Gamache Goes Abroad – A Fatal Grace

In this installment of “Gamache Goes Abroad”, we find our dear Inspector in Sweden, where our Scandavian publishing colleagues decided to call the book “Nådastöt”, which translates to “Death Blow”. 

One of the first things we noticed is the similarity in color palette between the two covers. Even before reading the plot description, it’s clear that this is a book that takes place in the cold Quebec winter. 

As for differences between the two covers, the US edition focuses on a landscape image (and major plot setting), whereas the Swedish edition depicts a snowy owl, which is said to symbolize sacrifice, family, clarity, and legacy — attributes which surely apply to the Three Pines canon. 

If the two books were side-by-side, which would you be more likely to pick up?

Beyond a frozen lake or a snowy owl, what other images represent winter in Three Pines to you?

Discussion on “Gamache Goes Abroad – A Fatal Grace

  1. Mabel Kim says:

    I like the Owl motif providing they have author’s name and English title. Like the dark blue background and majestic owl. Owls represent dark and mysterious to me. A background of three tall pines and a bench reminds me of the Village Of three pines…beautiful,majestic, foreboding in the winter, and wild in the other seasons, of another world from long ago.

  2. Susan Pace says:

    Visually I like them both. Perhaps the American one grabs the eye a little more with the addition of color at the top if the picture. What would get me to buy it even without any picture is your name featured prominently. I look for each new addition.

  3. Linda says:

    Looked up “Nådastöt” online, and found it translates to “coup de grâce.” As for the book covers, it’s the typeface I prefer in the English version, and the sparkly lights at the top. No comment on which version better represents the book’s contents.

    • Linda says:

      Just went a bit “deeper,” at least into the internet. Would be nice to know how a Swede understands the title. Looks as though “nåda” can mean “grace,” and “stöt” can mean “shock,” possibly as in “electric shock.” Or maybe “blow” as in “death blow.” Fascinating.

  4. Patricia Layden says:

    I love the owl, especially with the clarification of the translation as coup de grace. Reminds me of the poem by Mary Oliver “White Owl Flies Into and Out of the Field” which is also about death and grace.

  5. I like the Swedish cover a bit more, but the English title is far superior.

  6. Anneliese Scerri says:

    The owl made me choose the Swedish version.

  7. Susan Scappatura says:

    I prefer Swedish version. Very mysterious!

  8. Janet F says:

    Both good covers. I especially like the how clean the Norwegian cover is vs the fussy cover of the US cover. The owl is quite eerie and I really like what it stands for (thanks for the explanation, Louise) but the US pips it – snow ❄️ love it! Really prefer quotes etc on the back cover or inside and that would have made it (US version) a runaway winner. Colours good on both. Also, once you’re reading/have read the book US cover is more in tune with the storyline. Finally, prefer US title Fatal Grace – far more Gamache than Death Blow! To my mind anyway

  9. Linda Pearson says:

    I prefer the picture on the US cover however, again, they’ve spoiled the cover with too much text. It’s intrusive in my opinion. the image should draw the reader into the book, persuade him/her to read it. But all the words disturb the process for me, though because it’s a Penny book, of course I would read it despite my antipathy to the cover.

  10. Carol Hutchinson says:

    I’d be hard pressed to choose if I was in a rush to pick if they were both as presented and I could read both readily, but I think must go with the lake . I can only read English and the owl wouldn’t be right with a larger title.

  11. SUSAN HURD says:

    The US version is more intriguing, the owl is beautiful but sort of blatant, and doesn’t connect with the story.

  12. Denise says:

    As a true mystery/suspense/horror reader for the last forty years I have to say the cover is what sparked my interest in more than 75% of the books I read. And then the quick blurb. However my local librarians told me about Louise Penny so I am reading the series other wise it would have been chance me coming across one. I prefer the US version – more mystery in it – setting the scene. The symbol of an owl to me means teacher or a snow owl reminds me of animal videos growing up of them attacking rabbits in snowy fields. Too deep of a symbolism can get lost in a person’s quick glance in a used book store or library.

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