Book Reviews

“A Trick of the Light”    by Louise Penny

This mystery story is set in Quebec’s Eastern townships in the small village of Three Pines.

Inspector Armand Gamache, well known to Louise Penny fans, is investigating another murder, this time associated with the art community of Montreal.  Clara Morrow, one of the residents of Three Pines has just had her work shown in the Musee Gallery with great success.

During the celebration back home, someone is murdered in her garden – a woman who was her childhood friend, turned enemy and who she hasn’t seen for years.  What was she doing there?

Gamache and his team of Beauvoir and Lacoste investigate and here is the difference in this series from many others.  The reader is taken along the path the detectives follow as they discover the facts.  It’s not just the excitement and intrigue of finding the killer that keeps us interested, it’s the fascinating villagers of Three Pines and their relationships with each other.

We recognize these characters from previous novels in this series. The violence is contained in the crime and not in what follows.  Inspector Gamache is a gentleman and treats the suspects with respect. He drills into his team to never draw their gun unless they mean to use it because if a weapon is drawn, it means that all else has failed.

Louise Penny has won great respect and many awards in the mystery field and happily, she is a Canadian.  She lives in the Eastern townships of Quebec and Three Pines could be any of the villages that dot this beautiful area south of Montreal.

Another good summer read!

Lyn Bolt

Walker’s Point Community Library

“Dreamers of the Day”
by Mary Doria Russell  (2008 Ballantine Books)
I enjoyed this book as much as any I’ve ever read.    A piece of historical fiction that is not only beautifully written, but also describes the circumstances following WW 1 that set in place much of the politics and conflicts that exist today throughout the Middle East and beyond.    It’s everything a good read should be; articulate, romantic, historically factual and a great travelogue to boot.
Rather than try to be original, the easiest, and in this case also the best, way to offer a crisp synopsis is to quote directly from the “reader’s guide” included by the publisher as a feature following the end of the novel.
“Her fourth novel, Dreamers of the Day, is both a romantic and a disturbingly relevant political novel about the 1921 Cairo Peace Conference when Winston Churchill, T.E. Lawrence, and Gertrude Bell invented the modern Middle East. The Washington Post Book World called it marvelous and rewarding, “a stirring story of personal awakening set against the background of a crucial moment in modern history.”   Elsewhere, the author herself says, “Around the world, today’s headlines are rooted in nineteenth-century colonialism.”

This novel invites us to join the characters at a fascinating and momentous time in history.   Imagine being an observer at a banquet table in the famous Samiramis Hotel in Cairo as the Churchill’s, (Clementine along with Winston), Lawrence, Gertrude Bell, Colonel and Lady Cox, and Colonel Wilson debate the future of Palestine, Mesopotamia, The Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the creation of Iraq, Trans Jordan and the concept of Israel.
Don’t hesitate!

 Bruce Bodden
Walker’s Point Community Library


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