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A Rule Against Murder (Armand Gamache Series #4) [NOOK Book]

Overview


“What happened here last night isn’t allowed,” said Madame Dubois.
It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.
“You have a rule against murder?” he asked.
“I do.  When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact....Everything ...

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A Rule Against Murder (Armand Gamache Series #4)

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Overview


“What happened here last night isn’t allowed,” said Madame Dubois.
It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.
“You have a rule against murder?” he asked.
“I do.  When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact....Everything that stepped foot on this land would be safe.”

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.
The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.



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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Selection of Barnes & Noble Recommends
This brilliant drawing-room mystery by an Agatha and Anthony Award–winning author features flawless plotting and slyly calibrated clues.

When a genteel family gathering at Quebec's sumptuous lakefront Manoir Bellechasse terminates with a brutal homicide, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache interrupts his own holiday to find the culprit. It takes only a few pokes at the Finney family tree to bring down a full bushel of suspects: Vicious sibling rivalries and jealousies seem to be festering everywhere. As usual, Gamache, "the 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot," stays on top of the case, ferreting out wrongdoers as he moves closer to identifying the killer.
Marilyn Stasio
Louise Penny applies her magic touch to A Rule Against Murder, giving the village mystery an elegance and depth not often seen in this traditional genre. Although Penny is no slouch at constructing a whodunit puzzle, her great skill is her ability to create a charming mise-en-scene and inhabit it with complex characters.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Celebrated British narrator and actor Ralph Cosham brings this wonderful murder mystery to life and draws in listeners with his charisma. Penny's taut, darkly comedic tale features the Finney family, which has gathered for the installation of a statue of their long-dead patriarch. When the statue falls and kills one of his daughters, Insp. Armand Gamache (Cosham at his very best) must unravel the plot before it's too late. Cosham's characters are refreshingly original and never overplayed, and the Old World quality of his voice invokes radio murder mysteries from decades past, creating an endlessly entertaining listening experience. A Minotaur hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 10). (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Agatha Award-winning author Penny's (www.louisepenny.com) fourth "Three Pines" mystery—following The Cruelest Month(2008), also available from Blackstone Audio—will captivate those listeners new to the series as well as devoted series followers. A murder intrudes on an anniversary celebration at a remote luxury inn in Quebec, and, in classic drawing-room style, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache can look only to the family and hotel staff for suspects. Listeners to Ralph Cosham's (The Master) exquisite reading will not be surprised to learn he's won three Listen Up Awards from Publishers Weekly. Highly recommended. [Audio clip available through www.blackstoneaudio.com; the Minotaur: St. Martin's hc, a New York Times best seller, received a starred review, LJ12/08.—Ed.]—Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., Garrettsville, OH


—Beth Farrell
Kirkus Reviews
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie's annual celebration of their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse is rudely disturbed by murder. Bellechasse, that resplendent former home of Robber Barons, is a legendary log lodge located on a lake close to the Quebecois village of Three Pines, home to the Gamaches' artist friends Peter and Clara Morrow. The Gamaches' fellow guests, all relatives of Peter and Clara, include the chilly Morrow matriarch, now Mrs. Finney; her oldest son Tom and his constantly carping wife; her lovely daughter Julia, who's serving her financier husband with divorce papers in jail; and her ragtag daughter Marianna and her androgynous child Bean. As at all the best family reunions, the relatives, who rarely speak to each other, break their silence only to hurl words like knives. Their relations grow even chillier when Julia is crushed by a recently placed statue of her father and Gamache and his team call it murder. In a case reminiscent of classic Christie, sagacious, intuitive, patient Gamache finds the family and staff the only suspects, but they're more than enough. Digging into the family's background reveals many petty secrets, some nasty. Meantime, sated perhaps with attacks on each other, the Morrows turn on Gamache when they discover his father railed against World War II and became a conscientious objector. This latest treat in the series (The Cruelest Month, 2008, etc.) will keep fans salivating in anticipation, savoring each delectable morsel and yearning for more.
From the Publisher
Acclaim for the Award-Winning Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries

