A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
Louise Penny brings a small town on the Vermont/Canadian border brilliantly to life in her Chief Inspector Gamache series. A Trick of the Light is the seventh novel in this compelling series. Three Pines is not on any map, but those who need to find it always do. It seems as if anything were to put it on the map, it would be the murders that keep occurring there! In this outing, Penny brings to light the dark world of creative art competition.
Lillian Dyson is dead and she has died in Clara Morrow’s garden, effectively tarnishing Clara’s big night. Clara has just had a solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal and is waiting to read the next day reviews when Dyson’s body is discovered. It doesn’t help Clara that the women had been close friends many years ago, but had become enemies after a savage review. People from the glitzy art world had come to Three Pines for a celebratory party following the solo show and anyone of them might have wanted to see Dyson, a former art critic, dead.
Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village to solve the crime and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shadow and light. Even when facts are exposed, it is not clear to the chief inspector and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or if it’s a trick of the light. At the same time, Gamache and his team are still recovering from a brutal attack that left many of them wounded and some dead in the sixth novel, Bury Your Dead. It is not difficult to guess in what direction the next novel will travel since Gamache still wants to know who sent a police video viral over the worldwide web.
With Gamache, Penny has created one of the most intriguing protagonists in mystery fiction. He is a complex man determined to do things the right way, one who is not afraid to tread heavily when he must, but who will tread lightly when he can. He likes people in spite of the wickedness he has seen and cares deeply about his family and those who work for him. He has the sharp mind of a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercule Poirot and is about as multi-faceted as you can find in mysteries today. Gamache is truly the glue that holds the books together. Penny has said she wants her readers to see a man with flaws, but one who is working on those flaws.
It’s impossible to read this Louise Penny and not want to read the previous books in the series. However, it is not necessary to have read them to enjoy this one. Penny ages well like a good wine and her fans are always eager to get the newest novel by the Canadian author. That includes me.