Sunday, November 25, 2018

Reader's Diary #1966- Louise Penny: A Fatal Grace

I haven't read a lot of mysteries but the ones I've read have more often let me down. I wouldn't go as far as saying they were poorly written, just not what I personally wanted from the experience. I've been looking for a classic whodunit, wanting to be given enough clues to participate in the process, maybe even figure it out for myself before the big reveal.

I definitely got it this time around with Louise Penny's A Fatal Grace. Involving a bizarrely complicated murder in a small Quebec town, I kind of feel Penny came up with the murder first and then wrote a story around it. Which would be totally fine by me. I'll say that I did manage to guess who the killer was in advance but it was, admittedly, just a guess and not by my having paid sufficient attention to the clues. I also suspected everyone at one point or another so no matter who it would have wound up being, I could have said that I'd predicted it.

An added bonus to my finally having gotten what I was looking for, was it being set at Christmas. It was a perfectly cozy tale to read this time of year.

A few stray observations and comments:

1. This was the second of Penny's Inspector Gamache books and though I haven't read the first, it largely works as a standalone. There's a bit of animosity between Gamache and an Inspector Nichol that seems residual from Still Life, but it's not too much of a distraction.

2. There's a bit about the unlikeable victim wearing baby seal skin boots that seems over-the-top. Like a character in Dennis Leary's "Asshole" song. Plus it leads to a few rather misguided, no matter how well-intended, comments regarding Inuit culture.

3. One of the characters makes a reference to bakeapple blossoms which I found surprising. I though Newfoundlanders were the only ones to refer to cloudberries as bakeapples.

Finally, this marks the end of a list I created a few years back of glaring omissions of popular books I'd not read. It's taken so long to complete that there's a brand new bunch of popular books that have slipped by me. Still I'll refrain from creating a brand new list just yet.

1. Twilight- Stephenie Meyer
2. Fifty Shades of Grey- E.L. James
3. Confessions of a Shopaholic- Sophie Kinsella
4. the Sisters Brothers- Patrick deWitt
5. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo- Stiegg Larsson
6. The Gargoyle- Andrew Davidson
7. Outlander- Gil Adamson
8. Flashforward- Robert J. Sawyer
9. Fear the Worst- Linwood Barclay
10. No One Here Gets Out Alive- Jerry Hopkins
11. A Fatal Grace- Louise Penny
12. Room- Emma Donoghue
13. Bitten- Kelley Armstrong
14. The Book of Awesome- Neil Pasricha
15. Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell
16. The Lightning Thief- Rick Riordan
17. Freakonomics- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
18. Water For Elephants- Sara Gruen
19. Book Thief- Markus Zusak
20. The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini

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