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Monday, January 22, 2018

Glass Houses - Louise Penny

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

First Paragraph:

'State your name, please.'
     'Armand Gamache.'
     'And you are the head of the Sûreté du Québec?'
     'The Chief Superintendent, oui."
     Gamache sat upright on the wooden chair.  It was hot.  Sweltering, really, on this July morning.  He could taste perspiration from his upper lip and it was only just ten o'clock.  It was only just starting.

My Thoughts:

Every time I come to the end of one of Louise Penny's books, I sit filled with amazement.  This woman has such a gift.  To me, her books are some of the best and deepest character studies I've ever read.  Yes, they are mysteries - crime novels - whatever your term is for that genre.  They are also filled with imagination and beautiful descriptions and pathos and terror.  I always learn something.  I'm always delighted that I visited again with these beloved characters.  I always dread the day that this book - whichever one I'm reading - will be our last time in Three Pines.

If you notice below, there are two photographs that I took of Louise Penny when she came to Austin for a book event soon after GLASS HOUSES was published.  There were so many people that attended, it was not held in a bookstore, but in a church.  You had to have a ticket, which you purchased, and which entitled you to a copy of the book.  It was a wonderful evening.  I was brave and trekked up the aisle during the question and answer section at the end to tell her how much our mystery group had enjoyed her books.  I had no question - just wanted her to know that she had true fans in our group.  I reminded her that she had participated in a phone interview with our group in the spring of 2008, one of our first meetings.  We all huddled around a phone - a landline desk phone - on speaker and talked with her.  I told her that several members of our group were in the audience and most of us were there that night when she so graciously talked with us about STILL LIFE - us in the meeting room of the library and her at her home in Canada.  It was perfect. 

I've also included a couple of quotes below the photos - both famous quotes by famous people.  They appear in this book.  I'll also leave you here with a quote from the Author's Note at the end of the book.  It is this author's description of the small village she created for her series, Three Pines.  I warn you - it's deep. 

'Three Pines is a state of mind.  When we choose tolerance over hate.  Kindness over cruelty.  Goodness over bullying.  When we choose to be hopeful, not cynical.  Then we live in Three Pines.'  

It's my aim in life to 'live in Three Pines'.

Blurb:

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.







'There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience.  It supersedes all other courts.'                                      ~~~Mahatma Gandhi~~~
'All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.'
                               ~~~Julian of Norwich~~~ 

28 comments:

  1. I really must read these books - that quote makes me want to live in Three Pines too! Glad you got the opportunity to tell her how much pleasure her books have given you and your book group.

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  2. I love a series that has a fictional setting that we would enjoy living in! I did read the first two books of this series. Why did I stop-- no idea. Just chasing after other new titles, I guess. But nowadays I'm focusing on reading older titles that I missed out on, so I'll be sure to pick up #3 and see what Three Pines is up to!

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    1. I know it's tough to catch up on series books. This series is worth your time though. :-)

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  3. I still haven't read the latest, but hopefully I will soon. Three Pines is one of the best fictional locations ever, and I love catching up on the characters.

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  4. Yep. This series is a must-read for me. I keep saying I am going to finally start it. This year is the year.

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    1. I hope you'll like it if you decide to try it this year. I really feel that it is special.

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  5. I've got to make time for a Penny book!

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    1. I know. It's hard, isn't it? So many books to choose from and they will persist in publishing more and more. LOL

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  6. I only started reading Louise Penny and while I've heard the first few mysteries aren't her best the potential in the series and with the characters is so immense that I'm really excited to keep reading. It doesn't hurt that I've really enjoyed the 1st 2 as well. How awesome that you've been able to interact with her both times. I'd love to hear about her writing and just her life in general. Can't wait to continue with the series so I can get to this one!

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    1. It's a great series for sure. For me, the first few were really good, but I do think we were getting to know the characters and she was finding her writing mojo. That being said, there are over-arching themes and storylines that are best understood if the reader tries them all.

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  7. What a wonderful memory of your book group's call with Louise Penney and how great that some of you guys were able to meet her during her tour. I agree, her novels really are bring something else to the mystery genre. I have fallen a bit behind on the series but still think Gamache is one of my favorite characters. Must re-visit with this series soon!

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    1. It is really hard to keep up with all of them we'd like to, isn't it? I've tried to whittle down my 'must' list on series. As you can see, any Penny book is on my 'must'. LOL

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  8. I'm so far behind with this series. I'm glad to hear her books didn't disappoint and it keeps getting better. How wonderful for you to meet up with the author! I don't think I'll be brave enough to trek up the aisle for the Q&A section, but will find an opportunity to talk with her in a smaller group or when she's alone, hehe.

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    1. It was OK and wasn't as hard as I made it sound. I was in a line with other people. LOL

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  9. I love the Three Pines State of Mind idea! I still wish it were a real town because, except for the unusually high murder rate, it seems like a pretty great place to live :)

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    1. Yes, it's not quite Cabot's Cove, but still...

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  10. I absolutely love this series. I haven't read the most recent book yet, but I hope to soon!

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    1. It is my very favorite mystery series of all.

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  11. I haven't experienced this author's work in alllll my time as a reader. Hard to believe because I now there are so many books available.

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    1. It a really good series, Ti, but I can see that it would be hard to jump in after so many books.

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  12. I feel like I need to get to know Penny's work -- she sounds like an amazing writer. I LOVE your description of your club's call with her!

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    1. We remember it vividly! She got famous after that. LOL

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  13. I like this tribute to Louise Penny. I love her and her books too. There is nothing like them. I also can say "I want to live in Three Pines."

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    1. Good - I'd like to have you as a neighbor, Margot!

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  14. My mom and I were just talking about LP this morning. I've only read the first two in the series and hope to make more time for the others in the next year or two. Did you know she has a new book coming out in November?

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    1. The audios are really good of the Penny books - just saying. I didn't know about the book in November until I read her newsletter that arrived this morning. I can understand her thinking she wouldn't do a book this year and then getting in the mood. I'm excited about seeing her again at Malice Domestic.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!