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Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.

No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?

With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.

311 pages, Hardcover

First published September 30, 2006

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About the author

LOUISE PENNY is the author of the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling series of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (seven times), and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise lives in a small village south of Montréal.

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5 stars
36,090 (33%)
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49,694 (46%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,393 reviews
Profile Image for Rick Riordan.
Author 335 books397k followers
December 25, 2021
I was surprised and delighted to find myself back in the village of Three Pines for the second Gamache mystery. I had assumed the quaint and tiny community in the Quebec Eastern Townships would be a one-off setting for Gamache's inaugural adventure, since he is charged with solving crimes all over the province. After all, how many murders can one village have? Apparently, a few! I don't know about the villagers, but I was delighted to return for another homicide.

In Penny's second mystery, we are introduced to the odious C.C. de Poitiers, a woman so vile and insufferable no one is sorry when she is electrocuted in a freakish "accident" during a Christmas curling match at Three Pines. Of course, the accident turns out to be no accident at all, and there are so many people who detested C.C., Gamache will have his hands full sorting through all the potential suspects.

Returning to Three Pines a year after his first case there, Gamache (and the readers) become reacquainted with the town's wonderful cast of characters, who now feel like old friends. We find out more about Gamache's own troubled past, especially the mysterious "Arnot case" which made him a pariah among the brass at the Police Sûreté, and we are pulled deeper into the overarching series plot of how Gamache will (or may not) survive the inter-departmental politics and the plotting of his enemies who want to bring him down. Even among his colleagues, Gamache is surrounded by potential suspects. The characters are lovingly crafted and oh so human. The atmosphere is appealing and tinted with the colors of nostalgia. The plot pulled me along and kept me up reading way too late. Needless to say, I bought the next books in the series right away.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
525 reviews56.7k followers
January 7, 2022
(2.5) I was warned that the first two books in this series were rough and to start with book three. I'm stubborn so I didn't.

I love the small village vibes, I love a lot of the characters there, the main Inspector and the French Canadian bits made me feel at home.

I struggled with this book so much because of the rest. Most of the characters are REALLY unlikeable (and that's coming from someone who loves those!). The fatphobia was INTENSE. The murder mystery was underwhelming but at least it's a quick read.

I want to believe the series does in fact get better but it will probably take me quite a while to pick up the next book.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
934 reviews17.6k followers
January 15, 2023
Louise Penny is a Supernova in the Canadian literary firmament. And her warmth and human compassion is especially endearing, as is her supercharged inspiration in concocting such an endlessly labyrinthine structure for her book.

Her writing is excellent. And enchanting.

I loved it.

But why do its premises draw me into a dangerously dead-ended pattern of thinking?

Let me explain.

Isn’t this yet another return to the flawed Golden Age Theory? The novel is great, but this idea bugs me.

The mythical Québec village of Three Pines, with its country-club coziness among the chief residents, nestled as it is so quaintly in the Eastern Townships, is an Eldorado which calls out to principal players like Gamache, CC, and Saul to rest in its eternal Shangri-la - like the island of the Lotus Eaters in Homer.

It’s the Sunset World of Trungpa’s classic Shambhala. A place of moral entropy. Welcome to the Hotel California!

And in the master’s chambers
They all gather for the Feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill the Beast.

The beast is never a stranger here. For a foggy moral cloud hangs over Three Pines, and murderous evil always returns, unseen.

Oh, there indeed is rest here, though - a bit, and some stupor too. But there is no clear-eyed judgement on the part of the residents.

It’s a lot like one of those Florida senior villages, where the staff always tries to shut out all the nasty shadows of life.

But life’s shadows are an essential part of relishing the refreshment of clear sunlight - there... and here.

And double toil and trouble for all the villagers, as a result. And Gamache too, God bless’m!

They have no ethical vigor, as Poirot and Miss Marple once had in ABUNDANCE!

And so must pay the piper.

For -

Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow...

The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

THAT is the Real Three Pines. A lot like a “happy” seniors’ home!

So why not call it by its real name?

Well, simple. That would steal all the romance and adventure from Penny’s wonderful plot. And that would be too bad.

So I hope my little wistful Jeremiad doesn’t seem too out of place in a five star review. Cause I really loved the book.

And if you read this book you’ll LOVE it as I did - IF you believe the Shadow ALWAYS haunts us all!
Profile Image for Adina.
780 reviews2,956 followers
March 11, 2018
"So much more comforting to see bad in others; gives us all sorts of excuses for our own bad behavior. But good? No, only really remarkable people see the good in others."

A fatal grace is the 2nd installment in Inspector Armand Gamache cozy mystery series. In Still Life I was introduced to the inspector and his team and fell in love with Three Pines, the little village where the action takes place. Gamache is a chief inspector in the Sûreté du Québec, an honorable and complex character whose main approach to solving a murder is to listen. He has to return to Three Pines after a year and a half in order to solve another murder. This time, one of the most hated villagers is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake during a curling match and nobody seems to have seen anything and at first sight the crime seems impossible.

In this volume I learned more about the personalities of Gamache and his team, about their past and their fears. Also, I enjoyed revisiting some of the villagers from last book: Gabri and Olivier- the heart-warming gay couple, Myrna- the librarian, Ruth - the cranky poet, Clara and Peter - the artists. They all feel like a big family and Gamache is received in with open arms among them due to his pleasant personality.

"Gamache was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms. And make friends with what he found there.And he went into the dark, hidden rooms in the minds of others. The minds of killers. And he faced down whatever monsters came at him. "

The mystery was a bit more complex than last time and although I guessed the murderer from early on I enjoyed the ride and the plot twists. The writing is beautiful, poetic in places, and it managed to transport me to the snow covered Three Pines, a place I plan to revisit soon.

