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anyone read this yet? How does it stack up against her other Gamache novels?

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Susanne Gale I've read the whole series and loved every one, except this one. While Gamache continues to interest and fascinate me, i think Three Pines is wearing thin. Clara has just become annoying and as Louise Penny continues to kill off all of the really interesting characters in the town.....well, let's just say I hope that Gamache moves somewhere else. while Three Pines had some interesting murders, this was not one of them. Unless Clara is the next victim in Three Pines I hope that the character of Gamache moves on to another location. Rosa the Duck has a bigger heart than Clara. i was very disappointed in this book, but hope that the series can pick itself up again with a more interesting story.
Kimm I couldn't disagree more. I am so grateful to Louise Penny for plumbing these characters; we have been offered so many ways to consider art, beauty, wisdom, courage, selflessness, selfishness, art, truth, morality... the notion of art on its head in this book is really insightful and helpful. These are flawed characters that stand up to scrutiny. The last book felt like an ending and I was terrified Gamache would be the one killed off here; even so, the book's climax brought tears to my eyes. Don't want things too tidy, but I do love visiting Three Pines and wondering who's on the chopping block next. And it is a puzzle to me how Penny will continue to put Gamache at the centre, now that he's retired.
MJ It doesn't. It's the worst of the series - and I would recommend every other one she's written. In fact, I have read all the others at least 2x. This one is a complete departure from her usual gripping mystery.

A huge disappointment!
Joanne Huber It is different. I loved it, but it is a very different novel - more about the artist's journey, and about relationships (though they all are, but here it is less obfuscated by the mystery). The structure is atypical for a murder mystery (what the mysteries really are is best seen in hindsight, as with any book you may figure things out as you go, but this is not an intellectual puzzle). Between the structure, the more literary themes and the fact that this book expects the reader to experience sadness over broken lives (something only a small percentage of mystery fiction really does, despite dealing with sudden death and characters who intentionally damage one another) this one may appeal less to people who mainly read crime fiction.

Personally, I like Clara more and more as she grows (I mention this in response to some of the other answers to this query). To some extent she was an older manic pixie dream girl at the start of the series. By book ten we know her better and the events of the series have given her independence that would have terrified Still Life Clara.
Constance Walker This is a disappointment -- Louise Penny is a really good writer and her "How The Light Gets In" was a masterpiece. But this? Like two different people writing. Choppy sentences or half sentences, repetitious, boring and I felt like I was being "taught" about painting. Read her other books -- fresh, interesting characters and plots and settings. I gave her other books 5 stars... but this? None.....
Cynthia Dunn I agree with Susanne. I'm not finished yet but I've loved them all and so far I'm bored. Starting to dislike Clara also. I think Gamache should not have retired.
Stella Burnham Just like all Louise's books I loved it and found it very interesting. I liked the way it took me to all the different countries and then back to Quebec.
I had trouble putting it down as I have with all her books. Keep the good reads coming Louise.
Erika I'm always frustrated with the focus on food in her books, but this time it was the painting, too. You can only do so much description with words, truly I wished there were pictures in the book so I'd understand the mulititude of images the characters were seeing, or thought they were seeing. There was just too much damn art - it was about color, composition, various types of painting, art theory...Sorry, I wasn't an art major and can't begin to imagine what the "dog's breakfast" paintings looked like.
And while the last 5-10% wasn't as out-of-left-field as that of #8 "The Beautiful Mystery" - the last few pages have me convinced Penny starts to feel rushed and slaps the ending together - as relieved to finish writing the book as I was to finish it.
Marlene Diamond YES.....I look forward to any new books about Gamache and this one does not dissapoint. Three Pines and it's family of characters have become an extended family to me and it's always GOOD hearing from them again.
Tina I Have read all the books in the series, this one dragged, pulled, and irritated me. The characters and three pines made up for a poor story line.
Rosemary Burrows I am about halfway through it and it is not dragging at all. Love the usual cast of characters and the locale.
Luz This one just didn't do it for me.
Jennifer Mcgown This is the first Louise Penny I listened to ( I tend to read audiobooks) and it made me want to go and read the rest of the books from the first one. This one is not a murder mystery - it is rather a search for missing person who went away to think and renew their spirit. The fact that he (Peter Morrow ) has not returned when he said he would set off the quest to find him and that leads discoveries between him and his wife. I liked that many of the places mentioned in the book exist - like the garden of Cosmic Spectulation - check it out - and the I love the way art is made an important part of life. It is not the typical Gamache novel - I just didn't know it at the time.
Henrietta Bond
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Joni Mcmillan I loved the book. What makes Louise Penny's characters interesting to me is that they have lives that are fleshed out and they eat and drink great food and drink. I love the descriptions of Clara's art and how she seems to know what is under the veneer her subjects present to the public. I get such pleasure from the humour and the back and forth between Ruth and those who know the heart beneath that crusty exterior. When I die I want to come back as a character in Three Pines.
Art Davis Interesting. Trying to understand these comments.
Maybe you folks are right and I'm just resting in the familiar. I'm enjoying the book and love the characters, setting and plot. I've always thought from the first book and I've read all of them that they meander a bit but then that is part of the charm.
Melanie Griffin
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Maya Like a lot of other responders, I think that this is the absolute worst book in the series. I love all of the Gamache novels, but this one is simply terrible. The following book, Nature of the Beast, is one of the best, so luckily she bounced back!
Melissa I love the Three Pines characters and was happy to read about them. There was also the usual philosophical/psychological insight these books are known for. However, it was not as profound as some are, and I did not tear through this one like I usually do. It felt a bit like a bridge book.
Sidney One of my least favorites....
Kebra I found this one to be good and definitely worth reading. It was not absolutely amazing like the previous books in this series but still good.
Marie I was disappointed! I've read them all and was waiting eagerly for this book. I found that the plot was poorly crafted, relying on improbable events that I couldn't get my mind around. That being said, I enjoyed spending time with Gamache.
Deb The ending disappointed me, but I would still recommend it because I love the characters of Three Pines.
Sandy It did start out disappointingly boring, but I kept reading and became as absorbed with this book as with all her others.
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by Louise Penny (Goodreads Author)
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