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She was also a spokeswoman for the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies, as her husband suffered from the disease and died in 2016. 'Not sure if she talked about this at all

Yes, Michael was so central to her life and her writing that I don't think she could talk about her novels without mentioning him.
Ann Cleeves was widowed even more recently, only in December 2017, something else the two friends had in common.

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Last night I saw and heard these two crime writing authors together in York's central library. We spent a wonderful hour with these two highly intelligent and articulate ladies. AC in particular spoke very eloquently against library closures and why we should all vehemently oppose them. I'd like to recommend that you see either or both of them if they ever come to a venue near you!

I've been a huge fan of LP since being introduced to Armand Gamache by bluenoser back at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 and have been devouring her novels ever since.
(I hope this will link to my original copy of Still Life
https://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6592474/)
I'm now inspired to re-read them all - but, of course, all the early ones have long since been BookCrossed and I need to re-source them. I made a start by downloading Still Life this morning but so far a tour of 6 local charity shops has yielded me nothing further! Wish me luck!

On the other hand, I'd not read anything by Ann Cleeves. I now intend to remedy that and this morning downloaded the first of her Vera novels, The Crow Trap.

Has anyone else seen either of them lately? I understand that LP came to the UK from Spain and is heading to Australia before returning to Canada . . .
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That sounds marvelous! If I had the chance to hear them speak I'd definitely go. I love their work - wonderful settings and sense of place, intriguing characters with relationships that drive the stories...

The first Cleeve book I read was Blue Lightning ( http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13448109/ ), which - I was amused to note - had a cover-blurb from Louise Penny!

I discovered Penny's books via The Brutal Telling ( http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/12859627/ ), and have devoured the entire series since.
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They certainly worked well together, having a lovely, easy rapport :-)

While looking around Amazon for early Louise Pennys for the Kindle, I came across a quirky little e-book called Louise Penny Believes: Get to know better this proud Canadian author, creator of Inspector Armand Gamache, which it claims is by Mobile Library (whatever that means as an author's name!)

It also says it's available to UK customers only - I don't know why!

It's some sort of short collection of things she's said or written on various subjects, things she believes in. Didn't take long to read!

I rather like the one headed: Louise Penny believes in Librarians
"Few things are better in the world than a room full of librarians. I consider them literary heroes. The Keepers and defenders of the written word."
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They certainly worked well together, having a lovely, easy rapport :-)

While looking around Amazon for early Louise Pennys for the Kindle, I came across a quirky little e-book called Louise Penny Believes: Get to know better this proud Canadian author, creator of Inspector Armand Gamache, which it claims is by Mobile Library (whatever that means as an author's name!)

It also says it's available to UK customers only - I don't know why!

It's some sort of short collection of things she's said or written on various subjects, things she believes in. Didn't take long to read!

I rather like the one headed: Louise Penny believes in Librarians
"Few things are better in the world than a room full of librarians. I consider them literary heroes. The Keepers and defenders of the written word."


I get Louise Penny's monthly newsletter in which she talks about what is happening in her life at the moment and how the book writing is going and other snippets of information. It's like reading a letter from a good friend and makes me feel like I know her a little better. However, she has not visited Winnipeg on a book tour as far as I am aware even though she spent some years here while working for CBC. I would love to see her in person.

I have not read any Ann Cleeves books either but I keep hearing good things about them. Are they a series and thus better to read from the first or are they stand alone?
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I have not read any Ann Cleeves books either but I keep hearing good things about them. Are they a series and thus better to read from the first or are they stand alone?

She has two series that she's particularly well known for, both now enjoying television adaptations, one set in the Shetland Isles and the other featuring a detective called Vera.
They talked about the complications of writing series where there are regular characters and a developing story that regular readers follow closely, while making sure each book can stand alone for readers who are coming to it fresh, each with its own self-contained mystery/mysteries to be solved, keeping the balance between telling/reminding readers of the back story without overdoing it.
Yes, Ms Cleeves does write in series and yes, I think they would be best read in order, but, like I said, I haven't read any. I'm planning to start with the first Vera novel, The Crow Trap.
They also talked about their novels being rooted in time and place, e.g. the Shetland hero couldn't be transported to London!
AC had talked about her detailed knowledge of Northumberland, where Vera is set, and, answering a question, she said she'd also lived in the Shetland Isles for a while in the past.
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She has two series that she's particularly well known for

Her Fantastic Fiction page suggests that Ann Cleeves is more prolific than I realised.
https://www.fantasticfiction.com/---/ann-cleeves/
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both now enjoying television adaptations,

AC's TV series are very popular. They talked a bit about them, how they came to be made, differences between page and screen etc.
There was a brief mention of the disastrous Gamache TV travesty which hopefully will never be repeated!
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I read a couple of Penny's books including "Still Life" (http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14747272/ after seeing a TV news piece on her on the CBS Morning Show. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

I really enjoyed them and have more in the Gamache series that I hope to get to sometime soon.
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after seeing a TV news piece on her on the CBS Morning Show. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

