Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Trick of the Light

I was lucky enough to win an Advance Review Copy of Louise Penny's forthcoming (August 30) book, A Trick of the Light. I won it by writing a goofy paragraph on how I would promote the book for her. So here goes! (Paragraph included at the bottom.)

This is the latest in a long line of Penny's excellent stories featuring Chief Inspector Gamache and the fictional
Quebec village of Three Pines. I have visited my sister many times in several areas of Quebec over the past thirty years, so I particularly enjoy reading about the small-town intrigues of our neighbors just to the north. Penny writes in English, and the village is set in the southern mostly English-speaking area of the province, but I like the way she weaves in French or allusions to characters speaking French.

The murder in this book involves art, artists, addiction, and, as always, relationships. Penny brings in her usual cast of characters: local artist Clara, now successful, and her less stellar husband, Peter. Myrna, the color
ful friend. Gabri and Olivier from the Bistro. Beauvoir, Gamache's second in command. And others. The depth of these characters continues to evolve, and we learn new things about their pasts and futures. Penny is able to show pain and heartbreak in the same breath as hope and redemption. Her writing takes you deep into both the physical landscape and the emotional hills and valleys of the characters.

She's also a master at plot, though, and keeps presenting surprises and twists, right up to the end.

It's no wonder Louise Penny's books are New York Times bestsellers, and
that they keep getting nominated for awards like the Agatha and the Edgar (and winning!). Louise and I have been Facebook friends for a year or two. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at Malice Domestic this spring, and this well-known award winner was one of the most friendly and gracious people there. And boy, can she do scarves.

My next goal is to start at the beginning of the series, as I did with Julia Spencer-Fleming, and read my way through, so I can more fully appreciate the development of the characters over time.

Here's the winning goofiness, followed by Louise's initial response:

I'm going to be your best and most eclectic publicist. First, I'd rent a megaphone and drive my Prius around Boston announcing the availability of the next must-read Louise Penny story. Then I'd blog about it at Speaking of Murder and spread the word on twitter, facebook, at Amesbury Friends Meeting, at the Ipswich Democratic Town Committee, and in local organic gardening circles. I'd call my buddy Scott Simon at NPR and demand he interview you about it. I'd ask my sister in Hudson, Quebec, to tell everyone she knows from Quebec City to Ottawa (mostly Buddhists and farmers) to pick it up. I'd badger all my Sisters in Crime in New England to buy a copy. And then I'd sit down and read it myself! What a treat. Thank you for the honor.

"What a wonderful, and fun, message! I hope you're naked as you shout into the magaphone in your Prius! Attracting so much more attention. Really, a great entry. You have made the finals. Good luck - and thank you for being so lovely and passionate and supportive."

I urge you to preorder the book! Or put it on your list to pick up when it officially comes out. You won't regret it.


  1. I've just bought my first Louise Penny and am prepared to love them, but I can highly recommend Julia Spencer-Fleming. Clare and Russ are two of my favorite characters, and the stories hook me from the first paragraph. I hope you enjoy them as much, Edith.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Ellis. As I said above, I already read straight through Julia Spencer-Fleming ("as I did with Julia Spencer-Fleming" - check out the link for my post on that). I now plan to do with with Louise Penny's books. Can't wait!


  3. {Oops - meant to type "plan to do that with..."]