Last week we had dark and stormy nights, days too, here in Nashville with record cool temps. Perfect for reading Louise Penny's newest book, Glass Houses featuring Armand Gamache, now promoted to the Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Qué̗bec.
I am a longtime Louise Penny fan. So what did I like about Glass Houses?
I liked the last chapter.
It was exactly as I wished last chapters to be, the essence of Penny's core characters that I love dearly, even those I am beginning to like--Ruth and her duck Rosa. Ruth is beginning to grow on me but I still have reservations about the duck.
In the last chapter the core Three Pines villagers are safe, including my literary crush Armand who is in Montreal attending to...well, I won't reveal that.
In Olivier's bistro in Three Pines, the villagers are gathered to view Clara's newest odd paintings of...well, I won't reveal that. Suffice it to say that I cried in the last chapter with love for Clara and Myrna and Ruth, maybe even a little for the duck.
What didn't I like about Glass Houses?
A whole lot. The last few Penny books have let me down. They just do not have the rich character development of the early books. This was an action driven book, which may be what sells to a wider demographic as this author has only grown in popularity with the majority of fans. Penny's style seems to have changed, many more sentences become choppier. Maybe this is on purpose? What readers want now? Or how the author wants to write now? So who am I to question that?
Still, let me show you a passage from Penny's Trick of the Light as this is an example of what I've missed in the last few books:
As far back as she could remember Clara wanted only one thing, even more than she'd wanted the solo show. It wasn't riches, it wasn't power, it wasn't even love. Clara Morrow wanted to belong. And now, at almost fifty, she did."
And from A Rule Against Murder:
Was there an invisible world, Gamache wondered. A place where diminished people met, where they recognized each other? Because if he knew one thing about Julia Martin it was that she too was invisible. The sort others cut off in conversation, cut in front of in grocery lines, overlook for jobs though their hand might be raised and waiting.
And from A Fatal Grace:
Saul Petrov sipped his beer and took a bite of his roast beef sandwich on a baguette with melting Stilton cheese and arugula. Beside it on his plate was a diminishing pile of shoestring fries, lightly seasoned.
It was perfect.
For the first time in years Saul felt human. He wasn't quite up to approaching these friendly people but he knew when he did they'd ask him to join them. They just seemed that sort. Already a few had smiled in his direction and lifted their drinks, mouthing 'Santé' and Joyeux Noel'.
They seemed kind.
No wonder CC loathed them.See what I mean?
Will I buy next year's Louise Penny mystery? I will. I remain ready to pack my luggage for a trip to Three Pines, hidden away in the Quebec countryside near the Vermont border.
While I'm there, if I'm lucky, a near-perfect murder will take place and I will gather at the Bistro with Armand and Reine-Marie, Olivier and Gabri, Ruth and the duck, and Clara.
And with Myrna:
Three Pines had what she craved. It had croissants and café au lait. It had peace and stillness and laughter. It had great joy and great sadness and the ability to accept both and be content. It had companionship and kindness.
And it had an empty store with a loft above. Waiting. For her. Myrna never left.
In just over an hour Myrna had gone from a world of complaint to a world of contentment. That had been six years ago. Now she dispensed new and used books and well-worn advice to her friends.From A Fatal Grace
Indeed I will return to Three Pines. But oh, dear...please Ms. Penny, please give me more of Myrna's story along with the action.
Are any of my visitors here at the Window Louise Penny fans? Have you read Glass Houses yet? Want to know who the bad guys are?
Now you know I'm not going to reveal that!