I was in the library the other day and saw Louise Penny’s book Kingdom of the Blind on display. Impulsively I picked it up. Many years ago I had read Louise’s first book Still Life, but hadn’t read any of the other dozen or so books she has written.
I LOVE Louise Penny. I follow her on Facebook because she is such an interesting person ( a former CBC journalist and recovering alcoholic who cared for her husband of twenty years when he developed dementia). She has interesting friends (like Bill and Hillary Clinton and Jean and Aline Chretien) and she travels to all kinds of interesting places (her latest monthly newsletter describes her July stay in London). Her writing success story is a novel in itself ( rejected by every publisher she tried, she was tussling over a scarf for sale in London with a woman who happened to be a crime fiction book agent- they introduced themselves and now Louise’s books are wildly popular all around the world.)
Trouble is I am just not a murder mystery fan. And it has nothing to do with not liking popular fiction. I am no literary fiction snob, in fact, I think it is silly to even distinguish between popular fiction and literary fiction. Somehow I just can’t get caught up in the plots of murder mysteries.
There are things I really liked about Kingdom of the Blind.
I LOVED Louise’s mouth-watering descriptions of food.
I LOVED her many cultural references to literature and art.
I LOVED her wide-variety of colorful characters.
I LOVED the idyllic setting of Three Pines. I wish it was a real place so I could visit.
But sorry murder mystery plots just don’t grab me. I’ve really tried to like murder mysteries. I was once in a book club where one of the women was a devoted fan of Lillian Jackson Braun who wrote mysteries in which two Siamese cats Koko and Yumyum help their owner solve murder cases. So I read lots of mysteries during the years our club met. But somehow I just couldn’t get caught up in the passion to find out who the murderer was. The endings in murder mysteries in particular often seem contrived and the characters seem to have to do way too much explaining so you can figure out WHODUNIT.
I really wanted to like Kingdom of the Blind . Many of my friends are avid Louise Penny fans and highly recommended the book. Louise is a good writer so I finished it to the end. But I just have to live with the fact that I am not a murder mystery fan. It’s not my genre. I will continue to follow Louise Penny on social media and read her newsletters because I find her a fascinating woman, but I probably won’t be reading any more of her books.