'State your name, please.'
'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.
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'.
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~~~