A friend of mine, a member of the Writers Group I belong to, told me about a series of mysteries she was reading – and said that I should begin with the first and read them in order. Because she had not, and felt it would be a much richer experience. And she was definitely correct in that assessment!
This is good writing! The subtitle in later books is A Three Pines Mystery – which is a village in Quebec near Montreal. Other volumes say A chief Inspector Gamache Novel, mentioning the key protagonist. The village itself, while not a protagonist, is a vital and living part of the action in the story. As are various villagers, whose roles vary from book to book, but whose insights are always helpful.
These are the kinds of cozy British mysteries I like – not full of blood and violence, but full of many possibilities and solutions. And what a great way to reach a deeper understanding about Canada – the people, the French / English tensions, how the Surete works, Montreal’s street system, curling – and much more.
Jane Neal, a wonderful and wise woman in Three Pines, has been found dead, which was eventually pronounced as foul play. Inspector Gomache is sent from Montreal, with his hard working and collaborative team – which also includes a new member, just assigned. They quickly begin to interact with the quirky, unique and very real villagers. And from there, an excellent, stirring and deeply satisfying tale, with both action and cogitation, emerges.
I don’t want to tell you more. Best you go find out for yourself. But do start at the beginning. You’ll be a less confused villager that way!