Important! I believe this series should be read in order because we have a lot of personal details from all characters and conflicts that continue in the following volumes, there are references to the previous volumes so they might not be savoured so well read randomly
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,036 reviews2,573 followers
February 27, 2022
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2)
by Louise Penny (Author), Ralph Cosham (Narrator)

A Fatal Grace is the second book I've read in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series and I'm ready for the next book. I thrive on all the snarky, not very nice, snide, inner thoughts of almost everyone. It's stream of consciousness going on from someone, almost all the time. Heck, I may remember a dog or two getting some thoughts in although it could be that I'm just remembering Gamache translating doggie thoughts.

It took a long time for Gamache to make his entrance in this book but I'm getting to know the folks of Three Pines so I enjoy spending time with them, too. I didn't enjoy CC de Poitiers but no one likes CC. She lives in a fake world of delusions of grandeur and any time she can bring someone down, for even the most trivial or no reason, she's going to do it. And now, she has her sights on Three Pines. She plans to make that place hers, and in her mind, she plans to raze all that makes the place amazing.

Something I think is very interesting is that Gamache did something in the past that ended any upward movement of his career. He accepts it and is a very happy guy anyway, either because of or in spite of continuous inner reflection. There is trouble brewing in the future and he knows it. People are scheming to take him down even further than a stalled career. I want to know more and I want to know what Gamache plans to do about it.

Pub in 2014 by Macmillan Audio (first published September 30th 2006)
Profile Image for Susan Anderson.
Author 16 books157 followers
October 2, 2013
Where to begin with all the richness that A FATAL GRACE gave me. Reading it, I wondered how I had lived so long without discovering the work of Louise Penny, a first-rate writer. Her creation in this book is so real, her writing so lyrical, her characters so unique and the book's structure and meaning so complex that I began mumbling to myself, taking my sweet time reading the book in order to savor its mix of flavors, its innuendoes and subtleties, having at times to stop and scratch my head. It hurts me sometimes to have to hunt for meaning, but in this case the reward was worth the pain.

The characters are memorable. I especially liked chief inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie and I loved the painter, Carol, her fragility and her luminous works; the enigmatic figure, Agent Nichol and the bag lady, Elle, and I could hear with Emilie's ears Tchaikovsky's violin concerto in D. I loved Ruth, the drunken and slovenly poet who at one point declares she committed the crime, a total hoot. And of course, the setting, Three Pines, a quaint, snowy village in the Quebec province of the author's imagination.

The book is about the murder by electrocution on Christmas of the despicable C.C. de Poitiers, a character we love to hate. But it is also about the power of words and how they save and how they hurt. And it is about the agony of the people they destroy.

A FATAL GRACE is not for everyone, not an easy read, but it is a fascinating mystery and a work of genius. It kept me guessing until the end. So if you love mystery and rare, rich setting; if you long for unique characters and meaning deep as bones, then don't miss A FATAL GRACE.
Profile Image for Thomas.
691 reviews168 followers
August 17, 2019
4 stars for an entertaining mystery.
I enjoyed reading book 2 in this series, set in the mythical town of Three Pines, Quebec. This town is close to the US border in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec(between the St. Lawrence River and the US Vermont border). Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Homicide Division of the Surete du Quebec, is called to investigate the death of CC de Poitiers, electrocuted in front of an entire village.
He does solve the murder, and connects it with another murder in the city of Montreal, with the help of his dedicated team of excellent investigators. Along the way he uncovers some past secrets, which provide clues to the murders. I previously read book 1 in the series Still Life and recommend that you read it first. Book 1 was recommended by a family member and both my wife and I enjoy this series. There are a couple of characters that my wife really hated in this book. I read this library book in 3 days.
One quote:
"Because Armand Gamache knew something many of his colleagues never figured out. Murder was deeply human, the murdered and the murderer. To describe the murderer as a monstrosity, a grotesque, was to give him an unfair advantage. No. Murderers were human, and at the root of each murder was an emotion. Warped, no doubt. Twisted and ugly. But an emotion."
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,922 reviews10 followers
March 26, 2015
The setup for this book is very long and the main thing the author established was how cruel some characters were and how others were affected by cruelty. This section was so unnecessarily long that I wanted to give up on the book. The only reason I didn't was because I really enjoyed the first book.

The focus of the cruelty was on fat. And for a while it seemed that it was only the characters who were being cruel but then I read this passage about a 12 year old girl.
And beside him an enormous child was wearing a sleeveless sundress of the brightest pink. Her underarms bulged and flopped and the rolls of her waist made the skintight dress look like a melting strawberry ice cream. It was grotesque.

This is the author's description, not a characters. And to me it makes the author more grotesque than any 12 year old child could be. The fat comments tapered off after this but the damage has been done. I don't think I could continue to read an author who would use such strong terms to describe an abused child. It's grotesque.
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,121 followers
September 11, 2015
Have you ever been so dam cold that you could hardly move your frozen lips to talk? Having grown up in Michigan amidst many a freezing winter days, I have, and in A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny truly brings a chilling winter alive making the reader feel you are at the enchanted snowy village of Three Pines in Quebec.

In book two, there's another murder to solve for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his crew as the repulsively cruel CC De Poitiers is no more. Deliberately electrocuted, the villagers almost seem to be celebrating that the monster is dead and for good reason, but her death is linked

I am so enjoying this series and look forward to reading the next nine. Highly recommend if you're in the mood for a fast easy-to-read crime-mystery with well-developed recurring characters (each with their own secrets) that you get to know better with each installment.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
April 15, 2022
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2), Louise Penny

A Fatal Grace is the second Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mystery set in the stunning countryside of Quebec. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Quebec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. ...

