Series to Savour 8 – Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache mysteries

I can’t believe that I have not yet written about the fabulous Louise Penny on my “Series to Savour” blog series. Well, that must be remedied immediately!  Set in the charming small town of Three Pines, the series features police Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.  I’m a huge fan!

Louise Penny
(photo copyright Sigrid Estrada)

About Louise Penny

Louise Penny was born in Toronto in 1958 and became a journalist and radio host with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, specializing in hard news and current affairs. She suffered from debilitating loneliness and turned to alcohol.  Then, in her mid-thirties she stopped drinking and married the love of her life, Michael Whitehead. They lived in an old United Empire Loyalist brick home in the country, surrounded by maple woods and mountains and smelly dogs. Sadly, Michael died in 2016 after a dignified battle with dementia. Louise was by his side throughout.

Her novels have been translated into 25 languages!

Her protagonist, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life in Three Pines, finding long buried secrets–and facing a few of his own ghosts. Three Pines is a place you will come to love and its inhabitants will become friends.

The small fictional town of Three Pines, is located in the beautiful Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Louise Penny and her mystery series have won many literary awards including:

CWA New Blood Dagger (2006), The Dilys Award (2007), Anthony Award for Best First Novel (2007), Barry Award for Best First Novel (2007), Agatha Award for Best Novel (2007 and 2008), Anthony Award for Best Novel (2010), Nero Award (2011) as well as The Canadian Arthur Ellis Award and The British Dagger.

She has won the Agatha Award for best mystery novel of the year five times!

The author is often asked whether the books should be read in order. This is her reply:

At the risk of appearing to want you to buy more books let me say that while it’s not necessary to read them in any particular order (they’re designed to be self-standing) there is quite a strong character development arc. I think you’d enjoy the books even more if read in order.

As a reader of these novels, I whole-heartedly agree.

The order of the Gamache books, from first to most recent, is:
#1 Still Life, #2 A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold (same book, different title), #3 The Cruelest Month, #4 A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone (same book, different title), #5 The Brutal Telling, #6 Bury Your Dead, #7 A Trick of the Light, #8 The Beautiful Mystery, #9 How the Light Gets In, #10 The Long Way Home, #11 The Nature of the Beast, #12 A Great Reckoning, #13 Glass Houses, and #14 Kingdom of the Blind.

The fourteen novels featuring Armand Gamache are: 

A wonderful character-driven mystery series that I highly recommend!

I’m proud to say that even though I now read exclusively in digital format, I do OWN all of Louise Penny’s novels in hardcover.  The first of which is an autographed copy!

“Still Life” was adapted as a television movie with Nathaniel Parker in the role of Gamache.  I did NOT like it at all.  Although I like this actor, he was not at all as I imagined Gamache while reading the books.  I feel it was one of the poorer adaptions of a mystery novel ever done.

Nathaniel Parker in his role as Armand Gamache in the movie “Still Life”

Some of my favorite quotes from Louise Penny’s novels:

“No good ever comes from putting up walls. What people mistake for safety is in fact captivity. And few things thrive in captivity.”

“I’m just like this. I have no talent for choosing my battles. Life seems, strangely, like a battle to me. The whole thing.”

“The leaves had fallen from the trees and lay crisp and crackling beneath his feet. Picking one up he marveled, not for the first time, at the perfection of nature where leaves were most beautiful at the very end of their lives.”

and this one which made me smile…

“But you want murderous feelings? Hang around librarians, confided Gamache.  All that silence. Gives them ideas.”

Two of my favorite photos of Louise Penny

 An interview with Louise Penny

and another interview where Louise Penny speaks with Julia Spencer-Fleming

Louise Penny has graced the cover of Mystery Scene magazine!

An author profile from Quill & Quire

A YouTube video where Louise Penny chats to Wendy Mesley and reflects on her unexpected road to success

Louise Penny is the recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada!  This is Canada’s highest civilian honour!

Louise Penny with Governor General David Johnston

Louise has a fantastic author newsletter.  If, like me, you want to subscribe, click here.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of the Armand Gamache series
or if you plan to.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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19 Responses to Series to Savour 8 – Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache mysteries

  1. Greg Ledbetter says:

    Hi Lynne/Fictionophile,
    Thanks for your words regarding the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. They are so … elegantly written, insightful and “deep”, earthy and humorous (Ruth Zardo!), etc., etc. More often than not, I “read” the books via audio downloads from the local library. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is … spectacular … uncanny. I can’t imagine the Three Pines “ecosystem” apart from his voice. I also spend a lot of time while listening wondering who would best portray Gamache on film. I haven’t yet seen “Still Life” with Nathaniel Parker. And while I love Parker in the Inspector Lynley series, I absolutely agree with your sense that he isn’t the right fit for Gamache. So … who is? There is at least one actor who visually fits my sense of Gamache’s look and personality and that is Alfred Molina. My strongest memory of him (as an actor and his visual appearance) is from Chocolat. Anyway, I won’t go on, but I will say that I hope they’ll make another stab at creating a memorable cinematic depiction of Gamache, Three Pines (community and characters), etc. and, perhaps, consider Alfred Molina for the role of Armand Gamache.
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. patricia dick says:

    I have read every single Inspector Gamache books. Just finished the latest 2018 book. I am so in love with this series. Thrilled to hear there is a televised series. Would I be able to see it in Australia? Just the most brilliant series. Please keep going. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting Patricia. I’m so glad you are a fellow fan of Louise Penny’s work. I have no idea if you can get the TV movie of Louise’s first novel, but I have to say that if you can’t, don’t be too disappointed. It was far inferior to the books. Happy Reading!


  3. Pingback: My personal canon (the books that shaped my life) | Fictionophile

  4. carhicks says:

    I have had these books on my TBR for about a year or so, but have not read one yet. Thanks for the information about the author as well as the series. I actually just won one in a Goodreads Giveaway, so really need to get to it. They are always spoken of so highly.


    • Fictionophile says:

      I’m sure you won’t regret the time spent reading these Carla. I love Gamache and the hamlet of Three Pines. I’ll be eager to hear what you think of “Still Life”.


  5. I LOVE Louise Penny’s books! She writes so descriptively that I can smell the croissants and feel the wind in the trees. I love how the characters continue to develop, and how Louise unveils their complexity as the series progresses.


  6. FictionFan says:

    Great post! I’m ashamed to say I’ve had Still Life sitting on my Kindle since 2015 and still haven’t read it! You’ve encouraged me to see if I can’t push it to the top of the heap somehow… 🙂


  7. This series is on my radar, I can’t believe I haven’t read any!!


  8. Wow…what an amazing lady! I honestly have never heard of her or these books. Will definitely be checking them out, though. Great post!


  9. Annie says:

    I only read one book and I think it was like number 13 haha But I loved it!


  10. Annika Perry says:

    How have I not heard of her?! An amazing woman and writer. Many thanks for the recommendation! 😀


    • Fictionophile says:

      Annika you are in for some great reading. I envy you – you get to experience Louise Penny’s writing for the first time. This is a series that starts strong and gets stronger with every book.

      Liked by 1 person

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