Last Updated on April 13, 2020 Louise Penny is a Canadian bestselling author who is most known for her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series of books, featuring the CI in Three Pines, a small village south of Montréal.
If you enjoy reading crime mystery novels set in small towns or villages with lots of secrets buried and lots of skeletons laying around, you will love reading these books.
Here are the Louise Penny books in order for her world-famous Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books.
New Louise Penny Books
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series
- Still Life (#1), 2005
- A Fatal Grace aka Dead Cold (#2), 2006
- The Cruelest Month (#3), 2007
- A Rule Against Murder (#4), 2008
- The Brutal Telling (#5), 2009
- Bury Your Dead (#6), 2010
- The Hangman (#6.5) 2010 (novella)
- A Trick of the Light (#7), 2011
- The Beautiful Mystery (#8), 2012
- How the Light Gets In (#9), 2013
- The Long Way Home (#10), 2014
- The Nature of the Beast (#11), 2015
- A Great Reckoning (#12), 2016
- Glass Houses (#13), 2017
- Kingdom of the Blind (#14), 2018
- A Better Man (#15), 2019
- All the Devils Are Here (#16), 2020
Other Louise Penny Books
- The Best American Mystery Stories, 2018 (anthology edited by Louise Penny)
Louise Penny Biography
The Canadian New York Times bestselling and popular author Louise Penny was born in 1958 in Toronto, Ontario. Growing up, she cultivated a fondness for reading crime mystery books which were instilled in her by her mother who loved reading such books.
Attending the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Louise graduated in 1979 with a BA in Radio and Television, following which, at the age of 21, she began working as a radio host and journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a job that she held for over 20 years.
One of the dark spots in her life, to which she admitted at the age of 35 was that she was an alcoholic. However, as soon as she outed her problem to the world, she stopped drinking for good. Not long after, she met her future husband, a doctor and head f hematology at Montreal Children’s Hospital, Michael Whitehead.
Around the same time, Louise began writing books and quit her long-term job at the CBC. While her first novel – an attempt at writing a historical novel – was a bust, she soon found her niche in the genre of crime mystery books.
Still Life, the author’s debut novel, was a major success and it won several awards, including the Anthony Awards for Best First Novel, the Barry Awards for Best First Novel, and the Dilys Awards for Best Book. It also won several ones in the UK, where she presented the novel in the “Debut Dagger” competition, earning a second-place out of a total of 800 entries in the competition. The book introduces us to the Chief Inspector, who is requested to travel to the small town of Three Pines in order to investigate the apparent accident of a sweet old lady, Jane Neal. She was found lying dead in the nearby maple woods. When he appears in Three Pines, he is immediately not so sure this was suicide. The more he investigates, the clearer it becomes that this was no accident at all. From his long homicide department law enforcement career from Sûreté du Quebec, he has learned to see beyond the surface and really notices when something is not as it seems.
Soon, the first book was followed by A Fatal Grace, also in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series, and as more books followed, most of them being nominated and also receiving some well-deserved honors. In fact, in 2009, Louise Penny herself helped create a new award, called the Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, which aims at helping aspiring mystery writers in Canada get better known in the world.
Reading the Louise Penny books in order for her Armand Gamache series is one of the joys of the series’ lovers for stories that deal not only with a lot of murder but also some very vibrant and interesting characters. Inspector Gamache is a French-Canadian character who lots of readers can easily identify with. He is real and not an idealistic supersleuth who knows it all. Gamache values teamwork above all. Most of the cases are solved with the help of the entire team that deal with most murders. If Gamache needs help, he is not shy to ask for it. Some people call these novels cozy mysteries, however in my opinion, they are really closers to literary mysteries and light-hearted cozies.
2020 sees the release of All the Devils Are Here, in which the Gamache family is in Paris, eating together at a restaurant, when his godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz is attacked. The old man’s pockets hold a key that sends Armand, his wifeReine-Marie, and Jean-Guy Beauvoir across all the corners of Paris trying to unravel the secrets Stephen was implicated in many decades ago. And now, Gamache is not sure whom to trust and who is the one to double-cross him in the first place.
The first book in the series, Still Life, sparked the creation of a TV movie with the same title featuring Nathaniel Parker in the role of Inspector Gamache. The movie aired in 2013.
Currently, the author lives in the small Quebec village Knowlton in Canada, where she works on her next book. Her husband of many years, Michael, died in 2016. In an interview, the writer mentioned that Michael is the model for our main character in the series.
Praise for Louise Penny
An excellent, subtle plot full of understanding of the deeper places in human nature, and many wise observations that will enrich the reader long after the pages are closed (Anne Perry on Still Life)
Still Life is a lovely, clever book and I hope I shall be reading a lot more by Louise Penny! (Ann Granger)
Georges Simenon kept Maigret going for over a hundred books. It will be a delight for all of us who love detective fiction if Louise Penny can stay around long enough to do the same for Gamache. (Reginald Hill)
Many mystery buffs have credited Louise Penny with the revival of the type of traditional murder mystery made famous by Agatha Christie (Sarah Weinman)
Penny’s lyrical writing opens up Gamache’s soul-searching in an almost poetic way. “A Better Man,” it turns out, isn’t so much a novel to wrap up certain story lines in this 14-book series, but one to breathe new life into them. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
A Better Man, with its mix of meteorological suspense, psychological insight and criminal pursuit, is arguably the best book yet in an outstanding, original oeuvre. (Wall Street Journal)
The cozy mystery has a graceful practitioner in Louise Penny. (The New York Times book review)
Arthur Ellis Award-winner Penny paints a vivid picture of the French-Canadian village, its inhabitants and a determined detective who will strike many Agatha Christie fans as a 21st-century version of Hercule Poirot. (Publishers Weekly)
Ms. Penny has a gift for linking the mundane to the mythic (Tom Nolan)