Postcards from Three Pines: A Trick of the Light

A Trick of the Light Postcard
“Have you ever heard of the term “chiaroscuro”? Michael told me about it after his art class yesterday. It means the play of light and dark. Am thinking of making that a theme in the book I’m about to start - hmmm.”

Merde,” shouted a man into the ear of the woman beside him, trying to raise his voice above the din of conversation. “This stuff is shit. Can you believe Clara Morrow got a solo show?”

The woman beside him shook her head and grimaced. She wore a flowing skirt and a tight T-shirt with scarves wrapped around her neck and shoulders. Her earrings were hoops and each of her fingers held rings. In another place and time she’d have been considered a gypsy. Here she was recognized for what she was. A mildly successful artist.

Beside her her husband, also an artist and dressed in cords and a worn jacket with a rakish scarf at the neck, turned back to the painting.


“Poor Clara,” agreed his wife. “The critics’ll savage her.”

Jean Guy Beauvoir, who was standing beside the two artists, his back to the painting, turned to glance at it. On the wall among a cluster of portraits was the largest piece. Three women, all very old, stood together in a group, laughing. They looked at each other, and touched each other, holding each other’s hands, or gripping an arm, tipping their heads together. What ever had made them laugh, it was to each other they turned. As they equally would if something terrible had happened. As they naturally would whatever happened.

More than friendship, more than joy, more than even love this painting ached of intimacy.

Jean Guy quickly turned his back on it. Unable to look. He scanned the room until he found her again.

“Look at them,” the man was saying, dissecting the portrait. “Not very attractive.”

Annie Gamache was across the crowded gallery, standing next to her husband, David. They were listening to an older man. David looked distracted, disinterested. But Annie’s eyes were bright. Taking it in. Fascinated.

Beauvoir felt a flash of jealousy, wanting her to look at him that way. Here, Beauvoir’s mind commanded. Look over here.

“And they’re laughing,” said the man behind Beauvoir, looking disapprovingly at Clara’s portrait of the three old women. “Not much nuance in that. Might as well paint clowns.”

The woman beside him snickered.

Across the room, Annie Gamache laid a hand on her husband’s arm, but he seemed oblivious.

Beauvoir put his hand on his own arm, gently. That’s what it would feel like.

Discussion on “Postcards from Three Pines: A Trick of the Light

  1. Patti says:

    I am filled with such warmth when these post cards arrive in my email. I have read all of the books in the series. Some several times. I also have many of the books on CD. I listen while I knit. I find that after multiple hearings I learn more about Gamache that I haven’t learned before. I find the warmth of the human spirit revealed lift my spirits during low times. VIVA GAMACHE.

  2. Kate says:

    I have trying to describe Louise Penny’s books to friends . Ceil McDonald states it perfectly . Literature that happens to have a detective as a character .

  3. Jacquie Redgate says:

    How didI miss this book! I thought I had read them all! I wish Three Pines was real – I would dearly love to live there. You have made all the characters so real – not perfect. That is why we take them so to heart – we have warts and so do they. I am also such a fan of the Shetland series – is it true that it is ending? May I also recommend the Charles Todd mystery series wit Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge. Spellbindingera of WWI. Laurie King also for the Mary Russell, Aherlock Holmes series and for wonderful Scandinavian writers, noticibly Jussie Adler Olsen and his Dept Q series. You are all so very talented – love Your series the best Louise and would love to meet you. Thanks so much for your wonderful work!

  4. Diane says:

    I wish that I could get into a car and drive to Three Pines .
    Then I could sit on that beach and ‘ live ‘ my way through each book again !
    Thanks for the wonderful views , Ms. Penny .

  5. Monica J says:

    Currently I am re-reading the series which I started a long time ago and have now just reached “A trick of the light” so how serendipitous (if that is a word) to receive this postcard.
    Upon re-reading, the depth of the character development and insight into humankind really jumps out; just mesmerizing. Merci Louise Penny.

  6. Debra Maranjian says:

    Just returned from a glorious weekend in the Townships with my daughter (also a 3 Pines fan). We stopped at La Rumeur Affamee boulangerie in Sutton and the General Store in North Hatley. Hovey Manor was even more wonderful than expected and I could see spending many hours in the Library, enjoying the warmth from the fireplace, gazing at Lake Massawippi and reading my beloved Louise Penny books. From there we went to the Abbey (so peaceful despite the crowds) and on to Knowlton. The Brome County Historical Society & Museum is delightful and filled with artifacts that give one a solid picture of the history of this area. Then on to Le Relais Restaurant and Bistro to pretend we would spot Gabri and Olivier and be welcomed by our friends Clara, Myrna and Ruth. And of course, the grand finale – Brome Lake Books! I am considering a yearly trip — the same way I reread my Gamache series every year — perhaps a different season each time. One can only dream.

  7. Sue Conro says:

    Each Louise Penny book opens a different part of my heart , and warms it with love and laughter . Someone please start a
    B & B in a small warm town near the Canadian -American border . Quaint, filled with special shops and friendly good hearted people! Fans would flock to visit the Three Pines Square!!

  8. Ann Elliott says:

    I enjoy reading all the comments, but not as much as the books of course. I am rereading the series and have just finished “The Murder Stone”. As someone said, you pick up so many items that you know what they are leading to in future books. November is coming! If possible visit Knowlton in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. It and they are very scenic & you might be lucky to meet the very gracious Louise Penny as my daughter & I did.

  9. pat cipolla says:

    In my tiny apartment, have saved all your books. After your last postcard, started re-reading Bury Your Dead. Some things ARE better the second time around.

  10. Lynn says:

    I have told soooo many people about these books. I hope they take me seriously and check them out. Louise Penny, you are fabulous! I just wish you could write as fast as I read! Thank you!

  11. Kathy says:

    Love your books! What a wonderful series. I bought Glass Houses but realized I need to start with Still Life after researching a bit. So glad I did. Love seeing the characters develop. I am currently reading A Trick of the Light. Savoring every one. Will see you in Ann Arbor & get your latest. Can’t wait.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *