A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny, New York : St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007.

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

Three Pines is a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers all know each other and preparation for a traditional county Christmas are underway.    CC de Potiers had her own reasons for moving to Three Pines, but during her short time there she had not made any friends. Instead, she seems to go out of her way to piss everyone off but it’s for their own good after all, since CC knows best.  So when CC dies in the middle of the annual curling tournament, it’s comes as no surprise that few are sad about it.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate even though he’s not completely over the confrontation that happened the last time he was investigating in Three Pines.  Amazingly, the investigation reveals that CC was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of a village of witnesses, and yet no one saw a thing.  It would take utter brilliance or complete insanity to try such a complicated and mind-boggling method of murder.

In this second novel of the Inspector Gamache or Three Pines mystery series by Louise Penny, we dig beneath the idyllic surface of village life and into the secrets long ago buried.  Through the Quebec winter, Gamache must face the bitter winds to find the hidden under layers of some of the long-time residents of Three Pines: Bea, Kaye and Emilie, as well as CC’s husband and daughter, Crie, and the photographer working for CC who was talking photos the day of the murder, oh, and was the man CC had been having an affair with.

Inspector Gamache is a wonderful, strong investigator who is both even-tempered and determined to do right by the dead.  Struggling with the repercussions from the first Gamache novel, “Still Life,” he juggles the politics within the police force and the need to do right by those impacted by CC and her murder.  As characters continue to help and hinder the investigation, Gamache fluidly navigates the mysteries and obstacles thrown his way.  A great character to follow onto his next investigations!

Susana Goldman is the Interim Director of the Alamance County Public Library.  She can be reached at (336) 290-8679 or sgoldman@alamancelibraries.org.