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوازدهم ماه آوریل سال2022میلادی

عنوان: سرنوشت مرگبار‏‫؛ نویسنده: لوئیز پنی‬‏‫؛ مترجم: ندا افرغ‬‏‫؛ ویراستار: زهرا تقی‌زاده؛ تهران، انتشارات اریش؛ سال1400؛ در453ص؛ شابک97896226712347؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان کانادا - سده21م‬

کتاب سرنوشت مرگبار داستان زنی به نام «سی‌ سی» است؛ زنی بی‌نهایت سلطه‌گر و توانمند؛ نه‌ تنها هماره همسرش را کنترل می‌کند، دخترش را هم برای اضافه وزن کوچک می‌شمارد و اجازه نمی‌دهد او آواز بخواند، او مدیر یک موسسه به نام «آرام‌ باش» است و زندگی‌ای پنهانی دارد. او معشوقی دارد که با او در ارتباط است، و این مرد را هم کنترل می‌کند؛ مرد می‌داند کنترل می‌شود، و سعی می‌کند خودش را آزاد نگاه‌ دارد، یا گاه و بی‌گاه به طعنه و تحقیر رفتار «سی سی» را تلافی کند؛ اما داستان کتاب از جایی آغاز می‌شود که «سی سی» کشته میشود...؛

نقل از متن: («سائول» متوجه شد «سی‌ سی» کتابش را با ظرافتی بیش از هر زمانی که به «سائول» توجه می‌کرد، در بغل گرفته است؛ با خود فکر کرد: یعنی سردی درونِ «سی‌ سی» به درون او هم نفوذ کرده؟، شاید؛ زمان عشق‌ بازی داشت به‌ آرامی منجمدش می‌کرد؛ همین حالا هم نمی‌توانست بدن خودش را حس کند، احساس سردی می‌کرد؛ در پنجاه‌ و دو سالگی، «سائول» تازه داشت می‌فهمید که دیگر دوستانش مثل قبل، خیلی با استعداد و باهوش و خوش‌اندام نیستند؛ در واقع، بیشتر آنها حوصله‌ اش را سر می‌بردند، حتی بعضی‌هایشان موقع حرف زدن، خمیازه می‌کشیدند؛ آنها روز به‌ روز چاق‌تر و کچل‌تر و خنگ‌تر می‌شدند؛ شک کرد، که خودش هم دارد شبیه آنها می‌شود؛ فکر کرد که چه بهتر! چون دیگر زن‌ها کمتر به او توجه می‌کنند، یا اینکه دیگر به این نتیجه می‌رسد، که چوب‌های اسکی‌اش را _که با آنها تمام سراشیبی روستا را طی می‌کرد_ بفروشد، و یا برای اولین آزمایش پروستاتش نزد دکتری برود؛ «سائول» همه ی آنها را قبول داشت، اما چیزی که هر روز ساعت دو نیمه‌ شب، او را از خواب بیدار می‌کرد، و در گوشش می‌خواند، شبیه صدای هشدار به یک بچه بود، که می‌گفت: شیرها زیر تختش زندگی می‌کنند؛ به سائول می‌گفت: تو دیگر برای مردم آدم کسل‌ کننده‌ ای هستی؛ از خانه بیرون رفت، و نفس‌های پر از غم و گرفته‌ اش را، در هوای شب بیرون داد، و نسیم خنک را به داخل ریه‌ هایش فرو برد؛ کوشید به خودش قوّت قلب بدهد که خمیازه‌ های خفه‌ کننده از شامی که با هم خوردند، به‌ خاطر شراب است، یا حتی از گوشت اردک، یا از گرمای رستوران مونترال، که مثل ژاکت بزرگ زمستانی، به دورش پیچیده شده بود، اما هنوز صدای ناله‌ های شب، خطرهای پیش رو را، هشدار می‌دادند؛ خطرهایی مثل مصیبت‌های قریب‌ الوقوع، داستان‌های طویل و دراز، مراقبت‌های کوتاه‌ مدت، چشم‌های سفید زیادی بودند که او را نظاره می‌کردند، نگاه‌های کوتاه، سریع و محتاطانه به ساعت‌ها؛ چه موقع می‌خواهند او را به حال خودش بگذارند؟ از نگاه‌هایی که اتاق را چک می‌کنند، از ناامیدی برای یافتن یک همدمِ همدل؛ تا اینکه اجازه داد «سی‌ سی» به او نزدیک شود، فریبش دهد، و ببلعدش؛ انگار حیوانی که زیر تخش خوابیده بود، بیدار شده، و روی تخت آمده بود؛ «سائول» کم‌ کم فکر کرد، که این زن خودشیفته، بالأخره دست از تسخیرِ همسرش، و حتی آن دختر بیچاره‌ اش برداشته، و حالا می‌خواهد او را تحت سلطه ی خودش درآورد؛ «سائول» از همراهی با او عصبی شد، و به خودش بد و بیراه گفت، البته بیشتر منظورش به «سی‌ سی» بود.)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 25/01/1401 هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Susan - on semi hiatus.
410 reviews109 followers
November 11, 2021
Saving Grace.

This book sealed the deal on my deciding to continue on with the series as I was nicely surprised by the second offering. I wasn’t sure about the first.

While Inspector Gamache took his sweet time making an appearance, I was happily entertained with an abundance of snarky humor. No one was safe from gentle teasing to outright mockery.

Armand Gamache and his cohorts were back in town because of another death in Three Pines. A VERY disagreeable woman was murdered by ‘Electric Chair’. Not just for executioners, this person figured the complicated logistics to carry it out and it was perplexing to all involved.

I learned more about several returning characters along with new ones and I began to appreciate their ticks and nuances as the mystery unfolded.

