"Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie [but] it sells her short. Her characters are too rich, her grasp of nuance and human psychology too firm...." -- Booklist (starred review) A New York Times Notable Crime Book and Favorite Cozy for 2011 A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller books for 2011   "Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie [but] it sells her short. Her characters are too rich, her grasp of nuance and human psychology too firm. ." - Booklist (starred review) "Hearts are broken," Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. "Sweet relationships are dead." But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow's garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara's solo show at the famed Musee in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûrete du Quebec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light.  Where nothing is as it seems.  Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart.  And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they've found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.
"Whereas Penny's superb Bury Your Dead (2010) was an elaborately constructed crime novel incorporating three freestanding stories, her latest in the Inspector Armand Gamache series is much more focused. The action, of course, is centered in Three Pines, the Brigadoon-like village outside of Montreal, a seemingly idyllic oasis from civilization except for the remarkable number of murders that occur there. This time the body is discovered during a party in celebration of Clara Morrow's breakthrough art show in Montreal. The victim, art critic Lillian Dyson, was a childhood friend of Clara's, but her savage review of Clara's work early in her career put an end to that. Gamache and his team, including the troubled Jean Guy Beauvoir, gather at Three Pines yet again to make sense of the crime. While the investigation burrows deep into the cutthroat art world, the narrative line is fairly straightforward, building to an Agatha Christie-like finale in which all the suspects gather for dinner at Clara's home. Readers who have watched Penny's novels develop from character-driven cozies into deeply textured, multifaceted crime fiction may find this one just a bit disappointing but only in context. Like P. D. James, Penny shows how the tight structure of the classical mystery story can accommodate a wealth of deeply felt emotions and interpersonal drama. . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Penny's remarkable string of successes and awards has moved her to the top of the genre. A 100,000 first printing and the attendant publicity will ensure that her latest effort finds the author's adoring audience quickly.--Ott, Bil. Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In Penny's latest whodunit in this popular series, Chief Insp. Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec and his assistant, Insp. Jean Guy Beauvoir, are back in the small village of Three Pines. This time, the sleuths are called to the home of artist Clara Morrow when a corpse is discovered in the garden. Veteran Penny narrator Ralph Cosham-whose British accent in no way hinders him from lapsing into Quebecois when necessary-reads with a mellow baritone that is an ideal match for the thoughtful Gamache. Additionally, he succeeds at creating voices for other continuing characters, including the sardonic, psychically damaged Beauvoir and the hapless but undaunted Clara. Cosham also ably renders the emotional art crowd, the envious painters, the fiercely competitive gallery owners, the snarky, self-styled critics, and an angry and ancient poetess whose late arrival ends this beautifully performed audiobook on a perfect note. A Minotaur Books hardcover. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved