Knowing that I would have little to no time to read for pleasure come September, I jumped right into reading for this challenge. I've completed five of the six books so far- and enjoyed every minute of it!
All five books I've read have been by the same author, and from the same series. This is Louise Penny's Armand Gamache mystery series. All the books in this series are set in and around the cozy, if somewhat murder-prone, fictional village of Three Pines, Quebec, Canada. The first book in this series, Still Life, was Penny's debut novel. It was a strong start.
In all five books, Penny displays a great knack for describing the complexities of human feelings and motivations. She deftly illustrates how an individual can be both wonderfully good and startlingly bad. And she wraps these descriptions up in a package gilded with descriptions of scenes that paint a lifelike and charming picture of the fictional Three Pines community. I don't want to tell you what happens, or even tell you too much about the characters (and boy are they characters!). Suffice it to say that I think if you pick up Penny's books you will be pleasantly surprised. My only caveat is that I recommend starting at the beginning of the series in order to avoid prematurely learning things from books that occurred earlier in the series. In order, the series is:
A Fatal Grace (US title)/Dead Cold
The Cruelest Month
A Rule Against Murder (US title)/The Murder Stone
The Brutal Telling
And, a sixth book, titled Bury Your Dead, is set to be released September 28. That's not quite enough time for me to finish the challenge, so I'll have to pick up a sixth book elsewhere (and my local library system just put out a list of recommended cozies- how convenient!). But I will definitely be looking for The Brutal Telling later this fall. For more info on the Cozy Mystery Challenge, click the bookshelf to the right in the sidebar.