Louise Penny: How essay became her solace


The faithfulness of her millions of readers speaks volumes about a interest of Louise Penny’s poser novels. Martha Teichner trafficked to Penny’s hometown to see for herself: 

There should be a name for fans of Louise Penny’s murder mysteries: The L Pack, or a Penny Posse maybe.


To contend they come from distant and far-reaching in vast numbers to attend her book events is no exaggeration. They’ve come all a approach to a Canadian city of Knowlton, in a eastern townships of Quebec, where Penny lives, and her books are set.

“Some of we have come a good stretch with me,” Penny pronounced to them, “so I’m anxious to accommodate any and any one of you.”

It’s as if her readers wish to douse themselves in a environment of her books, that are as many about a backstories of her murders — why people kill — as whodunit. Penny has published 12. They now customarily entrance during array 1 on a New York Times bestseller list, or tighten to it. 

Her next, “Glass Houses,” comes out subsequent month.

  • Read an mention from Louise Penny’s “Glass Houses”

“My books are about many, many things, substantially slightest of all murder,” Penny said. “They’re about life. They’re about choices, and holding shortcoming for what we do. But really, we consider during their heart, they’re about adore and friendship.”

And food. (Her characters all eat unusually well.)

The made-up encampment of Three Pines (which Penny, tongue-in-cheek, informs readers can’t be found on any map, nonetheless her publisher has conveniently had one drawn) is meant to be a protected place — a retreat or refuge for people who are lost.


Louise Penny with match Martha Teichner.

The name has chronological significance. Legend has it, during a American Revolution, a trees were a signpost for loyalists to a British climax journey north to Canada, to safety. “So what people would do is, they would plant a cluster of 3 hunger trees on their home, when they were during a border, as a vigilance to these people that they were safe,” Penny said. “And that’s how we got a name for a village.”

Her investigator is Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. “If we got propitious adequate that a books were published and became a series, we didn’t wish to grow sap of my categorical character. So, we motionless we would emanate a male we would marry,” Penny said. 

But before Penny herself managed to find Three Pines and all a inhabitants, she, too, was lost: “I was celebration some-more and some-more and more. The phone never rang. The doorbell never sounded.”

She had it made, or so it seemed. From a age of 21, she was a contributor and afterwards an anchor for CBC radio, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. But she was also a tip drunk. At 35, she walked into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and altered her life.

“I left that assembly never carrying to splash again,” she told Teichner. “It was unbelievable. The titillate to drink, a need to splash disappeared.”

Not prolonged afterward, she met and married Dr. Michael Whitehead, a remarkable pediatric hematologist some-more than 20 years her senior, who told her that he would support her if she quit her pursuit to write. For 5 years she attempted to write a Great Historical Novel.

But then: “I looked during a bedside table, and unequivocally good represented there were crime novels. It was one of those moments where we only thought, Oh, maybe that’s what we should write.”

That initial book was called “Still Life.” “Quebec is a character, a unequivocally genuine impression in a books,” she said. “There is a unequivocally penetrating clarity of place.”

With any new book, Penny’s following has grown, her fans seeking a square of her illusory and genuine worlds — a line between them mostly blurry.


Louise Penny during a book signing in Knowlton. Quebec.

Readers are assured Kelly Shanahan’s bakery is a bakery in a books. “People come in positively awaiting that Louise Penny is here somewhere,” Shanahan said.

And on this sold day, a Louise Penny sighting does indeed occur.

The internal bookstore, Brome Lake Books, has turn a substitute for Myrna’s New and Used Bookstore in a novels. “We customarily have during slightest 3 groups a day entrance through, not counting a train tours and things like that,” pronounced owners Danny McAuley. “They’re unequivocally looking for a tie to Louise. The books have overwhelmed them. They’ve overwhelmed them personally; they’ve been healed by a books.”


And Penny has been unusually open about her possess life. Each month for her website, she writes what reads like an insinuate minute to a tighten friend. It was there, in 2014, that she disclosed her dear husband, Michael, had been diagnosed with dementia, and afterwards final tumble that he had died.

“So many others have been down this highway before Michael and me — there’s comfort in that,” Penny said.

When fans uncover adult for book signings, it’s not only about a books.

One fan, Marie Josee Pilon, told Teichner, “I adore her books, though we adore a individual. She’s turn partial of a family.”

Louise Penny has never laid eyes on many of these people before, though they are not strangers. After all, she showed them a approach to Three Pines, a refuge where she has now left to find herself once more, in her sadness.

“The essay became a harbor, it became a solace,” Penny said. “It became a universe we could control. Oddly enough, all a decisions we had done 12 years ago, about a place that we would like to live in and people we would select as friends, incited out to be my saving grace.”

For some-more info:

  • “Glass Houses” by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books), accessible on Aug 29 in Hardcover, eBook, Audio CD and Digital Audio Download formats
  • louisepenny.com
  • gamacheseries.com

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