I was also interested in the continuing story of Gamache’s stalled career. I feel that the surface has been barely scratched in this sub-plot and I’m so curious as to how it will play out.

Taking place at Christmas time, the winter descriptions would make this an excellent holiday read!

I received my electronic copy from Kindle Unlimited.
Profile Image for James Thane.
Author 8 books6,900 followers
January 23, 2015
Louise Penny is a gifted writer who has created in Chief Inspector Armand Gamache a sympathetic protagonist who appeals to large numbers of readers. She has also created a richly-imagined setting in the charming Canadian village of Three Pines, which is located somewhere just south of Montreal. The tiny hamlet is populated by a cast of quirky but mostly lovable characters who spend a lot of time walking through the snow and curling up in front of blazing fires. In doing so, Penny has attracted a legion of enthusiastic readers who, apparently, can hardly wait for each new installment of the series to appear.

This is the second book in the series and the second that I've read, in both cases because the book was selected by one of the book clubs to which I belong. Having done so, I can stand back and dispassionately appreciate Penny's accomplishment; my problem is that this just isn't the sort of book that appeals to me. Inspector Gamache is just a bit too perfect and life in the little snow-globe village of Three Pines is just a bit too saccharine for my taste.

I don't mean that to sound as dismissive as it probably does, and again, I understand that there are large numbers of readers who would love to live in Three Pines, but I'd probably go stark raving mad in less than a week.

In thinking about it, it occurred to me that, on the one hand, you have the world of Three Pines and, on the other, for example, the world of Matthew Scudder's New York City as imagined by Lawrence Block. And it strikes me that, while certainly there would be exceptions to the rule, most of the people who enjoy hanging out in Scudder's New York aren't going to want to spend a lot of time in Gamache's Three Pines, and vice-versa. What it comes down to, I guess, is that I'm just one of those people who would much rather spend a night hanging out with Matt and Mick Ballou, drinking a good Irish whiskey at Grogan's Open House than I would sitting around a pleasant fire at the bistro in Three Pines, drinking a nice hot chocolate.

In this case, a particularly unpleasant woman is murdered in a very complicated and public way while attending a curling match. Sitting at the front of the crowd, the victim stands up, touches the chair in front of her and is promptly electrocuted.

Gamache is called to investigate and soon is digging into the secrets and tangled relationships of the little village that go back for years. At the same time, he is assisting in another totally unrelated murder, that of a street person who is killed in Montreal. All of this occurs in the dead of winter and the weather itself becomes an important factor in the story.

The story takes a number of twist and turns and, again, I can understand its appeal. But I did have a lot of trouble buying into the way the Three Pines murder occurred; it just seemed completely implausible to me and unnecessarily complicated. As one of the characters asked, why go to all that trouble? Why not simply shoot her or something?

In the case of my book club, most of the Louise Penny fans were perfectly happy with the book, while others of us were less enthusiastic. Again, I recognize that Ms. Penny is a very talented writer, but I probably don't need to make a third visit to Three Pines.
Profile Image for Paula K (on hiatus).
414 reviews428 followers
July 17, 2015
Louise Penny is terrific. I'm a big fan of her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. A Fatal Grace, the 2nd of the series, takes a different path from the first book. More emotion, in depth character analysis, and what is perceived and what is really inside peoples minds. Different and beautiful. What wonderful prose. Listening to Ralph Cosham is such a pleasure. I'm only going with the audiobooks because of Cosham's voice and French Canadian accent.

CC de Poitiers, the murder victim, has to be one of the most despicable characters written. She is hated by everyone. What makes this book so much fun is the opinions of the eccentric group of villages from Three Pines who return from the first book. Just delightful!

I first read a more recent Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In. A GR friend (Susan) recommended I start from the beginning and read them all. How fortunate to get such good advice.

Highly recommend.
5 out of 5 stars.
Profile Image for Candi.
599 reviews4,535 followers
November 1, 2018
"The monster’s dead and the villagers are celebrating."

It’s been some time, but I was happy to find myself back in Three Pines, the idyllic little community in Quebec that is peppered with interesting characters, as well as several secrets. CC de Poitiers is fairly new in town, and definitely not a friend to any – not even those who had tried to make an effort to welcome this hateful, self-centered woman. So when she was found murdered in the middle of a curling match, it’s no surprise that the townspeople are not mourning her death; rather there is a celebratory air in the village. Perhaps this is due in part to the approaching Christmas festivities, but certainly the removal of the town ‘bully’ must have something to do with the cheer.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is summoned to assist with the case once again. Most of the residents were pleased to see him return, as was I. He is a charming man, and a fair and honest detective, a crackerjack in his profession.

"Gamache was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms. And make friends with what he found there. And he went into the dark, hidden rooms in the minds of others. The minds of killers. And he faced down whatever monsters came at him."

Along with the folks we met in the last installment, we are introduced to a few more. I liked reacquainting myself with the regulars and popping into the bistro and the cozy little homes again. Louise Penny allows a glimpse of the inner workings of several characters a bit more, and I found this refreshing. I suspect we’ll get to know them even more intimately with the next in the series. Something bigger than just the murder at hand seems to be brewing on the horizon - something with a sinister vibe that does not bode well for Gamache. I felt a little on edge about this! I guess it’s a thread that will perhaps run through the next several books, sort of tying them all together.

