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Friday, January 15, 2016

The Nature Of The Beast by Louise Penny

And now it is now,
and the dark thing is here,
and after all it is nothing new;
it is only a memory, after all:
A memory of a fear.
              ~~Ruth Zardo~~

And so I begin to share my experience with Louise Penny's 11th book featuring Armand Gamache, former Chief of Homicide for the Surete' du Quebec, a book entitled The Nature Of The Beast.  Every time I read one of this author's books, I think, well, she won't be able to top this one or this one.  And I'm wrong.  Wow.  The poem above is found early in the story and is penned by the old, cranky, very odd resident of Three Pines, the noted poet, Ruth Zardo.  It tells of an evil that is uncovered in this story.  Here's how it begins...

Laurent Lepage is a 9-year-old boy that everyone in Three Pines knows.  He's constantly running into the village and sharing his latest adventures in the forest.  They might be travels with aliens or dinosaurs, with Robin Hood or scary creatures.  And everyone has grown weary of Laurent and his 'crying wolf'.  Today, he runs into the bistro and tells a new fantastic story.  Gamache must come and see.  Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache have indeed moved to Three Pines after the Chief Inspector's retirement and they are present, along with many other familiar characters, when Laurent tells his tale.  Soon after, Laurent disappears and his parents are frantic.

The whole village searches for the missing young boy.  Is it possible that one of his many stories could be true?  As the search continues, a discovery is made, a dark and dangerous discovery.  Evil has indeed been a part of their forest.  It's been there for a long time.  As the tension increases due to multiple storylines, Gamache and his former homicide team must do battle on several fronts.  And the last quarter of the book left me frantically turning the pages.

Louise Penny has again turned her type of story on end.  I marvel at her ability to keep the reader interested in a mystery, while sharing such beautiful words - symbolic and meaningful.  And this effort included an almost spy/thriller type note and also left us with a new threat that we can only hope will be addressed in the next book.  Armand Gamache is retired in the lovely sanctuary of Three Pines, but will he remain?  I can assure you that I'll be eager to find out.

Did I have a good experience with The Nature Of The Beast?  Yes.  The story was gripping.  As I said, the language was beautiful.  The cover was great with a hint of menace in the black cave-like center, surrounded by green forest leaves.  I can't wait for book #12.

I'll close with another quote.  In each book, Penny describes Three Pines in a unique way - as a sanctuary or place of comfort and healing that is found on no map.  She says that you can only find the village when you are in need of it.  Here's this book's special description of Three Pines, an almost magical village:
'She saw the old homes circling the green.  She saw the bistro and bookstore and bakery and general store.  She saw, Gamache knew, a pretty, but dull, backwater.  While he saw a shore.  A place where the shipwrecked could finally rest.' 

34 comments:

  1. I've only read (or rather, listened to) the first two in this series. I think I need to read, rather than listen, when I'm ready to move ahead to #3. You're right. The writing is beautiful. That last quote is wonderful!

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    1. I've gotten to where I specifically look for that special descriptive phrase in each book set in Three Pines.

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  2. I've read the whole series, but not in order. I now have them all and would like to start at the beginning and read them in order. I adore Ruth and Rosa. Despite the high murder rate, I'd take a chance on spending my last days in Three Pines!

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    1. I agree. I'd go there in a minute. And I think you would like reading them in order. They kind of meld from one into the next.

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  3. Everyone loves Penny's work. I have a few books here and need to make the time to pick one up.

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    1. It's tough to get to everything, Kathy. But...you might like these.

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  4. I am not familiar with Louise Penny. Glad you enjoyed The Nature Of The Beast so much.

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    1. Pat, this author is really gifted, at least in my opinion. The first book is STILL LIFE.

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  5. I've read every Three Pines book and can't wait for this one! Love, love Ruth Zardo!

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    1. Yes, I'm always anxious for the next book in this favorite series of mine. :-)

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  6. I read the first in this series last year (I think). I really liked it and hope to get to the second this year. I love the last quote!

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    1. Thanks, Mary and I encourage you to continue with the series. It gets better and better.

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  7. I am glad the books continue to hold up. This is a series I would like to read.

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    1. I think you would enjoy them, Wendy.

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    1. Yes, you definitely need to read this one, Gayle. It's good, good, good.

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  9. I knew I left an author off my Books I Will Read This Year No Matter What list! I'm really looking forward to starting this series. The writing looks gorgeous!

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    1. Katherine, this is the best series. I love it and think Louise Penny is very, very talented.

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  10. I haven't read any of Louise Penny's books but I love the sound of this one. The plot, just from your review, has an Agatha Christie feel about it, but of course, I may be wrong.

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    1. This author's writing has been compared to Christie at times. She's really talented and has won award after award in the mystery world.

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  11. What a fantastic review which made me want to pick this one up immediately - I have this author on my list of must-read, as I've heard consistently good things that chime with what I think makes a good book.

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    1. I can't recommend this series enough. And it's to be read in order - or that's best anyway. I just love it.

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  12. I'm so glad you had a great experience with this book. I agree with you. I don't know how the author does it. Each book is a total package of good writing, a good mystery, interesting characters, and always plenty to think about. She certainly makes her readers come back for more.

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    1. She definitely does, Margot. I'm always amazed at how I feel after reading a book in this series. It's a little tough to dive in to another book - guess that's what they call book hangover!

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  13. I haven't caught up with Inspector (or former now!) Gamache in a while. I was a bit disappointed with one of the books but I think I'm over it and really need to catch up. He's such a great character and of course these have such an amazing sense of place. So glad to hear the series is still going strong!

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    1. Iliana, I have had books in the series that spoke to me more than others, but I've loved this series.

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  14. I have enjoyed all the books I've read in this series, including this one. Three Pines does sound like a paradise.

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    1. It does, doesn't it? I think I'd like to see that area of the world sometime.

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  15. Oh this must be the newest one. I've read quite a few but, not all of them.

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    1. Yes, this is the latest one in the series. The next will be out later this year, I think.

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  16. I've only read the first book and I'm glad to hear the series keeps getting better! Hopefully I'll read more of this series this year!

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    1. I think you'd enjoy it, Melody.

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  17. I just discovered Louise Penny's series on Gamache and am reading the backwards. My first was the newest A Great Reckoning, and I became hooked on them. I have enjoyed reading through your blog.

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    1. This is a great series, Letty! Hope you enjoy all of them!

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