Like Donna Leon whose latest book, Earthly Remains, I reviewed earlier this year, Louise Penny is an author admired by both writers and readers alike who I’d never read. Glass Houses is the thirteenth book in her series featuring Chief Inspector Ganache and I was interested to see see how I’d get on with a series admired by Ann Cleeves and Peter James.
Gamache is living in Three Pines where a mysterious figure appears on the village green one November day, alarming residents who link it to the appearance of a historic cobrador who is seen when a debt is about to be collected. The discovery of a body in a church basement means Ganache is forced to investigate this local crime and face the trial of the accused.
The structure of Glass Houses is interesting as it begins in a courtroom on a hot July day where Ganache is giving evidence about the case. As a new reader to Penney, I was slightly disorientated at first as we dive straight in to both the background to the murder and the personality of Gamache. However, it’s a clever plot device and as Gamache recounts the tale, I became immersed in the story which is excellent, incorporating elects of both Three Pines’ history and modern day policing.
Penney writes beautifully and I can see that the comparisons to PD James aren’t superfluous not least for the wonderful descriptive prose. I’m just sorry that I came to this series so late and hope to catch up with earlier books soon.