A Unique Way to Catch a Murderer

“… Gamache knew it was the only way he could find a murderer. He listened to people, took notes, gathered evidence, like all his colleagues. But he did one more thing.

He gathered feelings. He collected emotions. Because murder was deeply human. It wasn’t about what people did. No, it was about how they felt, because that’s where it all started. Some feeling that had once been human and natural had twisted. Become grotesque. Had turned sour and corrosive until its very container had been eaten away. Until the human barely existed.

It took years for an emotion to reach that stage. Years of careful nurturing, protecting, justifying, tending and finally burying it. Alive.

Then one day it clawed its way out, something terrible.

Something that had only one goal. To take a life.

Armand Gamache found murderers by following the trail of rancid emotions.”

(Louise Penny, The Cruellest Month, p. 97 — Her debut novel)

Louise Penny is  one of the few writers I don’t skim. Her writing  makes me think, sends chills up my spine  and holds my imagination captive. It’s commercial fiction, but she is one of those writers whose prose is so rich with imagery and emotion that it blurs the divide.  I  savor her distinct style and imaginative storytelling. For a reader, discovering Louise Penny for the first time  is like discovering water in a desert.

I like this quote because the idea that you can catch a murderer by collecting feelings intrigues me. Following the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, fictional  detectives usually focus on evidence and deductive reasoning. But Penny’s, Chief Inspector Gamache from the famed Surete digs  deeper. He looks inside our heart…into our very soul and picks it apart.

Need I mention she opens with a seance and  a haunted house? She holds the reader with her skilled pen. “Her deceptively simple style masks the complex pattern of a well-devised plot” (New York Times)

CI Gamache intrigues me, and Penny makes me want to deepen aspects of my mystery writing. That’s what I’m thinking about today.

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

6 thoughts on “A Unique Way to Catch a Murderer”

    1. Stacy
      Penny is distinct, and for me a bit addictive. I hope you like her.
      Thanks for coming by and commenting.
      Best Wishes


  1. Louse sounds like someone I should read to learn about flowing prose. The passage above is beautiful. Thanks for the FYI, Jo-Ann.


    1. Marsha
      LOL I sooo understand. Thanks so much for stopping by (even when you’re tired) and sharing.
      Louise Penny is a different read and I like her.
      Happy Writing


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