Do you like mystery novels set in the dead of winter? Louise Penny, author of How the Light Gets In, a Canadian thriller about a down-and-out detective tracing a vanished woman during the Christmas season, has a few chilly favorites. Today she visits the NOOK blog and shares three books guaranteed to make you shiver.



I was slightly handicapped when recommending it to friends because I kept calling it Smilla’s Sense of Smell – which is ridiculous.  But once beyond that, I did recommend it to them and now to you.  A terrific novel that is both quiet and thrilling.  It creeps up on us with a growing sense of unease.  Written by Danish novelist Peter Hoeg, it follows Smilla, of Eskimo/Greenland descent, but living now in Copenhagen.  An expert on the properties of ice, she’s drawn into the apparently accidental death of her young neighbor, when he fell from a window in the middle of winter.  Utterly amazing book with as many layers as a deep winter drift. 


In the Bleak Midwinter – by Julia Spencer-Fleming


I am a huge fan of her series, and this is where the fabulous Clare and Russ books began.  In the bleak midwinter, when newly ordained priest Clare Ferguson is hired by the conservative congregation of Millers Kill. Not given to breaking with tradition, the leaders of the church seem to almost immediately regret this sudden flight of unorthodoxy.  Their concern isn’t helped when a baby is found abandoned at the church, and the body of its mother is found soon after.  Clare turns to Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne.  And so begins a treasured and much loved crime novel partnership.  Julia makes potent use of the bitter cold and snow storms.  You’ll love it.


The Twelve Clues of Christmas -  by Rhys Bowen


Ahhh, Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the British throne, and reduced to picking up odd jobs such as genteel position of Lady’s companion.  Rhys’s wonderful Her Royal Spyness series is set in Victorian England and this hilarious addition finds Lady Georgiana playing hostess in the village of Tiddleton-under-Lovely, where Noel Coward is a houseguest over Christmas, as is Lady Georgiana’s mother.  And then a guest falls out of a tree and Georgiana swings into action.  It’s funny, oddly touching, romantic and you feel as though you’re there in the grand country house over the holidays.  Marvelous.

by JanetD00 on ‎09-04-2013 09:48 AM

Winter Study by Nevada Barr


A great book for mid-summer reading.

by AnnieMNH on ‎09-04-2013 11:37 AM

Thank you for these mystery suggestions from Louise Penny.  They have been added to my wish list.  I'm a huge fan of her Chief Inspector Gamache series.  Just started reading, How the Light Gets In.  It's wonderful!

by jburke on ‎09-04-2013 09:55 PM

I can think of two - Midwives (more a novel, but very engrossing) and of course Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.  

by LoveToReadJFE on ‎09-05-2013 10:59 AM

And Louise Perry's "How the Light Gets In" debuts at number one on the 15 September New York Times hardccover fiction bestseller list . . . .