Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What is Louise Penny reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Louise Penny, author of Bury Your Dead and other Chief Inspector Gamache novels.

Her entry begins:
Right now, beside my bed, I have a splayed Ngaio Marsh. The Fontana paperback cover from 1977 shows an elderly man in white tie and tails slumped in the back of a car, a nasty wound on his head. I think he's dead. The book's called Death in a White Tie and was first published in 1938, so it's time travel as well. Back to pre-WW2 London. That alone is fascinating. The pages are quite brown now from age - and the style is showing its age as well. I loved Ngaio Marsh as a teenager. While she herself was a New Zealander, she set most of her books in Britain. Her series hero is Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn. I admit to having had a bit of a crush on him. And to Mrs. Marsh's credit, as the series progressed, so did Alleyn, eventually getting married (to Troy) and having at least one child.

But while there's a definite charm to the book its power for me is pure nostalgia - still a formidable attraction. The writing is stilted and sort of silly. The victim - Lord Robert - is called Bunchy and is described as a 'pet'. Alleyn himself is more than a little annoying at times, calling his solid second in command nick names that are a little too precious. There is not...[read on]
Among the early praise for Bury Your Dead:
"Few writers in any genre can match Penny's ability to combine heartbreak and hope..."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Penny’s first five novels in her Armand Gamache series have all been outstanding, but her latest is the best yet, a true tour de force of storytelling…. Penny hits every note perfectly in what is one of the most elaborately constructed and remarkably moving mysteries in years."
--Booklist (starred review)

"Gamache's excruciating grief over a wrong decision, Beauvoir's softening toward the unconventional, a plot twist so unexpected it's chilling, and a description of Québec intriguing enough to make you book your next vacation there, all add up to a superior read. Bring on the awards."
--Kirkus (starred review)

"Superb...brilliantly provocative and will appeal to fans of literary fiction, as well as to mystery lovers."
--Library Journal (starred review)
Visit Louise Penny's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Louise Penny & Trudy.

Writers Read: Louise Penny.

--Marshal Zeringue