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Penny, Louise 1958-

Penny, Louise 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born 1958, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; married; husband's name Michael (a physician and pediatric hematologist).

ADDRESSES:

Home—Canada.

CAREER:

Writer, novelist, journalist, television producer, radio broadcaster. Worked as a journalist, radio host, and documentary producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Debut Dagger Award finalist, Crime Writers of America, 2004, for Still Life.

WRITINGS:

MYSTERY NOVELS

Still Life, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2006.

Dead Cold, Headline Publishing Group (London, England), 2006.

A Fatal Grace, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Radio journalist and broadcaster Louise Penny is also an author whose debut mystery novel, Still Life, is a "beautifully told, lyrically written story of love, life, friendship, and tragedy," commented Booklist reviewer Emily Melton. In the book, Penny introduces Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec, or Quebec police force. Gamache is called in to investigate the death of Jane Neal, a middle-aged artist and well-loved local, found dead near the village of Three Pines with an arrow through her heart. Since she was discovered near an area frequented by deer hunters, Neal's death is at first considered an accident. However, Gamache's investigation indicates that the more likely scenario involves murder. Unfortunately for him, the village of Three Pines contains a multitude of suspects, as a good many of its residents are accomplished archers. Finding a murderer among the generally affable individuals living in Three Pines will not be easy. Gamache discovers that Neal had just recently contributed a controversial painting to a local juried show—observers either loved or hated her primitive-styled work. The intensely private Neal had also just announced that she would open her house for the first time in order to celebrate her painting. Her death happened on the very same day of the announcement. Neal's obnoxious niece Yolande immediately stakes a claim to the artist's house and does her best to keep the police out. Meanwhile, a will is found, in which Neal leaves everything to Clara Morrow, a married neighbor who had been like a daughter to the aging artist. Gamache persists in looking for clues, not only in Neal's painting and behavior, but also in what secrets might be found in her house and among her neighbors.

"Like a virtuoso," Penny sounds a "complex variation on the theme of the clue hidden in plain sight," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Penny's descriptions of the people and the setting are beautifully crafted," commented Kliatt reviewer Jean Palmer. A New York Times reviewer called Penny "an author whose deceptively simple style masks the complex patterns of a well-devised plot." A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded: "Cerebral, wise and compassionate, Gamache is destined for stardom. Don't miss this stellar debut."

In a biography on her home page, Penny stated, "There are times when I'm in tears writing. Not because I'm so moved by my own writing, but out of gratitude that I get to do this." She concluded: "What a privilege it is to write. I hope you enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoy writing them."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of Still Life, p. 38.

Bookseller, August 26, 2005, Ruth Masters, review of Still Life, p. 11.

Kirkus Reviews, May 16, 2006, review of Still Life, p. 500.

Kliatt, November, 2006, Jean Palmer, review of Still Life, p. 53.

New York Times, July 23, 2006, review of Still Life. Publishers Weekly, May 1, 2006, review of Still Life, p. 40.

ONLINE

Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (January 2, 2007), bibliography of Louise Penny.

Louise Penny Home Page,http://www.louisepenny.com (January 2, 2007).

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