And at the center of each of Penny's novels is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache tasked with solving the crime. A mystery series rises or falls based on its lead detective and Armand Gamache with his dedication to justice, knowledge of history, the arts, human psychology, kind but tough when he needs to be is definitely a detective worth following.
Thursday, September 14, 2023
A Trick of The Light by Louise Penny
And so when A Trick of The Light begins one of the local residents of Three Pines, Clara Morrow, is experiencing a moment she has dreamed of all her life. Clara's artwork is having a solo showing at a very prestigious museum in Montreal. After the exhibit there is a party at Clara's home and all of Clara's neighbors are there and art critics and gallery owners as well.
Peter, Clara's husband, is happy for his wife's success but he's conflicted. It's understandable in that Peter is an artist too and he feels some jealousy that his artwork which supported both he and Clara throughout their marriage is seen as good but not great. Peter would have liked his own solo exhibit and he feels bad that he is thinking this way.
But before the issues between Clara and Peter can be dealt with they are quickly overshadowed the morning after the party when a dead woman is discovered in Clara's garden. She was killed the night of the party but by who and why? And Clara knows the dead woman, Lillian Dyson, her childhood friend. Clara and Lillian were as close as could be as children but had a major falling out in college. They haven't seen or spoken to each other since. Lillian would go on to be an art critic known for her vicious reviews which could and did destroy people's careers and so the list of suspects is long.
A Louise Penny's novel usually has more than one storyline going and A Trick of The Light is no exception. Book six of the series, Bury Your Dead, recounted a terrible police raid that ended in tragedy. The police were ambushed, young officers died and Armand Gamache and his first lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir were badly injured. Gamache is still trying to recover emotionally and deal with survivor's guilt and he is making progress. But Jean-Guy Beauvior never one to share his feelings is doing poorly and is using opiods to deal with his lingering physical and emotional pain.
So I plan before the year ends to read book eight and maybe even squeeze in book nine in this series. I am eager to find out what is next in store for Armand Gamache, Jean Guy Beauvoir, Clara, Peter and all of the fascinating residents of Three Pines who make this series such a delight.