Travel Canada: Exploring Quebec’s Eastern Townships

Travel Canada: Exploring Quebec’s Eastern Townships

Following in the Footsteps of Louise Penny’s Inspiration!

Let’s talk crime. A crime mystery and murder series to be exact. Listen up… I’m giving you a gift… a gift for some fine summertime reading. Start taking notes. Now. Oh, and if you find yourself in North America and feel like a drive, this could be all the more entertaining.

Canadian author, Louise Penny, with her husband, Michael.

Canadian author, Louise Penny, with her husband, Michael.

Here’s the low down (best grab a cafe au lait and a croissant to set the stage) as I continue to channel Sam Spade for another line or two:

Louise Penny — This dame’s the author and she ain’t just a pretty skirt. After an 18-year career as a journalist and radio host with the Canada Broadcasting Corporation, Penny set about to fulfill her lifetime dream of writing a book. OK, so it took five years to realize her calling was murder mysteries à la Agatha Christie and Georges Simenon, but she’s been going strong ever since her debut, award-winning Still Life, was published in 2005. This New York Times bestselling author now awaits the release of her eighth book due out in August.

According to Penny, every book begins with a “lump in the throat”, describing strong emotions central to the themes in her books. Her whodunits are woven with a psychological-thriller twist on the traditional mystery. Penny states, “It is not so much about the blood; it’s about the marrow.” She constantly plays with duality, be it joy & pain or lightness & dark. This courageous author has lived it all and brings it to life in her series of books.

Travel Canada: Exploring Quebec's Eastern Townships

Travel Canada: Exploring Quebec’s Eastern Townships

Setting — Penny writes specifically of Quebec, Canada. She delivers a keen sense of place… simply by opening the pages of one of her books, a reader is transported to the bucolic setting of the Eastern Townships of Quebec (the base of most of her stories to date). Three Pines, the fictional, pretty, little village in the valley, is host to a cadre of compelling characters. Penny’s imagery of place is in essence a character, as well, in that it compels the reader to bring all the senses and read with one’s core to experience with heart and soul the sensual nature of place she so vividly brings to life.

Characters — Protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache exhibits a deep respect and a sincere interest in the inhabitants of Three Pines, a French-infused Brigadoon of sorts, replete with characters that continue to evolve through the series. Compassionate and canny, wise and shrewd, Gamache is but one of an endearing and believable core cast of characters.

Brome Lake Books

Brome Lake Books

Perspective — Louise Penny’s crime/murder mysteries are self-standing, but it makes sense to read them in order: Still Life; A Fatal Grace/Dead Cold; The Cruelest Month; A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone; The Brutal Telling; Bury Your Dead; A Trick of the Light; The Beautiful Mystery (August 28, 2012 release date). Penny writes to please herself. She is living and writing the dream! Her Three Pines setting is an amalgam of collective locales within the Eastern Townships. She writes from a serene place surrounded by poetry books and cookbooks. A reader can easily sense the influence of her quiet artist’s space. She may write for herself, but she pleases us all with what she calls her “love letters to the Eastern Townships”.

Serenity of Quebec's Eastern Townships

Serenity of Quebec’s Eastern Townships

Don’t hesitate to start your summer reading journey. The brilliance that is Louise Penny is just waiting to grace your ready hands as you nestle yourself into your Adirondack chair for a lazy summer afternoon read.

Stay at a lovely auberge in the Eastern Townships

Stay at a lovely auberge in the Eastern Townships

Exploring — Thinking about hitting the highway for an adventure? Grab your Rand McNally and seriously consider a drive-about in beautiful Quebec. Just south of Montreal lie the Eastern Townships with a plethora of artistic communities, lovely auberges and old-fashioned hospitality.

Enjoy the unique towns and villages in the Eastern Townships

Enjoy the unique towns and villages in the Eastern Townships

Discovering the Eastern Townships with a Louise Penny book or two in tow, would promise to make for an absolutely remarkable adventure. Follow in the footsteps of some of your favorite characters from Penny’s series as you trip about in these fertile stomping grounds of her beloved Chief Inspector Gamache.

Manoir Hovey

Manoir Hovey

Note: WAVE Journey enjoyed a fabulous 4-day, 3-night adventure in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in May 2012. A highlight was enjoying a marvelous meal with author, Louise Penny, and her husband, Michael, at Hovey Manor. We confess to having been won over by this articulate, engaging and gracious author, and have become avid fans of the Inspector Gamache murder mystery series.

Click here to view WAVEJourney’s photos from this trip.

If You Go:

For More Information about Quebec’s Eastern Townships visit their website.

For More Information about the province of Quebec visit their website.

About Louise Penny:

Getting There:

Where to Stay:

Where to Dine:

Places to Visit:

 

Note: Thanks to Tourism Quebec, Tourism Eastern Townships, and various other vendors for their assistance with this trip.

 

One Response to Travel Canada: Exploring Quebec’s Eastern Townships

  1. Great site. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you!

    Cisco Modules 09/22/2012 at 7:46 am

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