About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"P" is for Louise Penny

This week Kerrie Smith is hosting books related to “P” on her blog, Mysteries in Paradise for the ongoing meme of the Alphabet in Crime Fiction. My post is “P” is for Louise Penny, a Canadian author residing in Quebec.

She spent a significant number of years working for the national public broadcasting system, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as a journalist, producer and host of radio programs.

After getting married in her late 30’s she gave up her broadcasting career and turned to writing.

Penny’s series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete has become the most famous current mysteries by a Canadian author.

She has won an impressive list of awards for her books four Agatha award and Canada’s Arthur Ellis award. She is likely to win another Arthur Ellis this year. I have personally found two of her books among the best books of the year. I expect her current book Bury Your Dead will make my Best of 2011. Kerrie and Bernadette have both enjoyed her books this year.

I have read all 6 books in the series and enjoyed every one of them.

The setting for most of the mysteries, Three Pines, is a beautiful Quebec village that readers dearly wish existed in real life.

In addition to fine characterization and interesting plots the early mysteries were remarkable for the distinctive means of murder. One victim was killed by an arrow while another was electrocuted during a curling game.

While her books are excellent mysteries I most appreciate that the people, communities and plots are clearly a part of Quebec.

As the series has matured her hero, Gamache, has become a fascinating complex man blessed with a loving marriage to Reine Marie. I heard Louise say during a radio interview that Gamache is her dream husband. She said that if she had to live with a fictional character because she spent so much time with him while writing she wanted someone she would marry.

In Bury Your Dead Gamache is the rare mystery hero challenged by past mistakes who perseveres amidst his doubts and regrets.

It is a wonderful series.

Here is a link to my review of Bury Your Dead.


  1. I have read the two first, I think. While I enjoyed the setting and the plots very much, Gamache annoyed me a bit because he is almost too good to be true. Some readers say he has become more nuanced in later volumes, and if that is true, I may consider returning to the very cosy series.

  2. Dorte: Thanks for the comment. I never thought of Gamache as too good to be true. He had seemed to me a well balanced wise man who was a contrast to the quirky or deeply flawed personalities of many mystery characters. I think you will enjoy the series if you try again. If you are going to read The Brutal Telling and Bury Your Dead they are best read in order and as a two part story.

  3. I should probably give her a second chance :)