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, July 21, 2013

“P” is for Louise Penny as Movie Producer

Nathaniel Parker and Louise Penny
Canadian author, Louise Penny, has gained fame as the author of the Inspector Armand Gmache series with most of the books set in the fictional village of Three Pines in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Last year she also became a movie producer. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), PDM Entertainment and Attraction Images purchased the rights to make a movie of Still Life, the first book in the series which won a group of awards - Arthur Ellis, Dagger, Anthony, Barry and Dilys. Penny is one of four executive producers.

Penny had previously declined offers from companies that wanted to create a T.V. series using her characters. In a CBC interview she said:

“I just couldn't do that. I couldn't let them do whatever they wanted with these characters: Gamache, Clara, Ruth. These characters really seem alive to me."

In the same interview Penny provided a comment on the filming that included a remark about continuing character, Clara Morrow, an artist who has gained an increasingly important role in the books:

"The first day they were on set — when I saw Nathaniel Parker as Gamache and Kate Hewlett as Clara Morrow, who is actually me — I cried. I couldn't believe they were alive."

I had not known that the sensitive and talented Clara was Penny.

Having watched what A & E has done with the charcters of Craig Johnson in the T.V. series Longmire I can appreciate her concern over how film makers will treat her characters. While I like Longmire overall I like the characters in the books better than the T.V. series.

I was glad that she was able to insist that the filming be done in Quebec. It adds to a show to be filmed in the location in which it is set.

What did surprise me is that Armand Gamache will be portrayed by an English actor, Nathaniel Parker, who played Inspector Lynley in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. He is not my image of Gamache.

I expect I am prejudiced that the producers did not choose a Canadian actor, especially a Quebec actor, to play Gamache who is a deeply Quebecois character in the books. I appreciate film makers should choose the best actors for roles but I will have to be convinced that Parker is right for the role.

The same group of companies who made Still Life have the rights to make a movie of the second book in the series, Dead Cold. The cautious Penny has not sold the rights to the third book. She wants to see how the movies of Still Life and Dead Cold turn out.

The CBC plans to air Still Life this fall. I am looking forward to watching the movie. I shall do my best to approach it with an open mind.
This post in my entry for "P" in that Alphabet in Crime Fiction hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise. Please drop over and see both the other entries and the many fascinating posts she has on her blog.


  1. Thanks, Bill, for sharing this. I know precisely what you mean about choosing Nathaniel Parker as Gamache. We'll have to see how that goes. But I am very pleased that Penny will be so involved in this filming. I'll be really interested to see how it all goes.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope it will be a good movie. I really liked the book.

  3. Bill, thanks for writing about this. I hope Nathaniel Parker eventually lives up to your image of Armand Gamache. I am more often than not prejudiced about actors who play characters from the books I have read.

  4. Bill, I really enjoyed this post. I agree that the actor should have been from Quebec or at least Canadian, but I hope that Parker will do a good job. This was all so interesting and I hope that the film is well done and successful.

  5. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I will try hard to let Parker impress me. I did like him as Lynley.

  6. TracyK.: Thanks for the comment. With few Canadian mysteries made into movies I am hoping it will be a great success.

  7. The Still Life TV movie is on CBC tonight at 8:00. Hope you enjoy!

  8. Nathaniel Parker is an excellent choice! As Ms. Penny has said, Gamache learned British English and thus speaks that language with a British accent. Also Parker is a very talented actor and we have really enjoyed his work. Lastly, Canadians excel at documentaries but I cringe at their dramatic productions, even with a good actor. I really hope this series is done well; it's a thankless task to try to capture mental images from a book in real life. The only time I've ever seen it done really well is with Joan Hickson as Miss Marple...