I love a good mystery. As a pre-teen, The Westing Game was one of my favorite books. Several years ago, when I got my first Kindle, the Complete Sherlock Holmes was my first purchase. (You can still get it for $2.99!) I adore Agatha Christie. So, when saw Still LIfe by Louise Penny on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 5 Book Summer Reading Guide, I was intrigued. I read the initial book in the series and fell head first down the rabbit hole.
Louise Penny’s writing is lovely. Her characters are compelling and her mysteries leave you guessing until the final chapters. Her ability to weave together the threads of multiple stories is really fascinating. The way she draws in ancient literature and history gets me every time (particularly in book #6, Bury Your Dead). And her descriptions of food and the Quebec countryside leave me hungry and contemplating vacationing in Canada every time.
But perhaps my favorite thing about Penny’s novels is that they just keep getting better and pulling me back in. I’m currently reading The Beautiful Mystery, book #8, and while there is a rhythm to her stories, they are not formulaic. I love the way she develops the characters and their relationships across the books. I just cannot recommend them highly enough. The murder mysteries are thought provoking without being overly graphic. There is some explicit language, but half of it doesn’t count because it’s in French and most of the rest is appropriately spoken by the aging curmudgeon poet, Ruth. And the one Canadian I’ve spoken to about the series said it represents Quebecoise culture well. What more could you want?
Do you have a favorite mystery book/series/author?