Book Review: A Trick of the Light

A TRICK OF THE LIGHT | Louise Penny
(Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7)
08.30.2011 | Minotaur Books
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Clara Morrow has finally made it in the art world. It is the night of her vernissage, a private art show where the most exclusive art dealers and critics of the art world gather with her friends for her grand reveal, followed by a private barbecue back in Three Pines. Clara has long struggled to make her mark, but the reviews are in and she’s a success! Nothing could spoil her moment except for perhaps the body of a dead woman found in her back garden.

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Most of us are brought down by a bunch of tiny transgressions. Little things that add up until we collapse under them. It’s fairly easy to avoid doing the big bad things, but it’s the hundred mean little things that’ll get you eventually. If you listen to people long enough you realize it’s not the slap or the punch, but the whispered gossip, the dismissive look. The turned back. That’s what people with any conscience are ashamed of.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his righthand man, Inspector Jean Guy Beauvoir are called to the scene of the crime and soon reveal the murder victim to be Lillian Dyson. Lillian is a ghost from Clara’s past, a former friend turned enemy. She is also a scorned member of the art community, famously known for falling off the map after a series of scathing reviews. Why was Lillian at this private after party at Clara’s house? Was her murder the act of someone seeking revenge? Was it Clara?

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Success can mess with you. But then so can failure.

Louise Penny is at it again with the 7th installment in her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series. We find our dear Gamache still battling wounds left behind from the previous book and a tragic accident that was revealed within those pages. He is not the only person feeling pain from tragic experiences, as Penny also highlights the effects of this same accident on Beauvoir. Penny creates a novel of forgiveness in A TRICK OF THE LIGHT. She examines the ability of new and repeat characters to forgive those around them for a range of events. Everything from the impact of art reviews, police missions gone wrong, false arrests, lies to your spouse, and the murder of a child by a drunk driver are highlighted. To me this novel was more about the interactions of these characters and their ability to forgive those around them than the murder of Lillian Dyson. Penny captivated not only my mind, but also my heart in this book. So rarely do you find in the crime fiction genre this type of experience that I cannot stop myself from recommending readers to start with book one, STILL LIFE, and work your way through this series!

If you’re looking to chat with other Louise Penny fans about the Inspector Gamache series, head over to the Penny Pushers Goodreads group and join in!

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