Jan 20, 12
Read in January, 2012
I'm picky about the mysteries I read. I'm not a reader who reads mainly for plot, which is the main point of mysteries in many ways. I read for character, and often find that mysteries feel thin to me. This book was pressed on me by a friend, and because she'd recommended another mystery series that I love (the Maisie Dobbs series), I was willing to give this a shot even though it took me a while to get into this book. The main character here may actually be the (fictional) village of the setting, Three Pines, though it is a town full of wonderful characters, and the Chief Inspector and his team who come to investigate a murder there are also intriguing characters, though they are still more opaque to me than the villagers.
I like how this is set in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, a place I had heard of but know little about, a mostly Anglo-Canadian enclave in the midst of Quebec. Louise Penny has a fine eye for the subtle places where the cultures rub along together well and where they hit snags. I also loved how the author gradually lets us in deeper and deeper into the characters and their lives and how I found myself at some point suspecting nearly all of them, at least for a moment. It was done with a very light hand, so it didn't feel manipulative at all. I also liked that she hinted at the Chief Inspector having already had a lengthy career, and despite his current stature, one that had had both victories and failures, as most people's careers do.
I will definitely read more in this series.