Twig (plantgirl) wrote in stackofbooks,
Twig
plantgirl
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Three Pines mystery series

It's been a while since I've discovered any new mystery series that I liked enough to dive into. This discovery happened because friend the 1st insisted friend the 2nd read a book that friend the 1st had just read & loved. Sadly, friend the 2nd doesn't much care for mysteries, but when he was done I scooped up the book & read it. I was conflicted, but I liked the book enough that I went to the library for the next title in the series - it at least deserved that much more attention. By the end of that month I had read 5 of the 6 titles that currently make up the series.

What's the series? The Three Pines/Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, by Louise Penny. They are mostly set in the small town of Three Pines, a bit out of Montreal.

The conflict: Penny's writing has some significant weaknesses. There are places where sentences are constructed poorly enough to jar me out of the story, or words slightly misused. Things that someone who is not a pedant might not notice, but that drive me batty.

So why do I like the books? It's the sort of small-town community & setting for which I have a gross weakness. Some of her characters are oddly compelling. Most of her characters turn out to be much more complex than they originally seem. Penny is good at allowing people both light & dark sides. And her plots are relatively well done. I've read a lot of mysteries. I'm at the point where I'm thinking of giving them up because it's hard to find plots where I don't know whodunit pretty quickly into the book. Penny is good at setting up enough probable suspects that I couldn't figure things out right away. That's a novel experience for me (hyuck hyuck).

So here's hoping that Louise Penny gets a better editor, & if you like small-town mysteries with eclectic characters & a psychological/dark edge, give 'em a try. The first title in the series is Still Life, followed by A Fatal Grace.
Tags: books, mysteries, reviews, series
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