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.

  • Book review: ‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Watters

    November 14th, 2019
    by

    Hundreds Hall was a grand old mansion, a park (gardens and green space that were fenced in) and extensive farmland beyond that.


    Gundersen St. Joseph’s Sanchez receives therapist of the year award

    November 14th, 2019
    by

    Cassidy Sanchez, PT, PCS, a physical therapist at Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital and Clinics, was recently awarded therapist of the year by mobility and independence organization AMBUCS at its national conference in Pittsburgh.


    Norwalk’s Thanksgiving dinner slated for Sunday

    November 7th, 2019
    by

    It’s time for the 22nd annual community Thanksgiving dinner in Norwalk.


    Scenic Bluffs assisting with ACA open enrollment

    November 7th, 2019
    by

    Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers is offering assistance for Affordable Care Act enrollment.


    Book review: ‘Tales of the South Pacific: The Novel’

    October 31st, 2019
    by

    “Tales of the South Pacific” was Michener’s first work of fiction and it won a Pulitzer Prize.


  • Radke honored for work on school board

    October 31st, 2019
    by

    At Monday’s annual meeting, Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton School Board President Kurt Radke (center) was recognized for 20 years of service on the board.


    Book review: ‘Dragonfly’ by Leila Meacham

    October 24th, 2019
    by

    Early in World War II, Germany overran France. France, and especially Paris, was awash with branches of the German military.


    Monroe County Local History Room to open ‘Christmas Mountain’ exhibit

    October 24th, 2019
    by

    See the North Pole come to life again this holiday season with a new exhibit at the Monroe County Local History Room.


    Vernon County to issue WIC benefits

    October 23rd, 2019
    by

    The Vernon County Health Department will offer Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) renewals at the following locations in November.


    Tax levy and other fiscal news for N-O-W constituents

    October 23rd, 2019
    by

    The school district’s financial information was presented last week in a grid published in the County Line.


    Book review: ‘Cutting for Stone’ by Abiy Ahmed

    October 17th, 2019
    by

    Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia.


  • [Advertisement.]
  • Archives