How About a Canadian Mystery? Louise Penny’s The Cruelest Month

If you haven’t read Ms. Penny’s earlier books you might want to take a look. She’s a perfect author for people who like to binge read. In this book, we’re in Three Pines which has a history for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the residents of the usually peaceful town. The town is filled with interesting artists and a visiting medium who conducted a deadly seance. I won’t tell you more, I don’t want to give away too much. I’ll just say that you’ll love the characters, Gamache is a particular favorite of mine as he is with many readers, and you’ll love Three Pines if you haven’t read about before.

I read something at the end of this book that talked about Ms. Penny’s wonderful dialogue, appropriate I guess for an ad for an audio version of the book. But it is the blending of all the essentials of a good mystery that makes her books so satisfying to read.

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Charles Todd’s Hunting Shadows

Ever since I met the mother and son duo, Charles Todd, at Malice Domestic this year, I’ve been reading their Inspector Rutledge books. Ian Rutledge is a Scotland Yard Inspector who was an officer in the bloody first World War. He’s returned with his own version of post-traumatic stress syndrome as well as Hamish’ voice in his head, a soldier he had shot because he didn’t follow orders. I was very curious how this accomplished author duo would handle Hamish since I have a similar situation in my first Sissy Holmes mystery. Without doubt, they do it seamlessly without interrupting the flow of the stories. Hamish plays a very important role in establishing Rutledge’s mental condition. If you do choose to read this book where Rutledge has managed to get Hamish under some control, I recommend that you read the earlier books in the series too. You won’t be disappointed.

The many historical details ring true and take the reader into different parts of the English countryside with ease. Their is a certain charm to their books which reminds me of other writers who’ve been this comfortable in their writing togs. If you have the opportunity to meet them in person, don’t pass it up. They are that charming.

As for  Hunting Shadows, you won’t be disappointed as you read about how the Inspector puts his wartime experiences to use when he hunts a sniper in the Fens of England. I won’t tell you more since it’s fun to watch his logic unfold as you read. He is their Poirot in that way, except you get to hear his thought process as the book progresses instead of waiting for the explanations at the end of the book.