I enjoyed Dead Cold , but not quite as much as I did the first, Still Life. The crime in this one was a bit out there, somewhat unbelievable. Regardless, I did have fun arriving at the solution and there was enough here to keep me interested in continuing. 3.5 stars rounded down

"A layer of pure white was both beautiful and dangerous. You never really knew what lurked beneath. A Quebec winter could both enchant and kill."
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,115 reviews1,975 followers
March 6, 2017
Yet another of those books with two titles. A Fatal Grace or Dead Cold. Take your pick.
Anyway whatever it is called it is an excellent book. I hate the cold, but love reading about places where the snow is metres deep and the water freezes on the end of the firemen's hoses as they try to put out a fire. Wow! Also the story takes place at Christmas in a picture perfect town where the snow sparkles in the sun and everyone drinks hot chocolate and eats cookies. What more does a book need?
Actually of course it needs characters and this book does not lack anything in that area. There are characters galore, most of them slightly quirky or even quite outrageous. The main character,Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, is the ultimate in detective fiction heroes. He appears to have no faults and charms everyone he meets. Except for the few who hate him for reasons that are not totally clear yet. I expect to discover more in future books which I am really looking forward to!
Profile Image for Bryn (Plus Others).
1,836 reviews14 followers
January 23, 2023
I realise I am a rare dissenter here, but this book was so awful it made my teeth hurt. It is a book in which the values the story claims to be promoting (compassion, love, generosity, respect for human dignity) are actually entirely undercut by the text itself. I think ten years ago I would have fallen in love with this series, because the lies it tells about doing good and doing evil are told in such pretty prose, with all the symbols of cosiness -- wood fires and snowfall, old friends gathering around candlelit tables, poetry and music and books. But the book itself is false all through.

I am not sure this is a particularly coherent review, but here's a try about my problems with the book:

Profile Image for Matt.
3,618 reviews12.8k followers
October 18, 2018
Louise Penny returns with a second novel in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, just as riveting and captivating as the debut piece that offered the reader so much! While many of the familiar residents of Three Pines are in Montreal to shop for the holiday season, a newer family has begun to set-up some roots of their own in this bucolic town nestled in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. CC de Poitiers heads this family, a woman who takes no prisoners and seeks to crush those in her way, including a timid husband and emotionally abused daughter. CC is talk of the town, though not for anything she has done, even though she’d be happy to espouse her new-age way of living. During his annual Boxing Day Cold Case review, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache explores those cases the Homicide Division of the Sûreté du Québec might have overlooked. Embedded in the piles is a new case, that of a homeless woman who was found murdered just before Christmas. While not known personally to Gamache or his wife, her presence in Montreal’s downtown core could not be missed. When a call interrupts Gamache’s further exploration of the woman’s murder, it’s all hands on deck and back out to Three Pines, a journey about which the Chief Inspector has mixed feelings. When they arrive in one of the surrounding towns, the body of CC de Poitiers has been found, electrocuted. As Gamache and his Sûreté team begin digging through CC’s life, they cannot help but notice the truly Canadian surroundings, for this wretched woman died at a local curling event, having gripped the end of her chair, one that was seemingly attached to a sizeable generator. As Gamache and the others notice the raw distaste that others had for CC, they cannot help but wonder why much of CC’s life cannot be substantiated. Might she have been hiding something bigger, something even more disgusting than the tidbits she puts on display? And what of this vagrant woman that caught Gamache’s attention earlier in the week? All this and much more as Three Pines envelopes Gamache and the reader for another stunning mystery. Highly recommended for those who want a ‘quieter’ murder mystery with tons of Canadiana embedded in the narrative.

I am enjoying the early stages of my Louise Penny binge, having found something that is not only unique, but captivating in its descriptive power. Penny uses not only the peaceful Eastern Townships as her setting, but continues to provide the reader with some great character development of Armand Gamache, a man whose intellect is balanced with a compassionate side. The reader learns a sliver more about his family life, with a loving wife and an extended family who cannot comprehend his need to work so much. This slow reveal, sandwiched between the current cases, keeps me wanting to learn more, yet take a moment to see the protagonist develop before my eyes. Penny continues to explore the larger Sûreté Homicide team, including some quirks in the hierarchy and some new faces, sure to stir the pot in ways that might not have been expected in such a quaint novel. It is the collection of Three Pines locals who steal the show—as I was told they would by the friend who recommended this series—with their acerbic wit and jabs at one another. This patchwork quilt of personalities keeps the story from getting too dreary, though Penny does offer much in the way of backstory and character development, such that I am going to have to keep things straight to learn all their nuances. The story moves well in this piece, with a few moments of chronological disorder to lay some of the groundwork for the murder and how CC could be so horrid a woman. Penny ensures the reader is in the middle of the investigation, watching Gamache’s mind spin as more information comes to light at key moments in the narrative. I am well on my way to a successful binge, with a new novel set to come out soon. Bring on more Penny and keep them coming!

Kudos, Madam Penny, for intriguing me greatly. I am eager to see what else you have in store for this series.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Beata.
701 reviews1,061 followers
December 5, 2018
What can I say? Can't add much to thousands or readers praising this series .... One thing is certain, A Fatal Grace left me wanting to read next instalments.
Profile Image for Lewis Weinstein.
Author 9 books486 followers
September 5, 2012
I started reading this book immediately after finishing Still Life, with high expectations. At first, I was disappointed. The initial chapters seemed to lose the edge established by the prior book, the returning characters from the village of Three Pines seemed far less interesting than before.

Then Inspector Gamache came on the scene, late in my judgment, but once he made his appearance, the story took off, with an accelerating pace that lasted all the way through. The Three Pines characters, now seen through Gamache's eyes and not forced to make it on their own, regained their gloss. The plot is more than a little bizarre, and not quite believable in all aspects, but so what. It's a ripping story, thoroughly enjoyable.

And author Penny clearly lays the basis for further intrigue in the career of Inspector Gamache, finally explaining the case that happened before Still Life and letting us know why there are some in the Sûreté who are out to get him.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,092 followers
December 27, 2013
Myrna looked out the window and wondered whether their peace, so fragile and precious, was about to be shattered. Since CC de Poitiers had arrived there'd been a gathering gloom over their little community. She'd brought something unsavory to Three Pines, in time for Christmas.