“If you don’t give your heart to Gamache, you may have no heart to give.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With its small-town hominess, the Canadian village of Three Pines draws the reader into its quaint traditions.Who wouldn’t be charmed by the dramas of a community where Easter egg hunts and socials at the bed and breakfast are the most exciting events? Yet it is Penny’s fastidious, cultured, and smart Inspector Gamache who makes [The Cruelest Month] impossible to put down.” —People

“The cozy mystery has a graceful practitioner in Louise Penny.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Expertly plotted… Arthur Ellis Award—winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants, and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a twenty-first-century version of Hercule Poirot.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Mystery readers who want more than puzzles and thrills look for serious purpose and literary value, and Canadian writer Louise Penny provides both in spades—and hearts.” --Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Penny’s plotting has been compared to Agatha Christie’s...in these wonderful books full of poetry and weather and a brooding manor house, and people who read and think and laugh and eat a lot of really excellent food. Move over, Mitford.” —The Charlotte Observer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429945370
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 1/20/2009
  • Series: Armand Gamache Series , #4
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 5,927
  • File size: 627 KB

Meet the Author

Louise  Penny

LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of ten Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

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Read an Excerpt


One

In the height of summer the guests descended on the isolated lodge by the lake, summoned to the Manoir Belle-chasse by identical vellum invitations, addressed in the familiar spider scrawl as though written in cobwebs. Thrust through mail slots, the heavy paper had thudded to the floor of impressive homes in Vancouver and Toronto, and a small brick cottage in Three Pines.

The mailman had carried it in his bag through the tiny Quebec village, taking his time. Best not to exert yourself in this heat, he told himself, pausing to remove his hat and wipe his dripping head. Union rules. But the actual reason for his lethargy wasn’t the beating and brilliant sun, but something more private. He always lingered in Three Pines. He wandered slowly by the perennial beds of roses and lilies and thrusting bold foxglove. He helped kids spot frogs at the pond on the green. He sat on warm fieldstone walls and watched the old village go about its business. It added hours to his day and made him the last courier back to the terminal. He was mocked and kidded by his fellows for being so slow and he suspected that was the reason he’d never been promoted. For two decades or more he’d taken his time. Instead of hurrying, he strolled through Three Pines talking to people as they walked their dogs, often joining them for lemonade or thé glacé outside the bistro. Or café au lait in front of the roaring fire in winter.

Sometimes the villagers, knowing he was having lunch at the bistro, would come by and pick up their own mail. And chat for a moment. He brought news from other villages on his route, like a travelling minstrel in medieval times, with news of plague or war or flood, someplace else. But never here in this lovely and peaceful village. It always amused him to imagine that Three Pines, nestled among the mountains and surrounded by Canadian forest, was disconnected from the outside world. It certainly felt that way. It was a relief.

And so he took his time. This day he held a bundle of envelopes in his sweaty hand, hoping he wasn’t marring the perfect, quite lovely thick paper of the top letter. Then the handwriting caught his eye and his pace slowed still further. After decades as a mail carrier he knew he delivered more than just letters. In his years, he knew, he’d dropped bombs along his route. Great good news: children born, lotteries won, distant, wealthy aunts dead. But he was a good and sensitive man, and he knew he was also the bearer of bad news. It broke his heart to think of the pain he sometimes caused, especially in this village.

He knew what he held in his hand now was that, and more. It wasn’t, perhaps, total telepathy that informed his certainty, but also an unconscious ability to read handwriting. Not simply the words, but the thrust behind them. The simple, mundane three- line address on the envelope told him more than where to deliver the letter. The hand was old, he could tell, and infirm. Crippled not just by age, but by rage. No good would come from this thing he held. And he suddenly wanted to be rid of it.

