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I do usually do love visiting Three Pines and all of the quirky townspeople who live there. This book was not my favorite. There was too much going on and I found myself losing interest. It could also be that I had too much going on in my own life and had trouble concentrating. I won't give up on Three Pines though, as long as Penny writes it, I will go along for the ride.
Another quality Penny effort. Gamache has returned to the Surrete but is reviled by many, partially due to a doctored video of a police action. Ethical and political questions must be resolved in the midst of flooding and murder.
Penny is quite a good writer. My only complaint is that she repeartedly mentions the factory shootout in her novels, and more than one time in each novel. I am tired of the factory episode and wish that she would substancially reduce the reference to this episode.
I fully appreciate the last two ratings and agree that the references used with people of colour and the F bomb were an unpleasant surprise and completely unnecessary.
I did find the complex story engaging through to the end.
Being a dog owner and lover and living with my partner with dementia, I was deeply moved by the author's Acknowledgement at the end of the story.
The author's writing demeans and vilifies characters of colour. The story repeatedly references a doctored video of a white police officer shooting black teens, underscoring it was fake. Will not read this author again - too disgusted.
I'd say I DNF'd this, but I didn't even start. Word to the wise, most of the authors I've read actually wait until after the first page (usually once the reader's somewhat invested) to start dropping F-bombs. How is this anybody's bestseller?
Worst. Book. Blind Date. Ever.
Wonderful to have Gamache back at the Sûreté du Québec. Complicated mystery. Always a pleasure to visit the citizens of Three Pines. Kristi & Abby Tabby
This was my first read of this series, and coming to it at #15 makes me a bit late to the party. Nevertheless, I felt the book worked well as a stand-alone and I was able to pick up on what had gone before in the series. The characters were completely human – decent, complex – and seemed to be a product of their small town setting. I suspect the characterization would have been more jaded and hard-edged had they lived in a large city. I got quite engaged in the plot until near the end where there were so many twists, turns and backtrackings that it felt like Penny was trying to stretch it out. Ultimately my credibility quotient was stretched with the final outcome.
Absolutely love getting back in touch with Armand Gamache and all the great inhabitants of Three Pines. Another great read by Penny. It will be hard to wait another year for her next book to find out what happens to everyone.
Loved this one. I had my ideas about whodunnit, but we're kept guessing, there are so many ways for people to do bad things to each other.
I loved Penny's heroic description of an extreme weather event, describing things to come, a hundred-year flood every 2 years. We need more artists telling us what to expect, how to react, how to treat each other in crisis.
I am unencumbered with preconceptions about Quebecoise (?!) French pronunciation and spelling or misspelling. (Misspelt...?!?) But then, I listen to the audio books, read by one (two!) of the best book readers out there. Needless fowl language, well, it seems to me that the speech patterns of various individuals are pretty realistic. But I ain't got it piled higher or deeper, just an MS... I would like to know more about Billy's dialect that Armand can't understand. Reminds me of my friend, Guy Ray, from rural Al'bama; took me almost a year to not need his speech decoded for me. (BTW, listening to the first audio books, I imagined Jonghi to be Pakistani.)
After loving Louise Penny's books, this one is a disappointment - pages of overwrought sentiments on character's emotions which have already been dealt with to excess in previous books. Refer to it, but let's move on. The mystery itself is blah and only gains momentum at the very end. Louise Penny writes so well and has incorporated beautiful insights about art and poetry into her books; but I may not be able to stomach her books in the future if she continues in this vein.
I have enjoyed many in the series particularly because that's my neck of the woods. But the foul language is superfluous and the French often misspelt. And they stop the flow of good read. I still read 'Marie-Reine' in my head because that is the usual format for a woman's name.
It concerns me that the reviews point to her changing her writing style otherwise. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best!
As much as I have always enjoyed visiting my friends in Three Pines, this time I left feeling a bit disappointed. After what felt like unnecessary wanderings down too many paths only to finish with a disappointing, last minute tidying up of many loose ends made for an emotional let down. Perhaps next visit will be better?
Thought this was one her better Gamache books. Her books may be “twee” but I love revisiting “my friends” in Three Pines, especially on a winter night.
Can't wait for the next book - I want to live in Three Pines. Foodies winter paradise.
