Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Fatal Grace and The Cruelest Month

Title: A Fatal Grace and The Cruelest Month
Author: Louise Penny
Series: A Chief Inspector Gamache, books 2 & 3
Genre: Mystery
Published: 2007 and 2008
Rating: 8/10

I have gotten into the Gamache series in the past week. After Still Life, I wanted to learn more about Gamache and hence picked up A Fatal Grace. It was an enjoyable read, set in the same little town of Three Pines and featuring many of the same characters who were in Still Life.

The book also introduces some new members of the cast. There is a new investigator working with Gamache and we also meet some of the other residents of the Three Pines. I enjoyed the additions, but I was also very happy to see that the characters who made the first book memorable were present as well.

We also get to learn more about the Arnot case in book 2, which is a mystery in itself, independent of the murders Gamache investigates. I rather like how there's this other thread between all these books dealing with Surete politics. In fact, the reason I picked up The Cruelest Month immediately upon finishing A Fatal Grace is because I wanted to know what would happen in this larger over-arching mystery.

The plots of the two books are reasonably distinct and interesting as mysteries. In A Fatal Grace I did figure out who the murderer is before it is revealed, but in The Cruelest Month my guess turned out to be incorrect. Still, the fast paced narrative kept me reading through the books really fast.

Altogether, I enjoyed these two books even more than the first one. I think having gotten used to Louise Penny's narrative style, I found it much more enjoyable to read about these characters whom I already knew, their personal growths, and their sense of the world. There's a surprising amount of personal philosophy discussed by the characters and I really liked that as well. Definitely recommended for anyone who likes cozy mysteries.


  1. I'm glad you've been sucked in. These first three books definitely need to be read close together to get that overall arc finished. I think the books truly do get better with each release. The next one is a bit stand-alone in comparison to these and then another short story arc happens and my favorite two books so far are 5 and 6. Wow! You've got some great reading ahead of you.

    1. Excited! A series that gets better with time is unusual. I am on book 4 now and I think I am seriously hooked!

  2. When it comes time to read A Brutal Telling (which is I think book 5) you are going to want to have Bury Your Dead in hand. Trust me. :)

    1. This is the beauty of reading these on kindle. Purchases get made and started on at 3am in the morning. Love the immediate book delivery.

    2. Me too. I bought the new Star Wars book by Timothy Zahn on New Year's Eve and in the wee hours of New Year's Day, before I went to bed, I had read a couple of chapters.