His intention had been to wander over to the bistro and have a cold beer and a sandwich, chat with the owner Olivier and see if anyone came for their mail, for he was also just a little bit lazy. But suddenly he was energized. Astonished villagers saw a sight unique to them, the postman hurrying. He stopped and turned and walked briskly away from the bistro, toward a rusty mailbox in front of a brick cottage overlooking the village green. As he opened the mouth of the box it screamed. He couldn’t blame it. He thrust the letter in and quickly closed the shrieking door. It surprised him that the battered metal box didn’t gag a little and spew the wretched thing back. He’d come to see his letters as living things, and the boxes as kinds of pets. And he’d done something terrible to this particular box. And these people.

Had Armand Gamache been blindfolded he’d have known exactly where he was. It was the scent. That combination of woodsmoke, old books and honeysuckle.

"Monsieur et Madame Gamache, quel plaisir." Clementine Dubois waddled around the reception desk at the Manoir Bellechasse, skin like wings hanging from her outstretched arms and quivering so that she looked like a bird or a withered angel as she approached, her intentions clear. Reine-Marie Gamache met her, her own arms without hope of meeting about the substantial woman. They embraced and kissed on each cheek. When Gamache had exchanged hugs and kisses with Madame Dubois she stepped back and surveyed the couple. Before her she saw Reine-Marie, short, not plump but not trim either, hair graying and face settling into the middle years of a life fully lived. She was lovely without being actually pretty. What the French called soignée. She wore a tailored deep blue skirt to mid- calf and a crisp white shirt. Simple, elegant, classic.

The man was tall and powerfully built. In his mid- fifties and not yet going to fat, but showing evidence of a life lived with good books, wonderful food and leisurely walks. He looked like a professor, though Clementine Dubois knew he was not that. His hair was receding and where once it had been wavy and dark, now it was thinning on top and graying over the ears and down the sides where it curled a little over the collar. He was clean- shaven except for a trim moustache. He wore a navy jacket, khaki slacks and a soft blue shirt, with tie. Always immaculate, even in the gathering heat of this late June day. But what was most striking were his eyes. Deep, warm brown. He carried calm with him as other men wore cologne.

"But you look tired."

Most innkeepers would have exclaimed, "But you look lovely." "Mais, voyons, you never change, you two." Or even, "You look younger than ever," knowing how old ears never tire of hearing that.

But while the Gamaches’ ears couldn’t yet be considered old, they were tired. It had been a long year and their ears had heard more than they cared to. And, as always, the Gamaches had come to the Manoir Bellechasse to leave all that behind. While the rest of the world celebrated the New Year in January, the Gamaches celebrated at the height of summer, when they visited this blessed place, retreated from the world, and began anew.

"We are a little weary," admitted Reine-Marie, subsiding gratefully into the comfortable wing chair at the reception desk.

"Bon, well we’ll soon take care of that." Now, Madame Dubois gracefully swivelled back behind the desk in a practiced move and sat at her own comfortable chair. Pulling the ledger toward her she put on her glasses. "Where have we put you?"

Armand Gamache took the chair beside his wife and they exchanged glances. They knew if they looked in that same ledger they’d find their signatures, once a year, stretching back to a June day more than thirty years ago when young Armand had saved his money and brought Reine-Marie here. For one night. In the tiniest of rooms at the very back of the splendid old Manoir. Without a view of the mountains or the lake or the perennial gardens lush with fresh peonies and first-bloom roses. He’d saved for months, wanting that visit to be special. Wanting Reine-Marie to know how much he loved her, how precious she was to him.

And so they’d lain together for the first time, the sweet scent of the forest and kitchen thyme and lilac drifting almost visible through the screened window. But the loveliest scent of all was her, fresh and warm in his strong arms. He’d written a love note to her that night. He’d covered her softly with their simple white sheet, then, sitting in the cramped rocking chair, not daring to actually rock in case he whacked the wall behind or barked his shins on the bed in front, disturbing Reine-Marie, he’d watched her breathe. Then on Manoir Bellechasse notepaper he’d written, My love knows no—

How can a man contain such—

My heart and soul have come alive—

My love for you—

All night he wrote and next morning, taped to the bathroom mirror, Reine-Marie found the note.

I love you.