Thank you for that clip. I loved it! We actually went to Knowlton on our one and only holiday in Quebec, way back in 2000, but that was 8 or 9 years before I discovered Louise Penny and her wonderful books. I always picture Three Pines as being in that area of the Eastern Townships as I remember them, but didn't realise I'd been so close to her and what people identify as the bakery and bookshop and such like . . . . :-)
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...while I'd highly recommend both the "Shetland" & "Vera" series her earlier books are great too & I used to really enjoy the Inspector Ramsay series. You've some good books to look forward too :o) (all my copies are travelling or I'd send you some)

I don't watch either of the TV series, I lasted 20 mins with "Shetland" as much as I like Douglas Henshall, he wasn't my idea of the dark Spainishy (?) Jimmy Perez!
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...while I'd highly recommend both the "Shetland" & "Vera" series her earlier books are great too & I used to really enjoy the Inspector Ramsay series. You've some good books to look forward too :o) (all my copies are travelling or I'd send you some)

I don't watch either of the TV series, I lasted 20 mins with "Shetland" as much as I like Douglas Henshall, he wasn't my idea of the dark Jimmy Perez!

Icila sent me the 1st of the "Vera" series : I look forward to read it !
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Icila sent me the 1st of the "Vera" series : I look forward to read it !

You'll have to report back on what you think!
I've got other books to finish before I'll get around to it myself.
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You've some good books to look forward too :o) (all my copies are travelling or I'd send you some)

Thanks for the thought! I think I'll be using the library . . . . :-)
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I've read many of Louise Penny's books, but her earlier ones were definitely better than her later ones. The last few have not impressed me. In "The Long Way Home" they were all so sure they knew Peter's reasons (which they assume are spiritual in nature) for his journeys , but I *knew* Peter would have much more mundane reasons. Even his wife swallowed this claptrap, and I was quite disappointed.

The 'Maguffin' in "The Nature of the Beast" was ridiculous to the point of disbelief. A giant "gun" pointed at the US???

And in "A Great Reckoning", the old orienteering map subplot sounded like she was cribbing (badly) Dan Brown. As for the main plot - well there were enough holes in it you could drive a freight train through.

I really liked her early books, but I'm not sure I have the heart to read her latest...
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I've read many of Louise Penny's books, but her earlier ones were definitely better than her later ones.


I kinda-sorta agree, though for me I'd say it was the early-middle books that I liked the best - The Brutal Telling, Bury the Dead, How the Light Gets In ( http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13448081/ ). The first book seemed a bit leisurely, and if I'd read it without having already read The Brutal Telling I don't know if I'd have stuck with the series.

The more recent books... well, I agree re Nature of the Beast ( http://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14231723/ ), which had some good elements but which felt like it should have been in a completely different series, or a stand-alone. And maybe the author felt so too, as I don't recall any references to it at all in subsequent books, just as if it never happened! (The early imagery was marvelous and chilling, and it was based on actual events, but it was my least favorite of the series so far.)

I did enjoy The Great Reckoning ( https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14712937/ ), though I listed some quibbles re plotholes - at that point I did a lot of shrugging-and-moving-on. Not the best, and not a good starting point, as for me its strength was based on the entire series' worth of character development and relationships.

The Long Way Home ( https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/13448101/ )... not my favorite, but I did enjoy it, at least up until the end, which was... harsh. The road-trip aspect and the ongoing focus on art, artists, artistic temperaments, etc. pleased me.

I've read Glass Houses ( https://www.bookcrossing.com/---/14709934/ ), the most recent book, and enjoyed it - though, again, it had its flaws, including a bizarre and unlikely plot-point that was colorful and intriguing but not-quite-Three-Pines-ish.

I still like visiting the characters and locations, and will continue to follow it, but I'd agree that not all the books are equally solid plot-wise, and while there are some that I'd re-read gladly, that's not true of them all!
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I still like visiting the characters and locations, and will continue to follow it

Agreed!
but I'd agree that not all the books are equally solid plot-wise

Agreed!
and while there are some that I'd re-read gladly, that's not true of them all!

And that's where we differ :-) I've decided to re-read them all from the beginning and fully intend to do so!
I finished Still Life yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with how much foreshadowing of later plotlines she'd included, hints of and references to further developments that only come into their own when read with hindsight!
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I really liked her early books, but I'm not sure I have the heart to read her latest...

My love of Three Pines and its residents is such that I want to spend as much time there as possible, making me incredibly tolerant of any plot/character inconsistencies/discrepancies/whatever! I make no apologies for my willing lack of discernment :-)
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Louise Penny is a great gal. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for an almanac I work on. She was also a spokeswoman for the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies, as her husband suffered from the disease and died in 2016. 'Not sure if she talked about this at all. Canada's magazine for the book industry is called "Quill and Quire" and I thought you might enjoy this article from 2007 - lots of background on Louise. https://quillandquire.com/---/louise-penny-s-second-chance/
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She was also a spokeswoman for the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies, as her husband suffered from the disease and died in 2016. 'Not sure if she talked about this at all

Yes, Michael was so central to her life and her writing that I don't think she could talk about her novels without mentioning him.
Ann Cleeves was widowed even more recently, only in December 2017, something else the two friends had in common.
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Nice article. Thanks for the link.

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