|ISBN-10: 0312655479 ISBN-13: 9780312655471 Published: Minotaur Books, 08/27/2013 Pages: 416 Language: English|
Ridiculously lengthy preamble aside, How the Light Gets In is a crackerjack mystery novel that successfully integrates thriller and literary fiction elements into its Quebecois bouillabaisse. You see, the Gamache series takes place largely in French Canada, and derives a great deal of its character and personality from the region's rich culture. I wouldn't be surprised if many readers would feel an urge to decamp immediately for Penny's idyllic small town Three Pines, which is equipped (I feel obliged to add) with an independent bookstore and a nearby bistro.
How the Light Gets In is comfort food in the best sense of the phrase. Penny eschews the almost pornographic depictions of violence and sexuality that many modern mysteries employ in the absence of creativity. Penny's novels are more old-fashioned puzzlers, with an added focus on characterization. You might (or might not) be surprised to find out how effective creating likeable characters is in producing suspense, an evergreen literary tactic if there ever was one. So, come on down to Flyleaf and listen to an experienced craftsman share a few tips of the trade. Before you know it, you'll be settling into a comfy armchair with one (or two, or three...) of Penny's books, sipping warm café au lait and waiting impatiently for winter.