Book review: ‘A Trick of Light’ by Louise Penny

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

Clara Marrow was finally getting recognition for her art. After years of living on the income of her husband Peter’s work, she had an individual show in the leading gallery in Montreal. Her paintings were unusual in that they displayed a much deeper meaning than the portraits themselves. Peter wasn’t sure how he felt about his wife’s acclaim. And there was more, a party at their home in Three Pines later in the evening. Anyone who was anyone in the Quebec art scene would be there.

The success of the party was quickly tempered by the finding of a body in the garden the next morning. Inspector Gamache and his team are once again back in Three Pines, where one wag has said that murder has become a cottage industry. No one seems to know the murdered woman. And she hadn’t been at the party even though her dress would indicate that she had been or intended to be there.

Closer examination doesn’t confirm that she had been at the party, but a purse found under her body does yield a name. As it turned out, many years before, she had been a friend of Clara’s; the friendship had ended when she had savaged Clara’s work in a review. At one time or another, her caustic criticism had upset most of those who were at the party. Her most notable: “He’s natural, producing art like it’s a bodily function.”

When everyone is a suspect, no one is the suspect. Thus, the sifting and winnowing begins. Magazine archives must be searched for the offending reviews. Actual relationships that existed then and now must be determined. Some investigation establishes that alcoholism and AA play a significant part. It turns out that the art community is a very competitive and jealous lot, at least in Montreal.

Like most mystery-series writers, Louise Penny’s books are written to be enjoyed, and sold, individually. More than any of the other series authors I read, though, she refers to happenings in earlier books and ends her stories in such a way as to leave several details open for a next book. For example, second in command, Inspector Beauvoir, is dealing with the pain of an earlier encounter with pills, but we’ll have to wait until the next book to find out if this is resolved.

Comments are closed.

  • Two hurt in Norwalk crash

    January 22nd, 2020
    by

    Monroe County Dispatch advised of a two-vehicle accident with injuries and entrapment on N. McGary and North streets in Norwalk at about 9:14 a.m. Tuesday.


    Book review: ‘Death in Cold Water’ by Patricia Skalka

    January 16th, 2020
    by

    When a millionaire with a long, public history of supporting the Packers disappeared after attending a Bears-Packers game in Chicago, it was national news.


    KVR to host talk on raptors this Saturday

    January 9th, 2020
    by

    A talk on raptors is slated for Saturday, Jan. 11, from 10–11 a.m. and from 2–3 p.m. at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.


    Book review: ‘Mr. Dickens and His Carol’ by Samantha Silva

    January 7th, 2020
    by

    “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” is a work of fiction. That must be understood to appreciate this review.


    Upward Bound representatives will be available in Norwalk

    January 2nd, 2020
    by

    Representatives from UW-La Crosse’s Upward Bound program will be at Bailey’s Diner in Norwalk on Monday, Jan. 6, from 5–8 […]


  • Royall finance and facility meeting set for Jan. 7

    January 2nd, 2020
    by

    Great news: The Royall School District has only two years of debt payment left after this year.


    One dead in rural Ontario crash

    December 30th, 2019
    by

    One man is dead after a one-vehicle traffic crash on Highway 131, near Nisswa Road, in rural Ontario, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.


    Person injured in Clifton fall

    December 29th, 2019
    by

    During the morning of Dec. 28, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to an incident of a subject who had lost consciousness after falling from a high elevation on Kirkwood Avenue in the town of Clifton.


    Two taken to hospital after Jefferson crash

    December 29th, 2019
    by

    The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two-vehicle crash at about 3:48 p.m. today at Highway 33 and County Highway D in the town of Jefferson, between Ontario and Cashton. 


    Vernon County to issue WIC benefits

    December 28th, 2019
    by

    The Vernon County Health Department will offer WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program benefits at the following locations in January.


    Book review: ‘Nothing More Dangerous’ by Allen Askens

    December 28th, 2019
    by

    By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton Boady Sandron was working for one objective. As soon as he had earned enough money, he […]


  • Archives