I love Louise Penny’s writing about Chief Inspector Gamache. And when I finished her most recent one – The Long Way Home – published in August, 2014, read before the end of that month, I decided I would re-read it at some point, to watch how she does it. How she plants clues, how she points us here and there, just in general to see what I missed – and to see what I could learn. And to learn how she writes mysteries that are also real literature, as well as travelogs and natural world adventures.
So about a week or so ago – I did. I knew I could not remember well the exact ending in the last few pages. I knew who the bad guy was, but couldn’t quite remember the last several twists. I was watching throughout for clues that would have told us who the bad guy was earlier on, watching for the detecting team to build, watching for grief, watching for love.
And realized that in my rush to find Peter safely, I had missed an entire romance, blossoming under my nose. I did catch a clue or two I had not observed priorly.
I noticed more clearly than I had before the rhythm of Penny’s work – how she slows down the words and images when the story is in Three Pines, a small town near Montreal where many of the protagonists live. How observantly she gives us clues to time and space when we are traveling and when we arrive at a new space – not with lots of adjectives and adverbs, but with a different spacing and her particular eye for the visual.
And how closely she sees and feels people, and understands what their next move will be. This is a sad story, a beautiful story, an excellent story.
p.s. If you have not read Louise, let me recommend that you start at the beginning, with the first book. They each stand alone, of course – but one also amplifies the next, and the tales have a mythical quality that builds throughout the works.
p.p.s. And the next one will be out this August, 2015, titled The Nature of the Beast. I’m already pre-ordering.