Clementine Dubois had been there even then, massive and wobbly and smiling. She’d been old then and each year Gamache worried he’d call for a reservation to hear an unfamiliar crisp voice say. "Bonjour, Manoir Belle-chasse. Puis-je vous aider?" Instead he’d heard, "Monsieur Gamache, what a plea sure. Are you coming to visit us again, I hope?" Like going to Grandma’s. Albeit a grander grandma’s than he’d ever known.

And while Gamache and Reine-Marie had certainly changed, marrying, having two children and now a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way, Clementine Dubois never seemed to age or diminish. And neither did her love, the Manoir. It was as though the two were one, both kind and loving, comforting and welcoming. And mysteriously and delightfully unchanging in a world that seemed to change so fast. And not always for the better.

"What’s wrong?" Reine-Marie asked, noticing the look on Madame Dubois’s face.

"I must be getting old," she said and looked up, her violet eyes upset. .Gamache smiled reassuringly. By his calculations she must be at least a hundred and twenty.

"If you have no room, don’t worry. We can come back another week," he said. It was only a two- hour drive into the Eastern Townships of Quebec from their home in Montreal.

"Oh, I have a room, but I’d hoped to have something better. When you called for reservations I should have saved the Lake Room for you, the one you had last year. But the Manoir’s full up. One family, the Finneys, has taken the other five rooms. They’re here—"

She stopped suddenly and dropped her eyes to the ledger in an act so wary and uncharacteristic the Gamaches exchanged glances.

"They’re here . . . ?" Gamache prompted after the silence stretched on.

"Well, it doesn’t matter, plenty of time for that," she said, looking up and smiling reassuringly. "I’m sorry about not saving the best room for you two, though."

"Had we wanted the Lake Room, we’d have asked," said Reine-Marie. "You know Armand, this is his one flutter with uncertainty. Wild man."

Clementine Dubois laughed, knowing that not to be true. She knew the man in front of her lived with great uncertainty every day of his life. Which was why she deeply wanted their annual visits to the Manoir to be filled with luxury and comfort. And peace.

"We never specify the room, madame," said Gamache, his voice deep and warm. "Do you know why?"

Madame Dubois shook her head. She’d long been curious, but never wanted to cross- examine her guests, especially this one. "Everyone else does," she said. "In fact, this whole family asked for free upgrades. Arrived in Mercedes and BMWs and asked for upgrades." She smiled. Not meanly, but with some bafflement that people who had so much wanted more.

"We like to leave it up to the fates," he said. She examined his face to see if he was joking, but thought he probably wasn’t. "We’re perfectly happy with what we’re given."

see another day, and always surprised to be here, in this old lodge, by the sparkling shores of this freshwater lake, surrounded by forests and streams, gardens and guests. It was her home, and guests were like family. Though Madame Dubois knew, from bitter experience, you can’t always choose, or like, your family.

"Here it is." She dangled an old brass key from a long keychain. "The Forest Room. It’s at the back, I’m afraid."

Reine-Marie smiled. "We know where it is, merci."

One day rolled gently into the next as the Gamaches swam in Lac Massawippi and went for leisurely walks through the fragrant woods. They read and chatted amicably with the other guests and slowly got to know them.

Up until a few days ago they’d never met the Finneys, but now they were cordial companions at the isolated lodge. Like experienced travellers on a cruise, the guests were neither too remote nor too familiar. They didn’t even know what the others did for a living, which was fine with Armand Gamache.

It was mid- afternoon and Gamache was watching a bee scramble around a particularly blowsy pink rose when a movement caught his attention. He turned in his chaise longue and watched as the son, Thomas, and his wife Sandra walked from the lodge into the startling sunshine. Sandra brought a slim hand up and placed huge black sunglasses on her face, so that she looked a little like a fly. She seemed an alien in this place, certainly not someone in her natural habitat. Gamache supposed her to be in her late fifties, early sixties, though she was clearly trying to pass for considerably less. Funny, he thought, how dyed hair, heavy make- up and young clothes actually made a person look older.

They walked on to the lawn, Sandra’s heels aerating the grass, and paused, as though expecting applause. But the only sound Gamache could hear came from the bee, whose wings were making a muffled raspberry sound in the rose.

