If You Like Louise Penny….

Many of you have already heard of Louise Penny’s impending visit to our fair city – this event’s going to be so big, we’re hosting her outside of our store and over at the Central Texas Presbyterian Church. Tickets are now SOLD OUT thanks to our wonderful mystery community. 

For those looking to get their Louise Penny fix another way, here are a few more atmospheric series, some Francophone and some Canadian, to please the Louise Penny fan who’s all caught up with Inspector Gamache.

9780143109457Fred Vargas’ Commissaire Adamsberg series

Fred Vargas writes the Commissaire Adamsberg series, set in provincial France in a small town that both mimics and parodies the political fractures of the nation. She came to writing from archeology and history, and like Margaret Atwood, her fascination with the plague, mythology, medieval history, and ancient fears has translated into brilliant modern fiction. You can find copies of Fred Vargas’ works on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

9780307454690Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police series

Walker is known for his Bruno, Chief of Police series, wherein Bruno must tackle crimes both petty and perverse while engaging in more politicking than he can stand. He takes plenty of breaks to consume the provincial delicacies of his small French town and meditate on Francophone culture. Fans of Louise Penny will enjoy the quirky cast of characters that populate Bruno’s little fiefdom. You can find copies of Martin Walker’s works on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. 

the unquiet deadAusma Zehanat Khan’s Community Policing series

For those looking to keep up with the best in Canadian crime fiction, try Ausma Zehanat Khan’s community policing series featuring Detective Esa Khattack and his partner Rachel Getty. The two tackle crime solving in an empathetic, very Canadian way – no swashbuckling, just skillful crime-solving respectful of civil rights and minority communities. This series should please those who appreciate Louise Penny’s series for both its conscientious morality and Canadian settting. You can find copies of Ausma Zehanat Khan’s works on our shelves and via bookpeople.com


Women’s History Month: Recommendations of Women (and Men) in Crime Fiction, From Women in Crime Fiction

-Post by Molly

March is Women’s History Month, so at the beginning of the month, I reached out to many of my favorite female authors writing in crime fiction today for some thoughts and recommendations. Jamie Mason, Meg Gardiner, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Megan Abbott, and Lori Rader-Day all sent replies along, posted earlier this month (Mason’s response posted separately), and now we bring you some of their amazing recommendations. Not all the authors listed below are currently in print (although some soon return to print), and this is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the best crime writers today (a virtually impossible task). I’ve added quite a few of the following to my “to read” list. Enjoy!

monday's lieJamie Mason Recommends…

Classic Authors:

  • Josephine Tey
  • Dorothy Sayers
  • Daphne du Maurier
  • Patricia Highsmith
  • Agatha Christie

Second Wave Authors:

  • Ruth Rendell
  • PD James
  • Patricia Cornwell
  • Mary Higgins Clark
  • Sue Grafton
  • Kathy Reichs

Contemporary Authors:

  • Gillian Flynn
  • Tana French
  • Laura Lippman
  • Megan Abbott
  • Tess Gerritsen
  • Kate Atkinson
  • Lisa Lutz
  • Mo Hayder
  • Sara Paretsky

phantom instinct

Meg Gardiner Recommends…

Classic Authors:

  • Agatha Christie
  • Mary Shelley (as innovator of suspense fiction)
  • Patricia Highsmith

the unquiet deadAusma Zehanat Khan Recommends…

Classic Authors:

  • Ngaio Marsh
  • Dorothy L. Sayers (and the Jill Paton Walsh continuation of the Wimsey/Vane series)

Contemporary Authors:

  • Deborah Crombie
  • Imogen Robertson
  • Charles Finch
  • Charles Todd
  • Alan Bradley
  • Louise Penny
  • Susan Hill
  • Ariana Franklin
  • Anna Dean
  • Martha Grimes
  • Morag Joss
  • C. S. Harris
  • Stephanie Barron
  • Laurie R. King
  • Laura Joh Rowland
  • Elizabeth George
  • Peter May (in particular, The Blackhouse)
  • the late, great Reginald Hill

feverMegan Abbott Recommends…

The following books are soon to appear in the Library of America’s collection Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s, edited by Sarah Weinman