Have you ever had a word you didn't even know you knew, pop into your head? While I was reading A Better Man, the word "twee" kept floating around in my brain. I looked it up. It is actually a word and means, according to the Collins Dictionary, "excessively sentimental, sweet, or pretty." And unfortunately, it fits A Better Man to a T. Along with "plotless" and "tired."
In the opening pages we are subjected to a "Gamache moment" that encompasses the increasing problem of his character. First someone will misunderstand how brilliant, compassionate and faithful Gamache is. Then that person will be set straight by others, or circumstances, to realize that yes, Gamache really is that brilliant, compassionate and faithful, with a side of rose and sandalwood. Only this time it isn't just one person, it appears that the entire internet is ablaze with hate for Gamache. They misunderstand him. They doctor videos of him. Is there any resolution there? Any lesson to be learned? There is not. And it isn't only Gamache. The entire village of Three Pines is varnished with the same saccharine brushstrokes. These characters and places we love have become caricatures of themselves.
The murder mystery itself is pretty good and would have made quite an interesting short story, but there was so much else going on, that I actually had to go back and reread the denouement because I had already forgotten who had done it and why. Most of the book feels like rabbit trails. An analysis of social media? Dropped. Clara's art career? Handled almost as unbelievably as the drug situation in her last novel. The flood of the century? Disappears mid-novel with no further mention. Looking back at my thoughts on the book, I think it is fair to say that her editors allowed Penny to wallow in every overly-sentimental trough to which she has been drawn in the past, and it didn't do her any favors. The first moment she decided she wanted to use an excerpt from Moby Dick as her running motif, the editors should have pulled hard on the reins. Instead we're left with this overdrawn, overblown story, the inverse of Clara's hated miniature portraits. I can only hope that like Clara, Penny will realize she's put out a novel unworthy of her talents and correct course.
What isn't there to like about Armand Gamache, Beauvoir, and the team, as well as favourite inhabitants of Three Pines. Right when you think the story will end, there is another 1/2 book more as evidence is thrown out of court. Back to the grindstone for our favorite homicide detectives. Engaging, fast paced, and room for another book to follow as Beauvoir and Annie make plans to move to Paris.
I got through the book but with all the short, choppy, non-grammatical sentences I almost felt short of breath reading it. So annoying.
Several reviewers didn't like this installment in Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I thought it was one of her best. While there was some politics etc. Most of the time spent on an actual crime and trying to solve it. I did figure out who had dunnit but there were lots of twists and turns getting there. I loved it. Kind of getting back to basics. I love the author's aphorisms. In this book we learned three questions you should ask yourself before speaking: "is it true?" "is it kind?" "does it need to be said?". Wise words. Also as for how it turned out I could not help thinking of Captain Kirk's decision to take a demotion so he could be captain of the Enterprise again. It leaves a feeling that all's right with the world.
didn't finish. was slow and too many random french words just to point out that french is spoken in quebec
I was SO disappointed by this book. I have loved this series, and have been looking forward to "A Better Man" for months, and it was just such a let-down.
Her writing style seemed to change, and this book is filled with sentences. Broken up. Into multiple sentences. For no reason. So, so many sentence fragments. I do that occasionally, in texts, to emphasize a point, but doing it constantly throughout the book makes the technique lose all sense of emphasis and just gets really annoying.
Also (and this is maybe just me?), some of the story line just didn't make sense. Yes, having a young woman who's pregnant get abused and then killed is terrible, but it is not remotely the most terrible thing that these cops have seen. And yet, they all immediately take it personally and see it as something so horrible that they are unable to be unbiased. It just didn't seem to be in character.
It was a fine book. If I hadn't read any of her other books, I would probably have not been as annoyed and disappointed. I just expected so much more.
Another great trip to Three Pines at the beginning of a major flood. Parts of the plot just did not make sense to me. The discussion of the deterrent of the flood province wide was not followed up. I could do with less duck and foul language, but enjoyed the story.
louise penny makes me want to go out and get a dog (high praise for those who know me and that I inadvertently was adopted by a cat.) some other reviewers had issues with the murder, some with the sentence structure, I was still enthralled with the people and their deep affection for one another. wouldn't have minded more meal descriptions, though.