Thomas stood on the brow of the slight hill rolling

down to the lake, an admiral on the bridge. His piercing

blue eyes surveyed the water, like Nelson at Trafalgar.

Gamache realized that every time he saw Thomas he

thought of a man preparing for battle. Thomas Finney was

in his early sixties and certainly handsome. Tall and dis

tinguished with gray hair and noble features. But in the

few days they’d shared the lodge Gamache had also noted

a hint of irony in the man, a quiet sense of humor. He was

arrogant and entitled, but he seemed to know it and be

able to laugh at himself. It was very becoming and

Gamache found himself warming to him. Though on this

hot day he was warming to everything, especially the old

Life magazine whose ink was coming off on his sweaty

hands. Looking down he saw, tattooed to his palm, .

Life Backward.

Thomas and Sandra had walked straight past his elderly parents who were lounging on the shaded porch. Gamache marvelled yet again at the ability of this family to make each other invisible. As Gamache watched over his half- moon glasses, Thomas and Sandra surveyed the people dotted around the garden and along the shore of the lake. Julia Martin, the older sister and a few years younger than Thomas, was sitting alone on the dock in an Adirondack chair, reading. She wore a simple white one-piece bathing suit. In her late fifties she was slim and gleamed like a trophy as though she’d slathered herself in cooking oil. She seemed to sizzle in the sun, and with a wince Gamache could imagine her skin beginning to crackle. Every now and then Julia would lower her book and gaze across the calm lake. Thinking. Gamache knew enough about Julia Martin to know she had a great deal to think about.

On the lawn leading down to the lake were the rest of the family, the younger sister Marianna and her child, Bean. Where Thomas and Julia were slim and attractive, Marianna was short and plump and unmistakably ugly. It was as though she was the negative to their positive. Her

clothes seemed to have a grudge against her and either slipped off or scrunched around awkwardly so that she was constantly rearranging herself, pulling and tugging and wriggling.

And yet the child, Bean, was extremely attractive, with long blond hair, bleached almost white in the sun, thick dark lashes and brilliant blue eyes. At that moment Mari-anna appeared to be doing t’ai chi, though with movements of her own making.

"Look, darling, a crane. Mommy’s a crane."

The plump woman stood on one leg, arms reaching for the sky and neck stretched to its limits.

Ten- year- old Bean ignored Mommy and continued to read. Gamache wondered how bored the child must be.

"It’s the most difficult position," Marianna said more loudly than necessary, almost throttling herself with one of her scarves. Gamache had noticed that Marianna’s t’ai chi and yoga and meditations and military calisthenics only happened when Thomas appeared.

Was she trying to impress her older brother, Gamache wondered, or embarrass him? Thomas took a quick glance at the pudgy, collapsing crane and steered Sandra in the other direction. They found two chairs in the shade, alone.

"You’re not spying on them, are you?" Reine-Marie asked, lowering her book to look at her husband.

"Spying is far too harsh. I’m observing."

"Aren’t you supposed to stop that?" Then after a moment she added, "Anything interesting?"

He laughed and shook his head. "Nothing."

"Still," said Reine-Marie, looking around at the scattered Finneys. "Odd family that comes all this way for a reunion then ignores each other."

"Could be worse," he said. "They could be killing each other."

Reine-Marie laughed. "They’d never get close enough to manage it."

Gamache grunted his agreement and realized happily

that he didn’t care. It was their problem, not his. Besides, after a few days together he’d become fond of the Finneys in a funny sort of way.

"Votre thé glacé, madame." The young man spoke French with a delightful English Canadian accent.

"Merci, Elliot." Reine-Marie shaded her eyes from the afternoon sun and smiled at the waiter.

"Un plaisir." He beamed and handed a tall glass of iced tea to Reine-Marie and a perspiring glass of misty lemonade to Gamache, then went off to deliver the rest of his drinks.

"I remember when I was that young," said Gamache wistfully.

