Maybe you’re not a Louise Penny fan, though I don’t know why you aren’t.
If you aren’t, why aren’t you?
It’s possible, of course, that you subscribe to the snobby belief that any New York Times bestseller can’t possibly be worth reading. That, after all, was what I thought when I was a 22-year-old student teacher taking Methods of Secondary School English (don’t ask), and our instructor informed us that we should always be sure to read all the books on the Times Best Seller list! (His stated rationale was “What if a student asks you about one of them?”)
That was the occasion on which I lost half of the respect I had for him. As an intellectual snob, what else could I do? His reason, of course, was totally unacceptable in any world.
I lost the other half of my respect when he told us that if we found out that one of our students was smoking marijuana, it was our obligation to notify the police immediately. Even as a total abstainer, I still lost the rest of my respect for him. As a child of the ’60s, what else could I do?
But I digress. What does all this have to with Louise Penny’s latest novel? Well, first of all, if you haven’t read my two previous posts about her novels, I suggest that you stop right here and do so:
- Seven years ago I wrote a general article about her Three Pines series.
- Just over a year ago I wrote an article connecting her to fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen.
This novel, All the Devils are Here, is notionally part of the Three Pines series, even though almost the entire book actually takes place in Paris. You can certainly read it without having any knowledge of the preceding stories, but it will be more meaningful if you’ve read the series in order, as you will know much more about the relevant character development and plot. There is also a thematic relationship here with the Penny novel and Cohen song discussed in the second link in the list above. Although All the Devils are Here can certainly be classified as a mystery, it’s more about family relationships than it is about figuring out who committed a certain crime. And it takes place in Paris!