Christmas time in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, is about to turn into something dark and malevolent. For some residents.

But will the death of one of its newest residents actually be disturbing in any way? C. C. de Poitiers was one of those people disliked by literally everyone. She has come to the town with her own unique agenda, but additionally, she is launching her book about a lifestyle she envisions as one akin to the likes of the famous Martha Stewart. A kind of decorating style, combined with her life “balance” called Be Calm.

But is there anything calm or balanced about this woman? Wife of Richard Lyon, an inventor some might call boring, and mother to daughter Crie, who is overweight and seems almost autistic, one has to wonder. But there is more going on.

C. C.’s murder happens during the annual curling event. She is electrocuted, and the how of it eludes those who try to solve the mystery. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache appears on the scene with his colleagues, Lemieux and Beauvoir…and is later joined by the annoying Yvette Nichol.

Townsfolk who should have seen what happened are silent, and it takes a while for Gamache to figure it all out. Meanwhile, a bag lady is murdered in Montreal. What, if anything, connects the two murders?

I enjoyed how Gamache managed to sort through all the various clues, find connections that others did not see, and then, even when he thought he had it figured out, there were some surprises. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the cozy moments in the bistro, where Gamache manages to observe and theorize, while noticing the dynamics of the residents.

There is also an undercurrent that suggests a conspiracy going on with some of the inspectors. Who is trying to sabotage Gamache? Why?

A Fatal Grace kept me captivated throughout, and while I had suspicions about several of the characters, I was surprised at how it all went down. 4.5 stars


  1. I’ve always wondered about Louise Penny’s books — someday I’ll give them a try. They seem quite good. Have you read quite a few of hers?

    Liked by 1 person

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