Jan 12

Series Saturday - Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

Posted on January 12, 2018 at 1:58 PM by Lindsey Kult

Gamache

You might have already heard of this week’s Series Saturday from Susan or Mary - it’s Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (originally was called Three Pines series, but changed when she expanded past the little village). These books are excellent mysteries that both cozy-mystery and classic-mystery readers will enjoy! There is not much violence or sex, but there is strong language. Speaking of language... these books are set in Québec, where there is still tension between English-speaking Canadians (Anglos) and French-speaking Canadians. You will frequently run across simple French sentences. After book 6, Penny includes the translations for these sentences in the dialogue; but don’t let that discourage you from reading the first 5 books! Nothing vital to the plot is in French, and can easily be understood through context. Due to the sprinkling of French, you might want to listen to the audiobook versions of these books (We have all of these books available on OverDrive as well). The narrator is excellent and adds further context to the dialogue.


Genre:


Mystery


Location in Howard Miller:


Mystery, MYS PENNY


Meet the Characters:


Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is a kind, complex man who isn’t ashamed to say, “I’m sorry.” “I don’t know.” and “I need help.” He is an enjoyable character who embraces his flaws and you care for him even more because of these flaws. Despite this, Gamache has made many enemies during his years in the Sûreté. Luckily, those who stand with him are incredibly loyal. Gamache tries to see the good in everyone he encounters and takes the troubled and frustrated under his wing.

The village of Three Pines is a character as much as it is a setting. Penny describes the small and quiet village in such loving terms that you can’t help but love it as well. It has a rich history, and a very ...unique population (see below).

Jean Guy Beauvoir has been Gamache’s second-in-command for many years and sees Gamache as a father figure. Beauvoir is not exactly likeable. He’s surly and quick to judge. As a reader, you won’t necessarily dislike him - but you will see the contrast between Beauvoir and his supervisor.

Yvette Nichol is a troublemaker. You’ll never fully understand where she’s coming from or her intentions. She’s been wronged numerous times and doesn’t trust easily.

Peter and Clara Morrow are married artists living in Three Pines. Peter has always been the more successful of the pair; but Clara is finally finding her talent and it has created tension.

Ruth Zardo is a hilarious, cranky, nasty old woman who is secretly one of the world’s greatest poets. She hides her soft side under layers of anger and sarcasm. She is one of Gamache’s favorite residents of Three Pines because he understands her emotional pain. Like Gamache, she collects the troubled and needy and protects them. Unlike Gamache, she only does this if the troubled and needy are not human, but animals.

Myrna Landers, Gabriel Dubeau, and Olivier Brulé are business owners in Three Pines. They’re best friends with Ruth, Peter, and Clara. Gabriel and Olivier are a married gay couple. Gabriel is a sassy firecracker who likes to stir up trouble. Myrna is a retired psychologist who now owns the local bookstore. Gamache occasionally visits her for insight.


Number in the Series:


There are currently 13 books in the series. Some fans of the series say that you can start reading at #8, but we think they’re best read in order. We cannot guarantee that they are all available in the library, but they are all on OverDrive!


  1. Still Life

  2. A Fatal Grace

  3. The Cruelest Month

  4. A Rule Against Murder

  5. The Brutal Retelling

  6. Bury Your Dead

  7. A Trick of the Light

  8. The Beautiful Mystery

  9. How the Light Gets In

  10. The Long Way Home

  11. The Nature of the Beast

  12. A Great Reckoning

  13. Glass Houses


Final Word:


This series is excellent for all mystery lovers! It has the small town feel that cozy mystery lovers crave with the detective work that classic mystery readers enjoy. The characters are addictive and real. As one of our patrons put it in their Monday Book Review - the characters are living. You are pulled into their world and don’t want to leave.

Dec 13

Last Series Saturday of 2016 - Winter Street

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 3:27 PM by Lindsey Kult

Winter Collage
This is the last regular Series Saturday of 2016. Next week's Series Saturday will be a recap of the wonderful series examined since this blog series began! We're revisiting a Series Saturday from a year ago! This week's series is Winter by Elin Hilderbrand - who has been labelled "the Queen of the Summer Novel." Ironically, the books in this series are all about winter and Christmas on Nantucket! It is a favorite of both Jessica (Mrs. V) and Lindsey. These books are all available on OverDrive in both ebooks and audiobooks so you can check them out even with the library closed!

Genre: 

Fiction, Holiday, Romance

Location in Howard Miller:


Adult Fiction, AF HILDERBRAND

Meet the Characters: 

This trilogy spans three Christmases on the island of Nantucket and the Quinn family's story. Kelley Quinn is the father of Patrick, Kevin, and Ava by his ex-wife Margaret. He fathered Bart with his wife, Mitzi. He was married to Margaret for 19 years before their drive to excel in their respective careers drove them apart. Margaret went on to become one of the most famous newswoman in America, while Kelley married Mitzi and moved his children to Nantucket to run Mitzi's favorite inn.  Now, 21 years later, he has walked in on Mitzi with another man - Santa Claus (or the man who plays Santa at the inn). She informs Kelley that she's leaving him and he blames it on Bart's deployment to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Ava is trying to sort out her feelings for her "perfect" boyfriend and her best friend who has declared his love for her numerous times. Patrick and his wife are having their own problems because of his questionable business dealings. And Kevin - the classic middle child - is in love with Isabelle, the French assistant at the inn and must grow up to show her how much he cares. Even with all of this drama surrounding the inn, the family cannot help but notice that they have not heard from Bart since he arrived in Afghanistan and only Margaret knows why... 

