Is it important to read the books in order?
Well, it's not essential. Each book is written
to be self-standing, and most newcomers to the
series have no difficulty picking up on issues
that are explored in more depth in past books.
Indeed, it's vital to me that readers know the
characters have pasts, and the particular book
they're reading is part of a continuum - a glimpse
at their lives at that moment. If anything from
the past is important, I'll explain it. Otherwise,
some issues are alluded to, but only as a means
of showing the characters have lives.
said that, there is a strong, and growing, character
development arc throughout the books. I think
of the books as having
two streams - one is the plot - the crime. The
other is the personal life of the characters.
The first will, for the most part, be
contained in a single book. The character development,
though, gets deeper and deeper across the series.
short answer? It's not necessary to read previous
books - but it is recommended.
What is the order of the books?
From the first to the most recent:
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
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN
THE LONG WAY HOME
THE NATURE OF THE BEAST
you can see, some books have different titles.
The first listed is for the US, the second is
for the UK and Commonwealth, including Canada.
Why do some books have different titles?
It's not ideal - that's for sure. The publishers
in the US and UK felt, in some cases, that the
title just wouldn't work for their
readers. It wasn't done for extra money, or to
annoy, or as any sort of scheme. It was done purely
because they felt their title was
better, for the book and the market. And titles,
whether I like it or not, are quite important
- especially for readers new to a series. It
can turn people off, or draw them to a book.
What is your book The Hangman?
The Hangman was written for a literacy campaign,
for emerging adult readers. It's a novella, and
while it features Gamache and is set in Three
Pines it is not really part of the series.
How do you decide on the cover for your books?
I wish I could take credit for them, but cover
design just isn't my forte. Happily, the publishers
have whole departments for that. When they come
up with one they like, they'll send it to me and
ask what I think. I first look to see how big
my name is, and whether it's correctly spelled.
The rest is gravy. Actually, I'm kidding. I know
how vital a great cover is - what an advantage
it is to having people pick up the book in the
store, especially people unfamiliar with the series.
A great cover can make the success of a book (clearly
the content must be good too) - and a poor cover
can terminally handicap a book. A poor cover can
be many things, from just cheap and derivative,
to misleading. Some covers are simply there to
grab attention, but have nothing to do with the
book, or even the tone of the book. That is never
a good direction to take. But I'll stop going
on and on about something I knew very little about,
and hand it over to David Rotstein. He's the Art
Director at my US publisher - Minotaur Books. Here's
how he came up with the cover for THE BEAUTIFUL
In some of the books, Chief Inspector Gamache
tells new agents the four sayings that can lead
to wisdom - four sentences his own mentor taught
him. What are they?
I was wrong
I don't know
I need help
Are the books Being and Loss referenced in
your first novel available in English? I have
not been able to locate them and would like further
information about obtaining them if available?
Those are books I made up - but they're inspired
by the book, Becoming Human by Jean Vanier.
Is Bean a boy or a girl? (A
RULE AGAINST MURDER / THE MURDER STONE)
I left it intentionally without an answer - leaving
it up to you to decide. And underscoring that
the most important question, and one the Morrows
fail to ask is: Is Bean happy?.
Which book mentions Gamache's wedding prayer?
It's in Bury Your Dead.
Does Three Pines exist? Where can I find it?
Sorry to have to tell you that the village
only exists on the page, and in your imagination.
But it is inspired by the communities I know in
Quebec's Eastern Townships. Knowlton, Sutton,
North Hatley, Georgeville - to name a few.
What does FINE stand for?
It's the title of Ruth's latest slim volume of poetry. I'm FINE and it stands for Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Egotistical.
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Do you have bookclub questions for the Armand
have some discussion questions that you might
find helpful. Just click the book titles below
to download them.
The Nature of the Beast
The Long Way Home
How The Light Gets In
Of The Light
Against Murder / The Murder Stone
Fatal Grace / Dead Cold