"You might have been that young but you were never that—" She nodded toward Elliot as he walked athletically across the manicured lawn in his tailored black slacks and small white jacket snugly fitting his body.

"Oh, God, am I going to have to beat up another suitor?"

"Maybe."

"You know I would." He took her hand.

"I know you wouldn’t. You’d listen him to death."

"Well, it’s a strategy. Crush him with my massive intellect."

"I can imagine his terror."

Gamache sipped his lemonade and suddenly puckered, tears springing to his eyes.

"Ah, and what woman could resist that?" She looked at his fluttering, watering eyes and face screwed into a wince.

"Sugar. Needs sugar," he gasped.

"Here, I’ll ask the waiter."

"Never mind. I’ll do it." He coughed, gave her a mockingly stern gaze and rocked out of the deep and comfortable seat.

Taking his lemonade he wandered up the path from the fragrant gardens and onto the wide veranda, already cooler and shaded from the brunt of the afternoon sun. Bert Finney lowered his book and gazed at Gamache, then smiled and nodded politely.

Excerpted from A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny.
Copyright © 2008 by Louise Penny.
Published in September 2009 by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Reading Group Guide

“What happened here last night isn’t allowed,” said Madame Dubois.

It was such an extraordinary thing to say it stopped the ravenous Inspector Beauvoir from taking another bite of his roast beef on baguette.

“You have a rule against murder?” he asked.

“I do.  When my husband and I bought the Bellechasse we made a pact....Everything that stepped foot on this land would be safe.”

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines. But they’re not alone. The Finney family—rich, cultured, and respectable—has also arrived for a celebration of their own.

The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming. As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body. It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles. The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 138 )
Rating Distribution

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(69)

4 Star

(40)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(4)

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(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 138 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Rule Against Murder

    Louise Penny has created uniquely wonderful characters in chief-inspector Gamache, his wife, and his team of investigators all solving a murder in a wonderful quaint village, Three Pines, which is inhabited by the most interesting group of talented and diverse individuals.

    Three Pines which is located over the border from the USA in Canada, South of Montreal offers some interesting tidbits of history in how the Quebecois look at the English who make up this town.

    Though psychiatry is my profession of 30 plus year with a few of them in forensic psychiatry, I find myself surprised at the outcome of each of the murders. Often in movies or other novels, I find myself a step ahead of the story, but not with Louise Penny's characters, who have all the good/bad qualities or weaknesses found in most human beings. However, the murderer is always a surprise to me and I love reading the rationale behind the selfish choice to kill someone.

    Besides the crime, I have found the daily life of her characters as interesting, diverse, bright, and the town so quaint, that I wish I could visit the Bistro, which is the center of life in Three Pines

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2011

    READ THIS!!!

    I've been reading this series in order (which I strongly recommend!!) and I really loved the chance to get much more intimately acquainted with some of the residents of Three Pines! I truly enjoy the way Louise Penny builds on what she has already revealed with each new story...it allows me to consider the characters as I would my own friends in a similar situation. Much thanks to Louise Penny for the hours of enjoyment and for refreshing my love of reading!!! :)

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Bb Brilliant rilliant

    You'll want to crawl into the book and take tea w/ the characters. Penny is a master storyteller & a weaver of eye-catching characters.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Wonderful Characterization

    Louise Penny has created a fascinating character in Armand Gamache. Each new novel reveals to the reader a bit more about his methods, his integrity, his passion. I am making my way through these books with delight and anticipation. Each story carries its own kernel of universality, suspense and climatic crescendo.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Louise Penny's books get better and better!

    I'm totally hooked on this series of books, I don't know what I'll read when I get to the last one waiting for the next. While reading these books you can't put them down, you can't wait to see how they end and yet you don't want them to end all at the same time!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Another winner!

    This is my favorite series - truly wonderful!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    Louise Penny is awesome! I highly recommend her Gamache books!

