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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fire and ice, Nov. 7 2010
By 
Linda Bulger (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fatal Grace, Dec 11 2013
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This review is from: A Fatal Grace (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fatal Grace is Dead Cold, June 22 2013
By 
Dawn Horstead - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Fatal Grace (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Jan. 19 2013
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This review is from: A Fatal Grace (Paperback)
Love this author and am looking forward to many more stories of the inspector,his team and descriptions of life in the Eastern Townships
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fatal Grace, Oct. 16 2012
This review is from: A Fatal Grace (Paperback)
A Fatal GraceHave just become a fan of Louise Penny and read 3 of her books

1 S till Life

2 Dead Cold

3 The Brutal Telling

In doing my wish list for friends and family I noticed A Fatal Grace! is this not the same as Dead cold! Is there a mix up Please advise!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Cold/A Fatal Grace, May 23 2011
This review is from: A Fatal Grace (Paperback)
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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A Fatal Grace
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny (Paperback - Feb. 15 2011)
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