Earlier today (NZT), superstar Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny added another trophy to her overflowing crime award cabinet, by winning the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel for BURY YOUR DEAD, her sixth tale starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.
Penny has come a long way in quite a short time since being highly commended as an unpublished writer in the 2004 Debut Dagger category of the CWA's prestigious Dagger Awards. Her Quebec-set tales starring Gamache have certainly struck a chord with readers, reviewers, and awards judges alike. Earlier this year I noted that Penny was up for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Agatha Award for Best Novel (for BURY YOUR DEAD) at this year's Malice Domestic mystery writing festival (which focuses on 'traditional mysteries' typified by Golden Age writers like Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh, loosely defined as containing no explicit sex or violence).
Sure enough, shortly after I returned from my Turkey/Greece holiday, Penny pocketed her fourth consecutive Agatha Award, an astonishing achievement.
I have yet to read BURY YOUR DEAD, but it looks like I might have to elevate it up the towering TBR pile. Here's the blurb:
"It is Winter Carnival in Quebec City, bitterly cold and surpassingly beautiful. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come not to celebrate but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the seemingly peaceful Literary and Historical Society--where an obsessive historian's search for the missing remains of the founder of Quebec ends bizarrely in murder. Injured himself and in need of rest, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smoldering tensions between the English and the French.
Meanwhile, he receives letter after letter from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. "It doesn't make sense," Olivier's partner writes every day. "He didn't do it, you know." Despite the overwhelming case against Olivier, Gamache sends his deputy back to Three Pines to make sure that nothing was overlooked.
Through it all, in his painstaking quest for justice, Gamache must relive the terrible events that killed one of his men before he can begin to bury his dead."
Have you read BURY YOUR DEAD or any of Penny's other Gamache books? Do you enjoy 'traditional mysteries' set in modern times?