    The Armand Gamache series is excellent! Louise Penny has created an excellent group of characters who bring the village of Three Pines to life for readers. I was thrilled to find the first and quickly read the entire series and am dying for more! I recommend that any fan of mysteries or police procedural fiction should check this series out!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 12, 2013

    Excellent

    I'm looking forward to reading this 4th installment. A plot line that was carried but not really explored in the first two books was resolved in book three so I hope we can move on. Love the characters and their development. These are books that you can truly lose yourself in and recommend any in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    Highly Recommended-I quite enjoyed it.

    Louise Penney's stories are set in a small town in Quebec.Having started with her first book,I've become acquainted with all of the characters.The author keeps the reader totally involved in each of their side stories,while eagerly anticipating who the guilty person really could be.
    A Rule Against Murder is her fourth book.Usually,I order the next book before finishing the present one so that I can start right away ;this story had some fascinating family members.I think the only one of the four I'd really like to meet was the one who died.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    Mayabank

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    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    Louise Penny has become my favorite author. After reading her first novel, "Still Life", I was hooked on those delightful people in Three Pines, and the marvelous police inspectors. I recommend all her books, each a treasure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    Enjoyable Read

    I recently discovered this aurthor, really enjoy her books. The characters are quirky, good plots and I enjoy the main detective.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Excellent as always!

    Ok, some of these characters really grated but that just goes to show what an excellent writer Louise Penny is. I like the way Armand Gamache solves mysteries. I love the sense of family and friends in these books. The humaness of people, mistakes and all. These are people who deal, don't deal or completely ignore the world. They show the consequences of our actions and that we must THINK before we act or speak. Armand Gamache does not give up. This is not a Cozy Mystery! Nothing about it is cozy as it forces you to examine actions and reactions of everyday life. You've GOT to read the whole series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Meet Armand's Wife

    I especially like Louise Penny's mysteries because her main character is a normal, married man. In this story about a very disfunctional family it is a pleasure to watch Armand and his wife interact. While on an anniversary trip, the Gamaches are forced to spend time with a very unpleasant family reunion group. A seemingly impossible accident turns into a peculiar method of murder and one of his old friends from Three Pines may be involved.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Agatha Christie....for the next generation!

    Fantastic plot interwoven with strong, three dimensional characters. Ms Penny has created a beautiful world full of character to root for and against.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 13, 2009

    a rule against murder

    Have enjoyed this book as I have all her others in this series. Her plots are off beat and detailed enough that they could discourage the average reader who might not wish to 'invest' in the story. I love her characters and look forward to more of Inspector Gamache and his team.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Interesting and involved.

    As all Louise Penny's books - enjoyable. Makes you think of people and the way they deal with their problems in a new way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A fine Quebec police procedural

    Every summer the Gamache¿s go on vacation together. This year they stay at the luxurious Manoir Bellechasse in Quebec. Chief Inspector Armand especially loves the getaway with his beloved spouse that gives him time away from criminal activities. <BR/><BR/>The only other visitors are the Finney brood celebrating a reunion of sorts at the manor. The family matriarch Irene hosts a gala in tribute to her late husband. The highlight of the festivities is the unveiling of a statue in her spouse¿s honor in the Manoir¿s garden. However, when the statue crumbles off its base it kills one of the middle age adult daughters. Although on vacation, Gamache cannot let it go as an accident; instead he investigates expecting to discover an accident, but instead finds a dysfunctional family who loathe one another. Murder is not out of the question even as the snooty Finney brood insult and scorn the chief inspector for his respectful methodology and worse for his ancestry.<BR/><BR/>Part of the fun in this Quebec police procedural is the disdainful treatment by the haughty Finney family who assume Gamache is an idiot beneath them socially and intellectually; a sort of loose nod to Colombo. The investigation is top rate enhanced by the obvious flaws of the lead character, his wife (who brings some humor with her not again reaction) and the prime suspects. Fans will enjoy the intelligent and dedicated (this time instead of the Surete insisting obstinate, the Finney brood does) Gamache¿s vacation at an isolated resort as he relishes the investigation (see STILL LIFE and THE CRUELEST MONTH).<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    A Rule Against Murder

    My favorite in the series so far.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Bronze

    Pad to camp.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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