Monday, January 9, 2023

Back to ThreePines: Louise Penny's A World of Curiosities


For anyone who knows me as a reader, it should come as no surprise that I've just finished Louise Penny's latest novel in her Three Pines Series featuring Chief Inspector Armande Gamache. The only surprise is that I didn't read the book as soon as it came out in November.

This book moves back and forth between the past when Ganache first met the headstrong Jean Guy Beauvoir while investigating a murder and present day when the son and daughter of the murdered woman arrive in Three Pines.

I love so many things about Penny's books, particularly the character development, but I also enjoy how she weaves literature, music, and art into the narrative. In this case, a hidden room is discovered above the book store in which they find what at first appears to be a work of art known as "A World of Curiosities" or the Pastan Treasure. Closer inspection, though, shows that while at first glimpse the painting resembles the seventeenth century painting, it actually includes myriad details from modern day, from a digital watch to scratches that are found to be made in shorthand. Soon Gamache recognizes them as messages from a serial killer he put behind bars.

In addition to the beloved recurring characters from the village, Penny also reintroduces Amelia Choquet from a couple of years back, a tattooed and pierced young woman who survived life on the streets and was eventually brought into Quebec law enforcement. 

After spending so much time in the homes in Three Pines, I can recognize the smell of sandalwood, the family pets, and even Rosa, the profane pet duck of the crotchety old poet Ruth. 

When I read Louise Penny's books, I find myself tearing through them, pulled along by the suspense, but then sad when they end, knowing I'll have to wait until November for my next visit.


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