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It is Christmas in Three Pines- and once again Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his team are called to investigate another murder...

No one liked CC de Poitiers – not her daughter, not her husband, not her lover, and certainly not her neighbors. So when Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate CC’s death on the day after Christmas- in the midst of a curling match- he has plenty of suspects, but apparently even though she was killed with the entire town present...no one saw a thing.

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A FATAL GRACE is a marvelous mystery in the classic Agatha Christie style... and Tis the season for a marvelous mystery! Isn't it?

Profile Image for Brina.
876 reviews4 followers
August 15, 2022
I’m on summer vacation and decided to raid the local library for paperbacks. It happens that my parents’ suburb is home to one of the best public libraries in the country. For book lovers, walking into this library is a beautiful experience. Books upon books upon. I save the hard to get books for the times when I am visiting because the collection is that expansive. This time around, I wasn’t looking for obscure or even an unknown author. I needed comfort reading and grabbed the first mystery series I could find. Although I am well behind many in reading Louise Penny’s series, i enjoyed my first visit to Three Pines making this an easy choice for vacation reading.

I have finished up my two go to detective series and have been looking for a long running one for awhile now. Armand Gamanche and his cast of characters of Three Pines, Quebec fit the bill. There is the psychological aspect of determining the murderer and motive for committing a crime while also immersing oneself in scintillating scenery and getting to know the personas over the course of this series. I had already gotten to know most of the recurring characters in Penny’s introductory book but she builds layers to their characterizations in this second installment. Maybe because he speaks French but Armand Gamache in figuring out clues before his team of detectives reminds me of a modern Hercule Poirot. It is a stretch to compare the two, but the character has captivated me enough to make Gamache my next long running detective series. The scenery enough merits a role as a supporting character, one that wants me to keep coming back for more.

With a cast of recurring quirky characters who make the town bistro the center of their lives, I have a feeling I will be back in Three Pines for the long haul. In this second installment the town “witch”’is murdered. No one seems to have sympathy and is happy to see her gone but Gamache and his team are dispatched nonetheless to find the murderer. While the deceased CC de Poitiers sounds like a real nasty person but I’m interested in seeing her murderer brought to justice nonetheless. Gamache has a mind for crime and one can sense that he is brilliant. He doesn’t put himself above the townspeople and engages them all in his cases. Even in this second case one senses that Gamache will be returning to Three Pines many times going forward. I know I will and I’ll not be waiting until I go to an out of town library until I read the next installment.

4 stars
Profile Image for Heidi The Reader.
1,367 reviews1,414 followers
March 5, 2019
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache solves more murders while surrounded by the sparkling personalities that compose the small town of Three Pines in Canada.

Nobody likes the victim of the murder, which makes the job harder for Gamache. As a reader, I was cheering for Gamache to solve the crime, but not because of the unlikeable CC de Poiters. She was as different a character from the victim of the first book, Jane, as you could possibly be.

I wonder if Louise Penny's editors said, 'Give us another cozy murder, but different.' Well, she delivered.

"Anything CC didn't like didn't exist. That included her husband and daughter. It included any unpleasantness, any criticism, any harsh words not her own, any emotions. CC lived, Saul knew, in her own world, where she was perfect, where she could hide her feelings and hide her failings. He wondered how long before that world would explode." pg 11, ebook

Meanwhile, a storm is brewing at Gamache's headquarters because of fall out from the mysterious Arnot case (which the reader first read about in the last book and finally gets to learn about in this one).

"Only fools underestimated (Gamache), but Brault knew the service was full of fools. Fools with power, fools with guns. The Arnot case had proved that beyond a doubt. And had almost destroyed the large, thoughtful man in front of him." pg 57, ebook

We are also treated to more background on some of my favorite characters from the last book, Clara and Myrna, plus poetry from the irascible Ruth.

Well, all children are sad
but some get over it.
Count your blessings. Better than that,
buy a hat. Buy a coat or pet.
Take up dancing to forget.
pg 39, ebook.

I like that Penny is developing these characters. They're not just stuck in a time or place, unmoving and stiff. For example, Clara and Peter, her husband, are still fighting, but about different subjects now than from the last book. How very realistic for a married couple.

"When my death us do part
Then shall forgiven and forgiving meet again,
Or will it be, as always was, too late?"
pg 61, ebook.

And it's simply a treat to follow Gamache around and listen to his inner voice. He's sensitive and kind, smart and intuitive. He also likes good food and drink. It makes him so relatable. He's one of those characters that I'd like to meet for a drink sometime, if he were real. Or I'd want him in my book club.

"Gamache's job was to collect the evidence, but also to collect the emotions. And the only way he knew to do that was to get the know the people. To watch and listen. To pay attention. And the best way to do that was in a deceptively casual manner in a deceptively casual setting. Like the bistro." pg 142, ebook.

The only part of this book that I found a bit off-key was a moment between Gamache and one of the town's oldest residents, Em. They talk about moments from their past when something inexplicable caused them to behave in a certain way. That conversation comes back to haunt Gamache later in the book, and it almost has an air of magical realism to it.

There's nothing wrong with magical realism, but I felt like Three Pines and its residents had enough every day magic without resorting to the truly far out there. I'd be curious as to what other readers thought of that moment — I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil it. You'll know what I'm talking about when you get there.

Highly recommended for readers with a hankering for cozy mysteries.
Profile Image for Jim.
542 reviews78 followers
February 26, 2017
This is the third book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series that I have read and it is the second in the series. It is fast becoming my favorite new series and I plan to read them in order. I don't think it is necessary to read the books in order but I think it will help to get to know Gamache, the members of his team, and most of all the quirky residents of the small village of Three Pines, Quebec.

