Audio Review: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

04 Nov

A Fatal Grace (Three Pines Mysteries, No. 2)My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I find it hard to describe what it is I like so much about this book as well as the first book in the series– difficult enough that I never reviewed Still Life.

Here’s the summary of the book, via Goodreads:

Welcome back to Three Pines where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas…and murder.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is called to investigate a woman’s death, it doesn’t take long for him to realize that no love was lost on Miss de Poitiers. But even if everyone hated her—her husband, lover, and daughter among them—how is it that no one saw her get electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake in the center of town?


Gamache digs beneath the surface of Three Pines to find where the real secrets are buried. But other troubles lie ahead for the detective. It seems he has some enemies of his own…and with the coming of the bitter winter winds, something far more chilling is in store.

I found both of them very comfortable books– not nice books, not cozy books, but books where I just seamlessly slip into their world. The village of Three Pines is a vivid place, with interesting characters.

There is an emphasis on art in both of these books– the first featured a group of painters, and many of these characters continued into A Fatal Grace, which briefly added a designer and photographer to the cast before killing one of them off. I find that this emphasis is reflected in the book as a whole– I have an impression of the characters that seems almost more of a portrait of them rather than knowing them personally. This isn’t a criticism, and it doesn’t mean that they lack depth, any more than a well done painting does.

In many ways, that’s true of the book as a whole. It has all the elements that make for a good story– an engaging plot, the many twists and turns of a well executed mystery, a smart, introspective detective  and intriguing characters. It has a wonderful sense of place as well. I had no problems losing myself in the book for hours.

I already have the next book (The Cruelest Month) loaded on my MP3 player.

Audio Notes

Narrator: Ralph Cosham has a pleasant voice, and does a good, unobtrusive job with the narration.

Production:  Again, unobtrusive is a good word.  The audiobook never called attention to itself.

Audio or Print: I’m going to say something that sounds odd to me at first:  I think I prefer the audio for these books because they are so visual.  Since I don’t normally picture a book as I read (and I don’t with these, either) listening gives me a little more mental brain space to visualize as I go along.

I suspect this book works well in any format.

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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in books, reviews


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