First Chapter – First Paragraph

It will be a while before I can write a book review post as I’m in the middle of reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers and it’s quite long – and complicated. So in the meantime here is a First Chapter – First Paragraph post.

First chapterEvery Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.

My choice this week is A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, a book I’ve borrowed from the library.


It begins:

Oh, no no no, thought Clare Morrow as she walked towards the closed doors.

She could see shadows, shapes, like wraiths moving back and forth, back and forth across the frosted glass. Appearing and disappearing. Distorted, but still moving.

Still the dead one lay moaning.

The words had been going through her head all day, appearing and disappearing. A poem, half remembered. Words floating to the surface, then going under. The body of the poem beyond her grasp.

The title of this one caught my eye on the library van’s shelves and reading the opening paragraphs I decided to borrow it – mainly because the poem Clare can’t quite remember is one of my favourites. It’s Not Waving, but Drowning by Stevie Smith and I wondered what relevance it has to this book. There will be a body, I expect.

What do you think? Would you carry on reading?

A Trick of the Light is the 7th in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series and I’m hoping it will stand well on its own as I haven’t read the first six books even though I’ve seen them recommended on other book blogs.

If you’ve read Louise Penny’s books do you think they do stand well on their own – or should they really be read in sequence? Am I missing something by beginning with book 7?

14 thoughts on “First Chapter – First Paragraph

  1. I got distracted by your comment that you’re reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. I soooooo wish I could read those books for the first time again. *love*


  2. What to say to your query – I am Louise Penny’s biggest fan. And, to me, her books are best experienced in sequence because of some pretty large story arcs. Each book has it’s own mystery, but there are “bigger” issues as well. That being said, I would never discourage anyone from reading a Penny book. If you like it, you might go back and begin with STILL LIFE. Being a series, you’d know that there would backstories for the characters. Good luck, Margaret. Oh, and Louise uses poetry a lot in her books, with permission. Some of it is attributed to one of her characters, Ruth Zardo, but is actually written by others – Margaret Atwood among them.


  3. I’ve read all of Louise Penny’s book and must say I’m a huge fan of hers. I agree with Kay, it’s best to read them in order. But, either way, I hope you like this one as much as I did.

    By the way, Louise Penny has won the Agatha Award for most of the books in this series. As a fellow Christe lover, I think you’ll find the basic principles of Agatha Christie in the Louise Penny books.


  4. Absolutely. Read them in order. “Still Life” (in America) is the first. There is wonderful character development and relationships in her novels, which makes them so interesting and delightful.


  5. I’m a huge Louise Penny fan too and agree that they are probably best enjoyed in sequence (although I haven’t been fortunate enough to find them all here, and it’s a bit expensive to order them all, so I haven’t done so myself). I also love that poem by Stevie Smith (am learning it by heart now, my aim is to learn at least one poem a month). And Gaudy Night is a delight as well. So you’ve covered pretty much all bases!


  6. Margaret – I really like Louise Penny’s series, so I’m very happy to see you’ve featured it here. This is a good ‘un, too! And I’m really keen to see what you think of Gaudy Night 🙂


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