It is Christmas time in Three Pines but CC de Poitiers manages to alienate everyone she comes in contact with. Her husband, her daughter, and even the friendly and outgoing residents of Three Pines. She may be colder than the Quebec winter. So it should come as no surprise that when CC is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament no one is grieving too much or that her shocking death was no accident.

Inspector Gamache is called in to investigate. There is no shortage of potential suspects and the murder of a homeless woman in Montreal appears to have ties to both CC and Three Pines. Inspector Gamache's methods when investigating a murder are to talk with the residents. To get to know them (and so does the reader). The murder was not spontaneous. It was deliberate and planned. Only by talking with everyone will Gamache learn the events that led the murderer to commit this act. No one will every confuse Armand Gamache with Jack Reacher.

I had a pretty good idea who the murderer was early on. It seemed somewhat obvious and I was pleased with myself that my deduction was correct. Even though I thought I knew who the murderer was this was a delightful read. It is approaching Christmas when I read this so that helped. We are in the midst of a "polar vortex" currently so I could relate to the author's description of the brutal winter weather. Three Pines is a fictional village but the description of it makes you wish it, and it's residents, were real. It would be nice to browse the bookstore and cozy up with a good book, sit in the bistro and enjoy a good meal and look out the windows at the lights of the village, and then head back to the B&B and your comfortable room. Almost makes winter sound pleasant. Almost. We are getting snow, sleet, and freezing rain as I write this and I know if I want to go anywhere I will have to warm up the car and scrape ice off the windows.
Profile Image for Margitte.
1,142 reviews488 followers
January 5, 2015
It is seldom the case for me to feel a happy contentment when opening up a book. A feeling of "Oh, it feels so good to be home". Louise Penny has become a firm favorite in the murder mystery genre and I just loved to be home in the Three Pines village of Quebec again with all the characters welcoming me. This time it was the day after Christmas, the deadly winter was raging, and more people would die than ever imagined.

CC was a despised woman. Obnoxious, cruel, -she was maddeningly bad news- to the people who knew who she was, but did not reveal the secret.

Well, CC died, electrocuted on a frozen lake while the entire village was there, curling, and Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, arrived in Three Pines again. The whosdunit was on!

The book could well have been a novel about a small-town community without the murder mysteries to turn it into a picturesque magical, although imaginery, place. The author enhanced the story with multilevels of intrigue and suspense. For a small romantic village, there seems to be quite an extraordinary number of murders!

Hopefully the third book in the series will be just as good as the first two. I am hooked!

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,367 reviews786 followers
July 14, 2020
“With each breath his nostrils froze shut and the air was like an ice pack in his sinuses, shooting pain through his forehead and making his eyes tear and freeze. By the time they were halfway to the train station he could barely see . . . the cold was already inside him, as though he was naked...”

Reading this during a steamy Australian summer is an interesting experience. Here it’s the kind of weather when you find yourself stripped down to barely acceptable clothing and opening the fridge or freezer a little more often than necessary. There, in the Canadian winter, you have to pile on the layers to try to retain what body heat there is, becoming barely acceptable in another ‘fashion’.

“. . . she sat in front of him, nearly submerged under layers of thick sweaters and blankets. She looked like a laundry hamper. With a head. A very small, very worn head. All ten hairs on her tiny wizened scalp were standing straight up from the winter static in the house.
She looked like a muppet with strings.”

And I love it. The village of Three Pines and its stubborn, gentle (and occasionally murderous) folk who insist on living in a place that would kill you if you ran out of firewood.

Inspector Gamache has returned to Three Pines following another murder. This is the second of what is now a long series about this big, gentle, intellectual man and his various sidekicks and offsiders. He is welcomed back to the B & B, to the bistro, to the various easy chairs by the various fires. But he never loses sight of why he’s there. He watches, he listens, and like me, he seems to suspect various possible perpetrators of the murder.

I’m not going to discuss the plot, other than to say that the unpleasant woman who was murdered was mourned by nobody, and her impending doom is mentioned in the first sentence. There are a few scary moments, but this is not a thriller. It is a just a good story told in good company.

A cozy mystery, one might say, except that seems a little too light-weight for the quality of Penny’s writing and the distinctiveness of her characters. She sets a scene better than most. I particularly liked the description of the church and its families.

“On Christmas Eve St Thomas’s was also filled with families, children excited and exhausted, elderly men and women who’d come to this place all their lives and sat in the same pew and worshipped the same God and baptized and married and buried those they loved. Some they never got to bury, but instead immortalized in the small stained glass window placed to get the morning, the youngest, light. They marched now in warm yellows and blues and greens, for ever perfect and petrified in the Great War. Etched below the brilliant boys were their names and the words ‘They Were Our Children’.”

I’ve given it 5 stars because I loved it. I don’t need to tell you about the 3 old ladies (one of the “laundry hamper” remark), the younger woman who was murdered, the widower and the practically catatonic daughter, the community curling festival on the frozen lake (where the murder took place), and the many village meals and conversations. So I won’t.

And I won’t mention the sneaking-around backstabbing that seems to be going on behind our wonderful inspector over some previous case for which he’s in the doghouse.

Nope. It’s enough for me to say I loved it and am looking forward to the next one. I just like spending time there, so why not?
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.2k followers
December 28, 2021
“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering; there’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in”--Leonard Cohen

The second in the mystery series by Louise Penny set in the small Québécois town of Three Pines, featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force for Quebec:

“Gamache was the best of them, the smartest and bravest and strongest because he was willing to go into his own head alone, and open all the doors there, and enter all the dark rooms. And make friends with what he found there.”

CC de Poitier, on the other hand, is among the worst of them, hated by everyone in town, including her husband, her lover and daughter. Early on in the novel a vagrant is killed, and then soon after, CC, who had a "spiritual guidance" business called Be Calm, based on eliminating emotion, is electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake during a curling competition.

