Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf ~ Featuring Louise Penny and Richard Wagamese 


By Lynn Willoughby

The Cruelest Month – Louise Penny
This is a Chief Inspector Gamache novel, one of a series.  They all take place in the same location with many of the same characters – more or less, so it all seems very familiar and friendly.  However, there is no doubt that this is a murder mystery.
The location is Three Pines, in Quebec, where the villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a seance.  Yes, I agree that is bizarre, but the plot thickens.  One of the party at the seance dies of fright!
These novels are not great literature, but they are well written, a good read, very descriptive and usually difficult to beat the author to the outcome.  I quickly loose interest in a mystery when I have the plot figured out a third of the way through the book, so these are a nice change of pace sometimes.
  • A Fatal Grace
  • A Rule Against Murder
……………..and many others
Medicine Walk – Richard Wagamese
I am a a big fan of Wagamese and have really liked whatever I have read.  I had the opportunity to hear him speak at Word Fest one year, so know that while his books are fiction, he has walked the walk.
In this novel, Frank has lived his sixteen years on a farm with “the old man”.  This is not his biological father, but is a father in every other sense of the word.  He has only had fleeting, disappointing and downright disgusting meetings with his own father.  But now Eldon is dying of liver failure and asks a huge favour of Frank.  Eldon asks Frank to take him to the mountains, help him die and bury him in the traditional Ojibway manner – sitting up and facing east.
It is a heartbreaking journey, but Eldon finally offers Frank a history.  From a dirt poor childhood of work and neglect, to the Korean war where his best friend Jimmy dies, Eldon tells his life story in dribs and drabs each evening around the fire.
The descriptions of sky, mountains, stars and rivers are beautiful, no matter that the story is only going to end one way.  Frank’s courage and sense of duty, his care of the horse and his father tell us what kind of man he is.  Will he get the answers he so desperately seeks?  The conclusion staggered me!
  • Indian Horse
  • Ragged Company
…………and more
Who Knew?
Hen of the Woods mushrooms usually grow at the base of hardwood trees.  It is a perennial and very difficult to spot.  It’s colour is somewhere between that of oak bark and that of fallen oak leaves.  It is not uncommon for a large Hen to weigh several kilos.

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