Archive for the ‘Richard Jury’ Category

I was going to start my review of The Nature of the Beast by by Louse Penny by saying that the plot of the book was TheNatureOfTheBeastsomewhat out there, not quite believable. That is until I read Ms. Penny’s Author’s Note at the end of the book which states that the basics of the book are historically true. So, Ms. Penny has woven an interesting fictional story around a true set of circumstances…which somehow makes it even more unbelievable.

Nine year old Laurent Lapage is the classic ‘boy who cries wolf’. He is constantly running through the idyllic village of Three PInes with the most outrageous stories of monsters and wolves and threats to the village. So when he runs into Olivier and Gabri’s bistro shouting about a huge gun, bigger than a house or a building with monsters all over it, no one believes him. Instead, Armand Gamache drives him home. When his dead body turns up a day later, the town is shocked. The coroner ruled it an accident…Laurent fell off his bike and hit his head. However, Gamache suspects foul play for several reasons and is soon proven right.

As I’ve probably said before, reading an Inspector Gamache story is almost like coming home. Three Pines is an idyllic setting. The characters have become your friends. It is reminiscent of the Martha Grimes Richard Jury series. You enjoy going home and seeing old friends. You truly never want to leave.

A Louise Penny story always has the right combination of town camaraderie as well as town secrets and intrigue. No one is what they appear to be. They have dark interiors. As Gamache mentions, since most Three Pines residents are transplants, does anyone really and truly know anyone else?

For an immensely enjoyable combination of police procedural, small town idiosyncrasies and a well written story, the latest Louise Penny offering, The Nature of the Beast, is my recommendation.

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LongWayHomeFor some reason I think I’ve read a Inspector Gamache mystery before but have no record of it. The Long Way Home got excellent reviews and I thought I’d give it a try. It was well worth the read.

One of the best ways to describe the Gamache mysteries is it is the Canadian version of Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury mysteries with Gamache being Jury and his entourage emulating Jury’s. Instead of the ever present dog in the Jury mysteries, there is a duck in Gamache’s. It is the same type of read, though.

Gamache has retired to the small Canadian town of Three Pines to recoup after a serious case. After walking with his wife and his dog each morning, he sits on a park bench overlooking the valley and reads from a small book…but he never progresses in the book.

Each morning, also, his artist neighbor Clara sits beside him and all the townspeople wonder why because they don’t converse. One day she gets up the nerve to talk to him. It seems slightly over a year ago she and her husband, Peter, also an artist, took a break from each other. They agreed that one year from the date of the breakup they would meet and reevaluate. But Peter hasn’t shown up, which is very unlike him.

This statement and request for assistance ultimately involves Gamache, his wife Reine-Marie, his son-in-law Jean-Guy also a police officer, Clara, and neighbors Ruth and Myrna. It’s interesting because the characters talk about art and muses. They visit the small scenic villages that you picture in Canada and England. The plot takes some unusual and unpredictable twists. With 50 pages left, there’s no violence.

Once I got started, I read the book for the characters, not the plot. Poet Ruth is a blast–sort of like Melrose Plant’s aunt Lady Agatha in the Grimes’ series.

Martha Grimes fans and Louise Penny fans should switch books because if you like one, you’ll surely like the other. A totally enjoyable read.

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Vertigo42There’s comfort food such as chicken soup when you’re feeling ill or hot apple pie with ice cream when you’re sad or hot chocolate on a cold night. What about the concept of a comfort book? Sort of like a best friend who you may see once every two or three years, but every time you meet it feels like yesterday. So, what about a comfort book?  It’s been four years since Martha Grimes wrote her last Richard Jury mystery, The Black Cat, but now we have a new one, Vertigo 42 and it’s like old friends coming back to visit. The old crew is back.

Like all Jury mysteries, it contains dogs, children, and his friends Carole-anne Palutski, Melrose Plant, Marshall Trueblood, Vivian Rivington and Diane Demorney, as well as Plant’s aunt Agatha. They seem to have been relegated to the backseat though, having much smaller roles than I remember in previous books. However, Jury’s Sergeant Wiggins seems a little smarter than he did four years ago.

Twenty two years ago a young girl was attending a party, fell into an empty in-ground swimming pool and died. Seventeen years ago, the hostess of the above party fell down a flight of stairs and died. Presently, a young woman fell out of a tower and died. Are all of these incidents related? Even though Superintendent Jury is on vacation, he gets involved in the investigation.

As are all Richard Jury books, Vertigo 42 is a satisfying read. The title is taken from a bar atop a building in London, a slight deviation from the pub-originated titles of the previous books, but still somewhat related.

I will say that the story was a little obtuse, hard to follow the connection at times. Also, in previous books Jury interacted with young children and dogs, whereas this book merely talks about them. I miss that. There was a certain satisfaction that came from these interactions. It put a smile on my face.

One thing I found fascinating (which I don’t remember thinking about before) was that a female author has created a male character that notices things a woman would notice. Grimes’ description of clothing and rooms, wallpaper, furniture is certainly not how this man would describe them. I didn’t mind this…I just noticed it.

Don’t get me wrong. I really liked Vertigo 42 and am still a Richard Jury fan, but something just seemed absent from this outing.

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