Saturday, 7 February 2009

New York Times - review

cloudy, sleet, mild, temps 0

well, this was unexpected! I'd happily blogged in early Janurary that the NYT was going to do a review of A RULE AGAINST MURDER to run January 25th. But then when I was in Phoenix for the launch earlier that week I got a call from the publishers to say it wasn't going to happen.

We were all very disappointed since a review, good or bad, in the Times is significant.

Then, last this past week I started getting messages from people - some congratulating me on having a review in, some asking if it was happening. I patiently wrote back to thank them, but explain there was no review.

Then, woke up this morning to another flurry of messages - many attaching the actual review - which will run in tomorrow's Book Section. Here it is!!!!

Louise Penny applies her magic touch to A RULE AGAINST MURDER (Minotaur, $24.95), giving the village mystery an elegance and depth not often seen in this traditional genre. Although Penny is no slouch at constructing a whodunit puzzle, her great skill is her ability to create a charming mise-en-scène and inhabit it with complex characters.

There’s something other­worldly and altogether enchanting about the Manoir Bellechasse, the magnificent lodge in the Canadian wilderness where Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, the head of homicide for the Sûreté du Québec, has taken his wife for their 35th wedding anniversary. Not only does the auberge offer grand views and the order and calm of old-world service, but it also observes a no-kill policy, with the proprietors feeding wild animals in winter and forbidding guests to hunt or fish. Someone obviously failed to explain that rule to the cultured but quarrelsome family holding a reunion to unveil a statue of their late patriarch, who makes his feelings felt by toppling down on one of his own. As Gamache observes, “things were not as they seemed,” not even in a paradise like Bellechasse. And never in a Louise Penny mystery.

Wow! Thank you to all the people who saw this in advance copy and sent it on...and sincere aplogies to people kind enough to say something, whom I didn't believe!

But, having given up on the possibility of a review in the NYT this feels like a huge unexpected gift. Exactly what it is, in fact! Yipppee...and long live Marilyn Stasio - the crime reviewer.

Had, as you might expect, a terrific day. Spent it in bed, actually, which is why this blog is being posted late. Not ill - just relaxed and lazy. Read a good book, drank coffee, napped, responded to emails. Napped. Napped. Wonderful.

Am now up and dressed and Michael's having a nap. We're trying to figure out if we want to go out for dinner (steak frites on the corner) or stay in. I'm now keen to go out - celebrate. Especially since I'm the one dressed and vertical. But we'll see how the Big Guy is feeling in an hour. If he'd like dinner in bed it's the least I can do after he climbed the stairs for me a dozen times today.

Oh, by the way, if you feel you'd like to rent this home you can. the only catch is that Old Quebec City is fearful that it will stop being a place where people actually live and become a spot for visitors only - too many hotels and B&B's and places let by the can change the character of a place. So the city has brought in a new rule stating that places can still be rented, but no longer by the week. The minimum is a month.

But, if you have a month to spare and want to explore Quebec City and the surrounding area (Isle D'Orleans, Montreal, Gaspe, Tadoussac and whale watching - in summer) then this is a great base.

If you're interested, or just want to see more pix of this home, you can go to

or vrbo (vacation rental by owner)...not sure what this home is listed under, though! But it's in the Quebec City listing.

Hope that helps. We're off to that big brunch at the Chateau Frontenac tomorrow to celebrate carnaval with all the dignitaries...and us. apparently it"s expected we'll wear a ceinture fleche...which is a traditional Quebecois braided belt. We actually have quite a rare, authentic one, but we left it at home - d'oh. So we'll need to buy a couple on our way up there. The finals of the cross river canoe race are on at the same time, so this is also a celebration of that.

Really looking forward to it.

Be well, and will report in tomorrow -


Bobbie said...

YAY!!! Happy Dancing again!! :-)

Great review, Louise!!! Said so well, by an important reviewer; and this important review in the NYT's Book Section will be read by many readers who might not know of you yet...though of course that seems impossible. :-)

Soooo glad for you, and for the readers who will find you now, more and more and more. :-)

And a month-long rental sounds wonderful in that place you are staying--a great base, as you say. May it find many good renters.

Enjoy being with the dignitaries at the Chateau Frontenac celebration of carnival's race, and again...Yay Louise! :-)

Best wishes to you and yours,

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations. I wonder if you heard Michael Enright on CBC this morning talking to the great(great?)granddaughter of Charles Darwin about her book about his life in poetry. The discussion about the role of poetry in delving into the areas of life that are most difficult to deal with in words made me think of you. As a non-poetry fan, I was quite moved.

Jovanna said...

Congratulations, Louise! This recognition is well-deserved and overdue. You know, it was through a mention in the NYT that I discovered Three Pines and Gamache. There was a blurb about A Fatal Grace one Sunday and I sought it out. It was love and first read. May there be many more great reviews in yours and the Chief Inspector's future.

BTW, I'm now halfway through A Rule Against Murder and it is the best one yet. Kudos!

donna said...

Hi Louise: I now know what a "licorice pipe" tastes like! Went to a small candy store this weekend and they had a display box of them - all black though - no candy flame. The display box was all in French so I bet they were made in Canada. Quite good - the licorice was different than the American "twizzlers". Now if Gamache eats one again I will be able to relate! Regards, Donna

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Bobbie<

Thank you! You have such a huge heart...and I had a blast at the brunch, as you can read today.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

No, i missed that interview!!! Michael Enright is brilliant, and I've only heard good things about that book...wish I'd heard it. And heard her thoughts on poetry too. Thank you. Actually, I think I'll go to the CBC website and find it.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Jovanna<

Yay - I just LOVE hearing that you think A RULE AGAINST MURDER is the best yet! What fun too that you came to the series through the NYT. I remember that mention. Wonderful.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Donna,

That's great - you are relentless in your research! I admire that. Now you must come to Quebec and try our tim Horton's double double, poitine, our croissants - and just wait until this Quebec City book comes out. We'll have to organize a culinary Gamache tour of Quebec.

pmry said...

I've been "Gamached!" My friend introduced me to Three Pines--and I have read all 6 books over the past 3 weeks. What a delight. Merci beaucoup! I do have a question--what is "monarda butter," which was mentioned in "The Brutal telling."