that keep you guessing, keep you changing your choice of killers, and then surprises you at the very end.
A TRICK OF THE LIGHT by Louise Penny is a book like that. There are numerous suspects, each with strong motives and ample opportunity. Just when you decide on one suspect, a new lead is revealed that takes you in another direction.
Artist Clara Morrow finally has a solo show at the famed Musee in Montreal. All of the right people from the art world are there. Afterwards, a private party is held in Three Pines, the village were Clara and her husband Peter live. But Clara’s joy is short-lived when a body is found in her garden the next morning. To complicate matters, the body is that of Clara’s childhood friend Lillian Dyson. The two had a bitter falling out years before when Lillian wrote a horrid review of Clara’s work which almost caused her to quit painting.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec homicide unit and his team are called in to investigate. Gamache and his second-in-command, Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir, are very familiar with Three Pines and its villagers. As the team begins to investigate the death and life of Lillian Dyson, they learn more about the art world and how Alcoholic Anonymous plays a role in the tragedy.
While Lillian’s murder takes center stage in this book, there are several sub-plots that are superbly woven in. There was a police tragedy the previous year that weighs heavily on Gamache and Beauvoir for different reasons. A TRICK OF THE LIGHT deals with the contrast between not only good and evil, but between forgetting and forgiving and hope and fear.
One of my favorite characters could be considered a minor player, Ruth Zardo. Ruth, the crusty and loud poet with a heart of gold. Ruth, who talks brassy and crude to cover that her heart is broken and lonely.
Author Louise Penny’s writing is fluent, almost mesmerizing. She holds you transfixed with her descriptions of Three Pines, its people and those who come to visit. She has created a quaint village with a serene landscape. Three Pines isn’t on any map, but is found by those who need to be there.
The narration by Ralph Cosham is like delectable icing on a triple chocolate cake. Listeners quickly become immersed in the world of Three Pines as Cosham’s soothing, yet commanding, voice brings the French accents to life.
A TRICK OF THE LIGHT is the 7th installment in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, but is a stand alone book. Penny delivers a moving end to this book while continuing the story.
Author Louise Penny’s website is www.louisepenny.com
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Read by Ralph Cosham, Macmillan Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1-4272-1320-4, 10 Discs, Listening Time: 13 Hours
FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this audio book and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. A special thanks to Margot Kinberg at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...for pointing me in the direction of this great find.