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I Want To Live In Three Pines!

I was talking books with a customer the other day and we both agreed that we wanted to move to Three Pines. Now, if you are a fan of Louise Penny and her mystery series featuring Armand Gamache, you will know exactly why. For those of you that haven't discovered her yet, keep reading and I will explain. Three Pines is a small fictional town in the Canadian province of Quebec. Chief Inspector Gamache heads the homicide department of the Surete du Quebec. In Penny's first mystery in the series, Still Life, Gamache is called to Three Pines to investigate a murder. He and his wife, Renie-Marie end up moving there in a subsequent book. Before I explain the appeal of the town and its set of characters, let me give you a little information on Louise Penny.


Penny was born in Toronto in 1958. She grew up reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. After college she had an 18 year career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. After her marriage she left the CBC to try her hand at writing. Her first book, Still Life, won numerous awards including The Dilys Award, the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel in the US. When her last book, Glass Houses, was released it hit #1 on the bestseller lists and was the most popular book in the US. She averages writing a book a year and her fourteenth book in the series is due to be released in November of this year. She has won the Agatha Award for best mystery of the year five times and the Anthony Award five times.


Now, let me tell you why I want to move to Three Pines.  Louise Penny has said that she created a fictional village where she would choose to live and created characters she would like as friends.  She has done that for me as well.


The first delight of the town of Three Pines for me is that it does not exist on any map - real or fictional. The only people to find it are those who are lost. It is less than two hours from Montreal and very near the Vermont border. The town is charming - definitely not cool or edgy. The three pine trees at the end of the town green look "... like wise men who'd found what they were looking for." (From The Cruelest Month). There is a circle of old homes and a grocery store, a boulangerie, a bookstore, a bistro and a bed and breakfast. Most of the residents of the town gather at the bistro for conversation with their kind neighbors (with one exception). The bistro has two fireplaces which exude warmth and cheer and the owners serve up wonderful food and drinks including cafe au lait, brie and fresh baked croissants. I definitely would love to join them!


The characters in the town also greatly contribute to it's appeal. Gamache, who appears more a professor than policeman, has high ideals which often come into conflict with his less principled colleagues. Myrna, the owner of the new and used bookstore, is a large black woman who wears very colorful caftans. She is a former therapist and continues to hand out warmhearted advice. Clara and Peter Morrow are the town's artists. Peter is the more successful of the two and paints extreme realistic close-ups. Clara is more disheveled in every way and not appreciated as an artist until later in the series when she finally achieves success. Gabri and Olivier are gay partners and own the bistro and the bed and breakfast. Olivier deals in antiques and every item in the bistro has a sales tag attached. Gabri is a large bear of a man and runs the kitchen. Ruth Zardo is an elderly renowned poet who is definitely the town character. She has a pet duck and regularly insults everyone she encounters. You do get the sense that, very deep down, she is a caring person.


Louise Penny says that "My books are about terror,.. goodness... kindness...friendship... and enduring love. If you take only one thing away from any of my books I'd like it to be this. Goodness exists." Three Pines exemplifies this goodness and that is why I yearn to live there. You can join me there, in spirit, by reading some of the books in this appealing series. While Penny wrote each book to stand alone, she suggests reading them in order and I whole heartedly agree.


While Three Pines isn't on any map you can see a map of the town by clicking HERE!
By Jill B.

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