Monday, May 25, 2009

Guest Blog – Dead Cold by Louise Penny

I have read only two mysteries written by Penny, but already I am attached to her detective, Armand Gamache. In fact at the end of Dead Cold when I discovered that someone in the Sûreté is out to get Garmache, I was really alarmed and concerned for him. My concern was connected to the fact that it was apparent that this antagonism towards Gamache would continue into the next novel and perhaps the one after that.

Not too surprisingly Dead Cold takes place in the small village of Three Pines at Christmas. The cold atmosphere was so vivid that I decided that I never want to be in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in the winter. Well, let’s make that all of Quebec. I did spend a few days in Quebec City in November several years ago and for the first time in years bought a hat to try to protect my head and ears from the biting cold wind. I haven’t worn the hat again. There has not been a moment since then when I have been exposed to cold as bitter as on that snowless winter day in Quebec City.

In the novel, a woman is electrocuted while sitting by a frozen lake watching a curling match. The first mystery in the story was ‘how could this have happened?’ Despite the fact that it is a murder mystery, Penny had me laughing out loud while reading. I had to struggle to resist boring my husband with another really funny incident in the novel just as the police officer had to fight the urge to blow on his hands to warm them while sitting inside the very cold house of Ruth Zardo.

Dead Cold was amusing and at the same time sad. Not all of the characters I grew fond of while reading made it to the end of the novel. I hope that Louise Penny finds readership south of the border. She is well worth reading. I am grateful to a friend in the United States who suggested that I look for her books.

1 comment:

notaconnoisseur said...

I just discovered that "Dead Cold" was released in the United States under the title "A Fatal Grace." Same novel, different title. A very annoying habit on the part of publishers from my point of view.