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le 22 juin 2013
Yes, Fatal Grace is the same novel as Dead Cold. Fatal Grace is (was?) published in the USA, while Dead Cold was published in Great Britain. I was upset when I bought both not realizing this. It is disappointing that Amazon has not indicated the fact that they are the same book somewhere in their descriptions. Buyer beware, I guess. I have to add that I love Louise Penny's novels. She always keeps me guessing right up until the end -- a rare occurrence with mystery novels.
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le 3 février 2013
It is an odd thing to say about a murder mystery - but, it made me happy. Feel free to read about the plot or writing style in another review. I however poured myself a glass of wine, curled up with a hand knit blanket( that previously annoyed me with its uneven corners and pill-balls) and a creaky old rocking chair and smiled. For a moment I wanted these Characters to be my friends, and I wanted to pack up and move to Three Pines ( despite the fact I would likely be murdered immediately upon arrival - there is a surprisingly high crime rate for such a small place).
The book pulled me happily, into its atmosphere.
When I finished, I bought a pair of winter boots for warmth instead of looks, hugged my dog and decided to learn how to make hot choc from scratch.
(Which I did and its fab).
I hope someone enjoys Three Pines as much as I did.
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"Dead Cold"is the second novel in Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, set in a small village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Unlike in the first novel, "Still Life," it is an incomer to the village who is murdered this time - CC de Poitiers, a would-be lifestyle guru a la Martha Stewart, who is easily one of the most unpleasant people anybody is ever likely to encounter in their lives. If she sees an opportunity to hurt someone else with her words, she not only takes it, she glories in it. Her passive, diminished husband and her almost entirely absent (despite her enormous girth) daughter are the targets of her anger more than anyone else, but the villagers hardly know them. When the family joins the village for a breakfast and curling match just after Christmas, somebody takes the opportunity to dispatch the appalling CC in full sight of everybody, if anybody had been looking. But the method of murder is so outre, so odd, that even Chief Inspector Gamache has difficulty trying to determine how anybody could manage it. And at the same time, he is looking into another murder, one that takes place in Montreal at nearly the same time, as part of a tradition that he and his counterpart in the Montreal Police Department have developed whereby they exchange unsolved murder cases on Boxing Day and spend a few days trying to see the story from another angle; this year, Gamache is looking into the strangulation death of a street person, a crazy vagrant woman who has nothing but a box of certain letters of the alphabet and an old, worn-out necklace.... Another appealing novel for me, partly I'm sure due to my living in Quebec myself (and completely empathizing with the winters as described!), but also because I just very much like Gamache and his sidekick Beauvoir; the disastrous Yvette Nichol makes another appearance, and her presence rings in the introduction of an ongoing subplot, one more nefarious than the deaths being investigated. I can't wait to start the third book, I want to find out what happens to these people next! Recommended.
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le 7 novembre 2010
Author Louise Penny writes beautifully, creating atmosphere and evoking the personal struggles of her characters in an effortless fashion. A Fatal Grace: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel is her second Three Pines mystery, set in a fictional village east of Montreal, off the beaten path and as self-contained as a snow globe. Three Pines, shockingly, has become a focal point for murder. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache was sent from the Quebec Surete during the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday in late October to investigate the murder of a local woman ("Still Life"), and now fourteen months later Gamache and his team are back in Three Pines.

This time the murder victim is an outsider; or at least a newcomer, which amounts to the same thing in Three Pines. Thoroughly unlovable author CC de Poitiers is pitching herself as the new self-help expert and arbiter of style, while she and her nearly-as-unlovable husband and daughter model chaos and misery to the village.

My first Three Pines book was a later entry in the series, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Going back to start from the beginning I found "Still Life" excellent, but this second book staggers a bit. There is still the promise of depth, but "A Fatal Grace" has a couple of rough patches, albeit non-fatal ones. For one thing, there are too many "new" characters whose backgrounds are keys to the plot and need to be rushed out to the reader. Second, there is a simmering sub-plot in Gamache's professional life that (while it may eventually add depth to his character) distracts from the story at hand; this sub-plot seems to be the excuse for some dangling ends, which are unwelcome in a mystery--even one that is part of a series.

Penny writes most effectively of the here-and-now, of the vignettes before our eyes and the personal responses of her characters to them. The bitterly frozen Quebec winter, the horror of fire, the village's traditional Christmas festivities, all are vividly atmospheric. But a mystery investigation carries the baggage of all the back-story uncovered by the detectives, and to saddle it with even more is risky.

Even with these reservations, Penny's writing is absorbing and intelligent. Having read a later entry, I know this Three Pines series gets better and better, so I'm carrying on. I notice that each of these books has a U.K. title and a different U.S. title, so I'm being careful not to buy the same book twice.

