Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Normally I am a stickler for reading series in order. However, much as I loved Still Life and A Fatal Grace, Louise Penny's first and second books in her Armand Gamache/Three Pines mystery series, set in rural Quebec near Montreal, I never read any of the others...until I was searching my library's audio collection for something to listen to and spotted A Great Reckoning, #12 in the series.

Throwing caution to the winds, I downloaded it and never looked back. Penny does a fabulous job of filling me in on what happened between #3 and #11, and this really is a stand-alone novel.

And, let me tell, it was absolutely fabulous. The whole time I kept on thinking of Harry Potter--not sure whether it was the setting (the Sûreté Academy, aka police academy), the supporting characters (students and professors), the mysterious map that figures prominently in the whodunit, or all of the above.

It was enormously fun to read--I adore the inhabitants of Three Pines, starting with Armand and his lovely wife Reine-Marie, but also Gabri and Olivier, Myrna, Ruth, and Clara--and the mystery was good, with sufficient red herrings, snatches of poetry  (ancient and modern), philosophical and ethical quandaries and musings, and just the right amount of danger.

It wasn't an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but I quite enjoyed the forays into orienteering, map-making, and WWI from the Canadian perspective.

Now, I'm thinking rather than back-tracking and reading #3-#11, I will just plunge forward since Penny has also published #13 and #14.


  1. This sounds very good. I think that my wife would like this series and I will send a link to it to her. I must admit that I also am a fanatic about reading series in order.

  2. I still haven't read this series. I want to, but other things...books...keep getting in the way. Maybe this year! :)

  3. I hear you on having trouble reading series out of order! Me too. :D

    I have only read Still Life, which I liked but found to be an odd blend of cozy and procedural. I am not sure if that is typical for the series or if it is something I would get used to. But I am definitely going to read try one or two of her books to make sure.

  4. This is encouraging as I've been put off from reading her books as I haven't read any of the earlier ones.

  5. This sounds like a great book! I've wanted to read a Louise Penny book, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I need to move her up my pile!!

  6. I need to pick up a Louise Penny book. They sound engaging and fun. I will likely start at the beginning. Just to get a sense of the characters.

  7. I read the first Penny and thought it was only fine. Maybe I should persevere. I read the first Deborah Crombie about the same time and although I did not think it was as good as books later in the series, I love her characters and am crazy about this series. I made them last (unusual for me when I find an author) and have only now read all the way up to (I think) 17. I think you would like them. I don't think the first one, A Share in Death, is on audio but many of them are.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation--I really enjoy reading series and am always on the lookout for the next one that will capture my heart!