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Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Rule Against Murder

Penny, Louise. A Rule Against Murder.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife are on their annual anniversary holiday at Manoir Bellechase. Gamache may have been expecting a relaxing summer retreat, but when one of the guests is murdered, he finds himself involved in the investigation.

This is the first of Louise Penny's novels that I've read and the 4th in this series. It is more complex than a cozy, but still retains some of the characteristics of that genre. Chief Inspector Gamache is a charming man, deeply in love with his wife. With patience and insight, Gamache leads his team as they try to determine motive and murderer.

I liked Gamache, but found the dysfunctional Finney's a bit hard to take. Held together by a twisted thread, their contempt for each other is pervasive. Something about these relationships didn't hold together for me and the concluding pages concerning the siblings didn't resolve my problems.

Nevertheless, something about Gamache and his team and about Penny's writing style helped me overcome my distaste for the mean-spirited Finney family (I did like Bert and Bean), and I enjoyed the mystery, the setting, and all of the other characters. The first three novels in the series will eventually make it to my stacks.

Other reviews of this series: My Random Acts of Reading and Framed.

Fiction. Mystery. 2008. 322 pages.


  1. I've read the other three in the series and enjoyed them. Now I'm looking forward to this one. The other books have been set in a small village named Three Pines, and like most small towns, there are some very interesting characters living there.

  2. I have the first in the series waiting in my TBR collection. I've heard such great things about the series. I am glad you enjoyed this one, even with the less than likable Finney family.

  3. You will enjoy the rest of the series. Gamache is such a great character. I'm looking forward to reading this 4th one even though if the characters of Three PInes are missing.

  4. I saw the name "Finney" and had to stop to see if you were dipping into Jack Finney's books. Ah, well. Not a mystery reader, but it looks like the series is hopeful apart from that annoying Finney family.

  5. Jenclair, I'm glad you picked this one up. I hope you'll read the other books. This one is kind of a respite from the first three and a continuing storyline that appear in those. Each book tells us more and more about Gamache and his team. The Finney's were truly awful weren't they? They were a good contrast to Gamache.

    Thanks for linking to my review.

  6. Across between Maigret and Miss Marple?

  7. Cathy - I'm looking forward to the Three Pines setting; some of the characters make their way into this novel.

    LF -I wish I'd begun with the first one, but I'll get to it eventually!

    Framed - Don't worry, there are a few Three Pines characters and a short visit to Three Pines!

    Kay - I do plan on finding the first in the series and catching up!

    Ian - :) Good call! It has been years since I've read a Christie or a Simenon, but I think there are elements of both Marple and Maigret in Gamache. Maigret was a detective of character and Gamache spends a great deal of time examining the suspects and their motives.

  8. I hope you check out the first ones in the series. I loved those two. Unfortunately I had a hard time getting into the third book but maybe it was just wrong time sort of thing.

  9. iliana - This series has some dedicated fans! Timing can make a big difference, but sometimes, even in a series you like, one book may not appeal.

  10. I finally just picked up the first book in this series, which I hear so much about. You're right--it does seem to have a nice healthy group of fans! I'm looking forward to giving these a try.

  11. Danielle - I particularly like the Canadian setting, and I want to read more about the village of Three Pines where the series begins. Will look for your review.