My friend, Harriet, and I are constant readers. And once in a while we trade writers since there is, after all, a finite number of wondrous writers in the world--not that Harriet or I have exhausted that by any means. But we like the same sort of writers, mostly mystery, but not always, and we can send each other down paths of great enjoyment by sharing writers.
We had lunch before Christmas and I was able to tell her of Laura Lippman, who writes about Baltimore, where we're going tomorrow. And Harriet, God bless her, told me about Louise Penny who writes about a Quebec detective named Gamach. I've read three already and two more are waiting for me at the Cheshire Library an email just told me.
I like the Canadian feel of the Penny novels. Everything is a little more subdued, less frenetic and less violent than American writers or Scandinavian writers (God knows--so dark are those!) or even the British. Gamach is almost too thoughtful and kind and introspective, but not quite.
When I was on a tour of the Holy Land more than a decade ago with a group of Episcopal priests, one Bishop and a couple of lay-folks, our guide would laugh at each stop we made because of the questions the people wanting to sell us stuff asked her. I asked her what they were asking in Hebrew or Arabic and she told me this: "Everywhere we stop, they think you are all Canadian. You just don't seem like Americans to them."
Ever since then, I've wondered if Episcopalians should be Canadians? A tad more reserve and less noisy than other Americans.
I'd almost like to be Canadian--but it's cold enough for me in Connecticut, Quebec, from the Penny novels is a tad too brisk.
Laura Lippman and Louise Penny--if you like literary mysteries (like P.D. James, may she rest in peace) try them out, by all means.
Harriet and I give them two thumbs up.
That should seal the deal....
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