Who spilled the maple syrup?: Reading the mystery novel “A Trick of the Light” by Louise Penny

photo (5)I am not a big mystery book reader. I think the last mystery story I read was Sherlock Holmes’ “Hounds of Baskerville.” However, I love to support Canadian literature and I devour detective TV shows, so I thought it was about time I gave Louise Penny a try. I have only heard rave reviews about the Canadian mystery author, Louise Penny; and, for only $4 from The Book Vault in Stratford I could sample her writing with “A Trick of the Light.”

This is book number seven featuring Chief Inspector Gamache. He is investigating the murder of a woman found in Clara Morrow’s garden the night after the critically acclaimed opening of Clara’s solo art show. Who is this dead woman? How did she get here? Who murdered her? These are the questions that concern Gamache. Penny keeps readers on their toes with these questions; but, the murder is often a backdrop to display the deeper issues at play with Clara Morrows and her husband, Peter Murrows, as well as with Gamache and his sidekick Inspector, Jean Guy Beauvoir.

I did like how Gamache and the murder was not the only focus of the book because I felt that it added more depth to the story. It also reminded me more of a drama than a mystery so it didn’t feel quite so singularly focussed. However, this also had the negative effect of causing me to not care so much about the who and the why of the murderer. There were so many other stories competing for my attention and I felt like nothing much happened with the investigation to keep my interest piqued. The murder investigation seemed to drag on. And then suddenly, the murder investigation took narrative precedence at the dramatic unveiling of the murderer. Everyone connected to the murder was at Clara’s house for a dinner party. All were gathered in the living room as Gamache went over his investigation’s findings. As the raging thunderstorm caused the lights to flicker out, Gamache revealed the murderer and the murderer confessed his motives. This scene was too dramatic for my tastes, although it did seem that the cliche scenery fit the detective genre motifs. 

All in all, not a bad book but I was reminded that detective novels are not my cup of tea.

3.5/5 bacon strips

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