Linda Bulger, 2010
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My Review: As a proud Canadian I'm always on the lookout for 'new to me' Canadian fiction. I had had a lot of people suggest this series to me so I finally read the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, Still Life, about a year ago. I was pleased to see a book set in Canada with a truly small town Canadian feel to its characters and setting.

While I enjoyed Still Life quite a bit, this book is even better. The quirky and memorable cast of characters from Three Pines were back in this sequel that again has a uniquely Canadian feel complete with a small curling bonspiel, beautiful snowy setting and our requisite Canadian humour. Throughout the book there are snippets of French thrown in and anyone who took French in school should easily be able to read them but even without lessons it doesn't interfere with understanding the story line. I think it just brings a uniquely Quebecois feel to the characters. For those who struggle with the French aspects, Penny has a website where she gives the correct pronunciations of the French phrases/words to help her more detailed readers understand every word.

One of the main differences that I found between Still Life and A Fatal Grace is that I found the mystery this time around much more compelling. A big reason for this is that I got to know the victim better before the murder. With the murder in Still Life we didn't really get to know the victim but in this book we see how truly horrid CC's personality was with her family and pretty much everyone she came into contact with. Seeing her 'sparkling personality' up front helped me to understand why someone would want to harm her. It never hurts to have the victim as someone who is so hated by pretty much everyone around her since it makes for many suspects.

This book also had more of a CSI feel to it regarding how the victim could have been killed. I liked how I immediately got drawn into that part of the story as I tried to figure out the 'how dunnit' as well as figure out who could have set the wheels of murder in motion.

One of the unique aspects of this series are the characters so I was thrilled to see that most of the townspeople were included in Dead Cold. I adore Ruth and her curmudgeonly attitude and her sarcastic bantering back and forth with her Three Pines neighbours. Gamache himself continues to be very strong and an extremely unique and well-rounded character. I also enjoyed seeing some of Gamache's team back, specifically one of the more troublesome members of his team.

I do have some concerns regarding how this wee town can handle so many murders and still be realistic. Let's just say that if I lived there I'd probably pack up and move. But I was pleased to see the addition of another story line surrounding Gamache and his suspicions regarding some people at the Surete. It may help bring a breath of fresh air into the series but doesn't leave the reader with the dreaded cliff hanger either. I'm eager to see how that story runs its course and hopefully it will give the reader a better look into Gamache's life.

In the end, Louise Penny has written an intelligent, often humourous and well written mystery series with truly memorable, quirky characters. It has a lot of heart and I'm excited to get back to Three Pines and get immersed in their issues once again.

My Rating: 4/5 stars
** This book review can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm ( where I share hundreds of book reviews and my favourite recipes. **
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le 1 juin 2014
I have recently found Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache novels and have joined her book club. The novels are riveting and once I start a book, I have to finish it immediately. A Fatal Grace was a great book. Louise Penny offers so much to think about in her novels aside from the story line. Lots of "life nuggets" to mull over and consider as you read. I would recommend her books to anyone who wants an old fashioned story line which keeps you so enthralled that you forget about making dinner and other mundane chores in your day. Others in my family are cooking since I found her!
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le 11 décembre 2013
I loved the book. I have read Louise Penny's books before and knew what it would be like.I believe I read this one before but I still enjoyed it the 2nd time around, The characters are real, the village charming and there is always more than one suspect. You almost wish you could be there in Three Pines. This is my 4th L.Penny book and I intend to read many more.
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I really enjoyed this book and, although it's not a high-energy page turner, I couldn't put it down. I regret now having read one of the other later books in the series. In this 2nd book, It's really nice to catch up with the characters and the story as it ended at the end of the first book (Still Life), which I really liked. I'm so glad that the old poet Ruth is involved; she's a hoot of a character! That said, just like in the first book, I was quite annoyed by the constant citing of poetry. And, in this 2nd book, the author uses cryptic flashbacks, especially at the beginning, for several characters to help her tell the story -- it's complicated and hard to follow. I don't mind working a little bit when I read a book but, again, this is annoying. The visit to the Ogilvie Xmas window is neat; both my husband and I try to go see it every year even now that we are in our 50s.... I look forward to reading her next book... I give it 4 out 5 stars (very good).
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le 16 février 2013
A Fatal GraceThe book Dead Cold has been reprinted and retitled as A Fatal Grace.... Excellent book, but Fatal Grace is in larger print and easier reading. Love Inspector Gamache and the residents of Three Pines....YUMMY reading.
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le 23 mai 2011
CC de Poitiers is the kind of character you love to hate. The first sentence of the book sets the tone. Dead Cold (UK title) was published under the title A Fatal Grace in the US. It's the second in the Gamache series (Still Life being the first). Next: The Cruelest Month. Best to read them in sequence since the subplot of Gamache's career problems gets hard to follow otherwise.
Penny's writing makes me think of Fred Vargas', for the atmosphere and the zany characters, with a more british sense of humor. Enjoy!
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