Number in the series:

This is a trilogy and the last book was released in October. This was a trilogy, but now we have the fourth book! We currently have a copy of the third fourth book on the Express Bookshelf.
  1. Winter Street
  2. Winter Stroll
  3. Winter Storms
  4. Winter Solstice 
Final Word: 

This trilogy series of unknown length is delightful! It is perfect for holiday reading, or just winter reading in general. You quickly get drawn into each character's life and root for the happy ending - even if the character doesn't want the same happy ending you do. The Quinns have more than their fair share of dysfunction but are easy to love because it is so relatable. Each book ends with a cliff hanger that has you rushing to read the next! It's a great holiday read that reminds you that family is what Christmas is all about. 
Nov 10

Series Saturday - Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich!

Posted on November 10, 2017 at 2:17 PM by Lindsey Kult

Collage 1Collage 2

Series Saturday is making a comeback with one of the most popular series in the mystery genre! Since "Hot Six," each of these books have been on the New York Times Bestsellers List - many of them reaching #1 immediately! These books do use explicit language and have sexual situations. We have multiple copies of each book and they're all available on OverDrive. "Hardcore Twenty-Four" came out on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, so be sure to catch up on the series!

Genre: 


Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Humor, Women's Fiction

Location in Howard Miller: 

Mystery, MYS EVANOVICH

Meet the Characters: 


After being fired from her job as an underwear shopper and having her car repossessed, Stephanie Plum is desperate to find something that will pay the rent (i.e. keep her from moving back home to the Burg). The solution is not an obvious one: Blackmail her cousin Vinny so he lets her become one of his bounty hunters. Stephanie has no experience with law enforcement, guns, or investigating, but she does have attitude, luck, and the desire to keep her apartment! Basically, Stephanie is a great example of how not to be a bounty hunter. Luckily for her, she has a team of equally outrageous people who help her make recoveries (bringing in a person who failed to show for court): 
Joe Morelli was a lot of Stephanie's firsts. He was her first sexual encounter, her first recovery assignment as a bounty hunter, and is her first call when she needs police backup. Stephanie and Morelli have a complicated relationship. They both hate the other's job, have joint custody over Bob, the Golden Retriever/eating machine, and are in love. But Stephanie's love for Morelli has competition - her lust for Ranger...
Ranger is a Cuban American, former special forces, bounty hunter extraordinaire who sets Stephanie's (well... all women's) insides on fire! He often saves Stephanie's behind on a recovery and acts as her personal bodyguard. Sometimes guarding said body very closely. No ones much about Ranger. He has a group of macho men who occasionally tail Stephanie so Ranger can keep track of her. Any time Stephanie needs something not-exactly-legal done, she knows she can call Ranger.
Lula is Stephanie's hilarious right hand lady! She's a large black woman who used to work the streets until she was almost beaten to death because she was helping Stephanie. Now Lula also works for Vinny, but as a receptionist/filer - she's not exactly talented as either, but no one is brave enough to tell her so! Lula never felt the need to change her look, so she still rocks the neon colored spandex and big hair. Lula likes to go with Stephanie to make her captures, and is about as talented as Stephanie at recovery!
Connie is Vinny's receptionist who knows everything that happens in Trenton. She fits the stereotype for a Jersey knockout, and she's not afraid to knock you out for not respecting her! 
Grandma Mazur is Stephanie's loud, crazy, and fearless grandmother. She lives with Stephanie's parents and enjoys visiting the funeral homes, annoying Stephanie's mother, and going with Stephanie on recoveries. She's a menace, but one of the best! 

Number in the Series: 

There are currently 24 main books in the series and 4 "between the numbers" books. The between the numbers tend to be holiday themed and feature Diesel - from Evanovich's Lizzy & Diesel series! 
  1. One for the Money
  2. Two for the Dough
  3. Three to Get Deadly
  4. Four to Score
  5. High Five
  6. Hot Six
  7. Seven Up
  8. Hard Eight
    8.5 Visions of Sugar Plums
  9. To the Nines
  10. Ten Big Ones
  11. Eleven on Top
  12. Twelve Sharp
    12.5 Plum Lovin'
  13. Lean Mean Thirteen
    13.5 Plum Lucky
  14. Fearless Fourteen
    14.5 Plum Spooky
  15. Finger Lickin' Fifteen
  16. Sizzling Sixteen
  17. Smokin' Seventeen
  18. Explosive Eighteen
  19. Notorious Nineteen
  20. Takedown Twenty
  21. Top Secret Twenty-One
  22. Tricky Twenty-Two
  23. Turbo Twenty-Three
  24. Hardcore Twenty-Four
Final Word: 

This series is hugely popular - but not for everyone. If you object to R-rated romantic comedies, this isn't the series for you. Despite this, it is a goofy mystery series that will have you laughing out loud as you read. After the first few books, you'll want to read on not just to know what Stephanie's gotten herself into - but what Lula and Grandma Mazur have done to make it worse!