  • Dorothy B. Hughes’s In A Lonely Place
  • Vera Caspary’s Laura
  • Elizabeth Sanxay Holding’s The Blank Wall
  • Margaret Millar’s Beast In View

the black hourLori Rader-Day Recommends…

Classic Authors:

  • Lois Duncan
  • Agatha Christie
  • Mary Higgins Clark

Contemporary Authors:

  • Tana French
  • Catriona McPherson
  • Denise Mina
  • Clare O’Donohue
  • Sara Gran
  • Gillian Flynn
  • Alan Bradley
  • James Ziskin

Critical Praise for HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN

We’re looking forward to welcoming author Louise Penny to BookPeople tomorrow, Tuesday September 3rd at 7pm, with her latest Inspector Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In. Scott read the book and considers it a “game changer in the series”. Scott’s not alone in his praise.  Quite a bit of fine press has rolled out for Penny’s latest. Here’s a quick round-up:

“Carrying forward the tradition of mystery masters such as G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers, Penny has been working throughout her series to tap into the spiritual dimensions of the genre.”
-Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post.

“From its first pages, readers will find themselves invested and unexpectedly comfortable, too comfortable, in Louise Penny’s ultimately intense ninth mystery in the best-selling “Chief Inspector Gamache” series.”
– Don Oldenburg, USA Today

“Louise Penny twists and turns the plot expertly tripping the reader up just at the moment you think you might have solved the mystery. She excels with the characterisation of Armand Gamache. Creating through him a story of human perseverance in the face of personal turmoil he is a deeply complex character.”
-Hannah Brit, Express

“With the grace of a master prose stylist and the generosity born of a kind heart, Penny again explores the mysteries of humanity in a novel that builds to a nerve-burning climax, engages the mind in an examination of sin and redemption and ends in tears of relief. Suffused with brilliance on all levels, “How the Light Gets In” displays Penny at her beautiful and bountiful best.”
– Jay Stafford, Richmond Times Dispatch

If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll join us tomorrow night to meet Louise Penny and hear her discuss her series and the new book. From what we understand, she’s been drawing quite the crowd at each stop on her tour. Should be a good night. If you can’t make it but would like a signed copy, we can make it happen. Just head over to our website and place an order. We ship all over the world.



Louise Penny started out with a fresh mix of police and village mystery in her debut, Still Life. As the Inspector Gamache series continued, the books got more complex, with its lead investigator slowly revealing himself as much as the the mysteries he looks into. Her latest, How The Light Gets In, is a game changer in the series and a culmination of the past eight books.

We find Gamache both personally and professionally alone. Police politics have stripped his unit of many of the top members and his nemesis, Chief Superintendent Francoer, is trying to out him. As a favor, and maybe for a bit of relief, he goes back to Twin Pines to help bookseller Myrna Landers find a missing friend.

The search leads to a dark web of political and family history. Much of it involves a set of quintuplets who were famous in Quebec during the Fifties and Sixties. It also leads to a series of cover ups that tie into Gamache’s troubles in the Surete.

Both plots dovetail elegantly. There is one of those classic but rare moments where you’ll gasp at a major reveal. So much of this has to do with Penny’s sense of craft and understanding of character, particularly of her protagonist. She give echoes of Still Life that reverberate through the book.

How The Light Gets In is an important book in a series that shows a master storyteller’s sense of balance. Gamache’s simple virtues and professionalism cut through the complexity of the plot. It’s a darker book that deals with the corruption of institution, yet shows the hope that the individual provides. While it continues many things from this series, it poses further questions for and about the inspector.

Louise Penny will be here at BookPeople Tuesday, September 3rd at 7PM to speak about & sign How The Light Gets In. The talk is free and open to the public. If you’d like a signed copy of the book, you can order one over on the BookPeople website