Anne's Reviews > A Trick of the Light

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
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's review
May 26, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: mysteries-thrillers
Read in May, 2012

What Louise Penny does is create a small, intimate world, while creating a sense of place so pervasive you feel you know it. Canada is rarely featured in best-selling books, and to have it so celebrated is wonderful. It is Quebec, to be sure, but the Quebec of Anglo-culture, and so, it is the Canadian Quebec.

Most powerful, for me, is the way she builds quiet characters of amazing strength and depth. These are not cartoon-brilliant people. They are, for the most part, fully-fleshed out, but rather ordinary people, for and around whom extraordinary events take place. I cared about them.

And I love how she handles food. She herself talks about how the murder is really a conceit for the characters to reveal themselves - and their relationships. I think she has achieved this, and taken the mystery well beyond the procedural or the two-dimensional world of so many modern mysteries.

She also has a reporter's eye for the compelling detail, and this effort, the research that has gone into the books, keep them from being too precious. There is a dense strong realism undergirding the story line. And she knows how to dose out the story, to keep you engaged.

I also love the poet, the Ruth character, and her arc, through all the books, is amazing. As a reader, I at first disliked her, but she grew on me. I am not an expert, but Ruth's poetry resonates for me, I found it compelling, really powerful. I wish Penny would publish a book of poems by Ruth.

I am looking forward to A Beautiful Mystery. Really.
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