Friday, February 24, 2012

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Canadian writer Louise Penny does it again.  This book, Bury Your Dead, took me on a wild ride.  There were  three stories going on in the one book. One was a murder mystery set in the village of Three Pines; a continuation from the last book in the series, Brutal Telling. That murder investigation was led by a reluctant Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir and guided by the omnipresent hand or maybe I should say the mind of Gamache.  The other mystery occurred in the past but was haunting Gamache in the present as he tried to solve the murder of an unlikeable Archaeologist in the anglo-operated library of the Literary and Historical Society (Lit and His) in the city of Quebec.  Interwoven in the Quebec murder mystery is the history of Quebec and the animosity between the francophones and the anglophones.  The Battles of the Plains of Abraham and Samuel de Champlain are mentioned throughout the telling of the Quebec portion of the story.

The theme in the story had to do with letting go of grief, loss, and lies.  There were all kinds of loss in the story: loss of friendship, loss of voice, loss of the dead body of a historical figure.  The writing is really good caused me to be on edge.  I was eager to get to the end to see who the murderer was in each of the three stories and the motive for the mayhem. 

The strength of Louise Penny's writings is the quirky characters.   Grumpy Ruth the poet, Clara the artist, and Myrna the black retired Psychologist who owns a book store reappear in the story.  There were equally quirky characters on the Board of the Lit and His; the librarian who thinks she is fluent in French and the man who spoke in a whisper, for examples. The very odd, annoying, but smart agent Yvette Nichol made a brief appearance in this story.  She's been stuck in an office where she has been forced to learn to acquire effective listening skills. I am hoping she will appear in the next Penny mystery, A Trick of the Light.

Read a little of Louise Penny's blog here.

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