Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Questions for GLASS HOUSES

  1. Most courtroom novels begin with a clear identification of the victim and the accused, but Louise Penny conceals that information for much of the book. What is the impact of this unexpected structure?
  2. Gamache’s relationships with multiple colleagues, from Beauvoir to Barry Zalmanowitz to the judge and others, take surprising turns in the course of the story. How do your views of those relationships change from beginning to end?
  3. The weather is almost a character in many of Louise Penny’s novels, and serves a particularly important function here in establishing time and place. What are some of the most striking scenes in which weather plays a significant role?
  4. With the robed figure dominating the green in Three Pines, “The villagers were pushed to the edge. Edgy.” How did the presence of that figure make you feel? By the end of the novel, how do you view the role of the cobrador del frac, both ancient, as conceived by Louise, and modern?
  5. Gamache, Beauvoir, and the Crown Prosecutor are obviously men, but there are also many powerful women in Glass Houses. Who are these women, and how do their perspectives resemble and/or stand out from those of the men?
  6. Chapter 3 tells us, “The officers in that room were the foundation upon which a whole new Sûreté du Québec was rising. Strong. Transparent. Answerable. Decent.” How does that passage and/or other elements in the story resonate with the title Glass Houses?
  7. What do we learn about Ruth in this book, and how does it influence your view of the profane old poet?
  8. When Armand, Clara, Myrna, and Reine-Marie discuss the Milgram experiment in Chapters 25 and 26, they wonder if they would have administered the final shock. What do you think they—or you—would have done in that situation?
  9. There are many points at which Louise misdirects the reader about characters and plot developments in this story. What were the most shocking twists for you?
  10. How do you see the significance of the lemon meringue pie (here and in earlier novels if you’ve read them)?
  11. Early in the book, Judge Corriveau recalls that Gamache paraphrased death-row nun Sister Prejean during another trial: “No man is as bad as the worst thing he’s done.” How might that apply to the characters in Glass Houses?
  12. How do you feel about what happens with Isabelle Lacoste?
  13. “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts,” says Gandhi. In contrast, Ruth argues, “It’s generally thought that a conscience is a good thing. But how many terrible things are done in the name of conscience? It’s a great excuse for appalling acts.” Where do you stand on the significance of conscience and its costs?
  14. In her Author’s Note, Louise says, “Some might argue that Three Pines itself isn’t real, and they’d be right, but limited in their view. The village does not exist, physically. But I think of it existing in ways that are far more important and powerful. Three Pines is a state of mind.” In what ways does Three Pines exist for you, both on the page and in real life?
Printable Version: Glass Houses Reading Group Guide [PDF]

Discussion on “Reading Group Guide

  1. Francis Provost says:

    Great books! But seeing I didn’t read them in order, I am having a great deal of trouble putting the sequence of Chief Inspector back story in order. Somewhere on the internet I think I saw a pamphlet detailing the sequence. But I’ll be damned if I can find it again. Do you know of such pamphlet and if so, can you direct me to its location.
    Fran Provost

    • Kate Herr says:

      Francis, Go on or the amazon kindle store, you can find the guide to the series and all of Louise’e other books in a book you can buy for .99 or borrow if you belong to Kindle unlimited.

    • Mary-Lou says:

      Still Life
      A Fatal Grace
      The Cruelest Month
      A Rule Against Murder
      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
      A Great Reckoning
      Glass Houses
      Kingdom of The Blind
      … and much later this year A Good Man

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  3. Mary-Lou says:

    Two things really struck me while reading Glass Houses; (1) the idea of praying for Lucifer. It has me thinking would this be easier to pray for a fallen angel that it would be for a neighbour one does not like, someone you are holding a grudge or anger against? How would the church react knowing we are praying for Lucifer? Ruth makes such a good point about why we should (2) the insert of a word, however small can change the meaning of the comment or question: when the Defense says to Armand “when you finally arrived”. It’s that word “finally” that could/would have an impact on the jury. It added question to why wasn’t his arrival immediate? Words are so powerful

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  5. Gail Daniels says:

    Which book has the factory raidin it?

  6. Gail Daniels says:

    Which book has the factory raid in it?

  7. Kathleen says:

    In which book is Isabelle LaCoste shot?

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