ANOTHER GEM OF A MYSTERY FROM LOUISE PENNY

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The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
Author: Louise Penny
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Thorndike Press, 2015
Hardcover Large Print Edition: 677 pages
Source: Library copy

Characters eat memorable food in the village of Three Pines in Quebec. Would the reader like ham, apple and brie sandwiches, parsnip and apple soup with fresh baquette, crepes stuffed with apple and drizzled with syrup alongside maple bacon? Often, tantalizing food smells seem to emanate from the pages of this book.

Each character Ms. Penny creates comes to life, rising from the pages in frantic fantasy. Readers feel relief that this is a story and not real life. It is a crazy mix of comfort and fright. How could such things happen in the idyllic village of Three Pines?

Ms. Penny creates what some might call escapist fiction at its best. She’s great with first lines. “Running, running, stumbling, running.” Her crazy character Ruth with the pet duck Rosa returns to play an important part in this tale. Often true in the tales Penny conjures, drama fills the screen of the reader’s mind.

It’s a joy to read how Gamache and his community of players work together to solve a particularly scary and horrid tale. There is plenty of the unexpected. And yet compassion and caring rule the day. Hence the tale brings comfort and charm to soften the horror.

Louise Penny’s newest book is released this week. The critics have nothing but praise for A Great Reckoning: A Novel. So if the reader cannot bear to leave Inspector Gamache and Three Pines, the new book is waiting.

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