But the heart on the window was seen by Peter and drawn by Clara

I like this book somewhat better than the first book, Still Life, and I rate it about 3.5 stars, anticipating that the best is yet to come. I guessed the murderer early on, but I get the feeling that whodunnit is less important to these books than the local color, the ambience, the sweet community. Winter is the main character, in a way, in this one; Peter finds a heart etched in the frost on his window by Clara one morning:

“And even as he looked the frost began to grow, filling in the heart with ice.”

That Quebec cold, and a later snowstorm, are keys to the chill that runs through this otherwise kind of warm, cozy murder mystery filled with (mostly) likable locals. And wit:

“Let every man shovel out his own snow, and the whole city will be passable," said Gamache. Seeing Beauvoir's puzzled expression he added, "Emerson."
"Lake and Palmer?"
"Ralph and Waldo.”

There’s a lot of references to film and literature, so it’s a literary mystery; Gamache watches The Lion in Winter--there’s a Richard Lion in the story--we reference Eleanor of Aquitane, and Leonard Cohen! And there’s the “three graces,” connected to some older women friends that are central to the story. There are central mother-daughter stories. And curling jokes throughout.

I already started the third book, The Cruelest Month.
Profile Image for Bettie.
9,988 reviews15 followers
September 12, 2015

Description: Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.
No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.
When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he's dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?
With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.

Opening: Had CC de Poitiers known she was going to be murdered she might have bought her husband, Richard, a Christmas gift. She might even have gone to her daughter’s end of term pageant at Miss Edward’s School for Girls, or ‘girths’ as CC liked to tease her expansive daughter. Had CC de Poitiers known the end was near she might have been at work instead of in the cheapest room the Ritz in Montreal had to offer. But the only end she knew was near belonged to a man named Saul.
People are cruel and insensitive

I understand. You can’t spare
anything, a hand, a piece of bread, a shawl
against the cold,
a good word. Lord
knows there isn’t much
to go around. You need it all.

So that's the way it will be - starting with a carrot!

It was Susanna who clued me into this series, HUZZAH! Read book 4 before 2 and 3 because I was caught at an airport with only A Rule Against Murder to dive into, so now I shall take up the slack...

This is the one with a shocking curling match, a stinky dedication, and a weird ball retrieved from a dumpster.

Three Pines: Salvador Dali

Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto in D Major

Although there were the trademark astute one-liners such as: It was almost impossible to electrocute someone these days, unless you were the governor of Texas, it was hard to feel sympathetic to some characters because I had read ahead. Not this book's fault, I know.
Now here’s a good one: 
you’re lying on your deathbed.
You have one hour to live.
Who is it, exactly, you have needed
all these years to forgive?

4* Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1)
3.5* A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2)
TR The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #3)
4* A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #4)
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,269 reviews
November 20, 2021
4 chilly stars

This is #2 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series and I’m loving these characters! It’s been quite a while since I read #1, but I’m looking forward to reading this series with book friends!

I’ve been to Montreal once in March, so Louise Penny’s descriptions of winter in Quebec seem spot-on, several scenes made me downright chilly! The town of Three Pines sounds picture perfect, but there are crimes to be solved by Gamache.

This time we have CC de Poitiers (an unlikable woman) murdered and quite a few suspects. The crime itself is quite complex and happened at a very public setting. How is it possible that no one really saw what happened? CC’s odd husband and daughter were there as well as most of the townspeople.

The Chief Inspector is on the job and sets about to solve the mysterious crime. Along the way we are reunited with characters from book #1. There’s also a subplot involving some of Gamache’s actions in the first book. In fact, the author leaves us with quite a cliffhanger at the end of this one.

There are some red herrings that I fell for and while I did correctly guess a few pieces of this one, I didn’t have all of the pieces figured out. I’m anxious to read book #3 and pick up the storyline!

This is a fun series buddy read with Susan and Marilyn!
Profile Image for Brenda.
3,975 reviews2,588 followers
July 24, 2018
Chief Inspector Armand Gamach of the Sûreté du Québec received the call while with his wife – he was immediately headed to Three Pines where he’d investigated a murder the previous year. There had been another murder.

Three Pines was a pretty little village and as it was nearing Christmas, it was bitterly cold with snow and ice surrounding the cottages, the bistro, the B&B as well as the village green; even the lake was completely iced over. CC de Poitiers had been despised by all – no one person was sorry about her death. But Gamach was determined to discover who had murdered her; he rarely failed.

Would Gamach and his team be able to find the answers to this strange and baffling murder? He’d not encountered anything quite like it before…

A Fatal Grace is the 2nd in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamach series by Louise Penny and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gamach is a fascinating man – gentle, compassionate and kind, he also has a strength of character and a way of nutting things out that make him pretty much perfect. There are plenty of twists and red herrings in A Fatal Grace, and I won’t be leaving #3 too long to pick up. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Natasha Niezgoda.
527 reviews219 followers
April 9, 2020

If mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and warm chocolate cake are your "soothing" blankets when life gets hard, then this will be too! It's LITERALLY the most perfect series for this freaking quarantine (aka the world is shutting down) saga.


In this "case", Inspector Gamache is back in Three Pines. The victim is CC. She's a thorn in everyone's side but her death wasn't accidental. And Gamache must still bring someone to justice even if she did deserve to die for her sins (which there are many).

But then things get even more convoluted when another murder coincides with CC's. Are they connected? You'll have to read it to find out.


Side note: I adore the reoccurring characters in this series - even the "I hate to hate you" types (ehem Yvette).

This gets another 4.25 stars for me! A wonderful follow up to the first. And now onto the third book!
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