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A Fatal Grace Summary, Characters, and The Ending Explained

Who says a perfect murder does not exist? Think again, or just read A Fatal Grace. Louise Penny has just proved that she can kill you in a crowd without getting noticed. No kidding!

Zarin, one of my colleagues, has recently covered the topic of Louise Penny books in order with summaries, and she can’t shut up about her work. So, when I saw A Fatal Grace on the bookshelf last week, I didn’t think twice before bringing it home.

A Fatal Grace Summary and Ending Explained

I know it is the second of the series, but who cares? Zarin has already mentioned that there is only little relevance between the series except for the star character (That would be Gamache).

What’s my take on the novel? Well, I started the book after dinner, and by the time I was done, it was almost 6 in the morning. So, you can only imagine how much I enjoyed the plot.

Frankly speaking, while reading, I could feel the joy and tension going on in the Three Pines. The ending was shocking but satisfying, too!

Want to taste the flavor of Louise Penny’s intricate plot and memorable characters? Give A Fatal Grace summary a quick read. I promise it will not disappoint you.

A Fatal Grace Summary for People in Hurry (No Spoilers!)

A Fatal Grace

CC de Poitiers has recently moved to Three Pines with her good-for-nothing husband and out-of-place daughter. Within her short stay, she has managed to piss everyone in the neighborhood.

On the Christmas Curling, CC de Poitiers was found dead. Soon, the investigator reveals that she was murdered (Someone intentionally electrocuted CC).

With a murder at hand and a suspect list that fits the entire plot, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache struggles to find the killer. He knocks door to door and questions everyone. CC was killed among the crowd, but there was no witness.

The secrets of CC and her philosophical clashes with everyone have put Gamache in deep water. For a moment, he thinks the entire Three Pines is behind this murder. Finally, all the dots connect, and Gamache reaches the killer, a name that has left everyone in shock.

A Deep Dive into A Fatal Grace Synopsis and Plot (Spoiler Alert)

Now that I know you are not in any hurry, I will take my time and share the plot at my own pace. Summarizing 38 chapters is a lot. So, why don’t I reshape the novel in a digestible size for you?

Hey! The World Revolves Around CC de Poitiers!

CC de Poitiers, a self-proclaimed author, designer, philosopher, and whatnot, has recently published her first book “Be Calm.” In the book, CC is preaching Li Bien, a new way of living.

She claims that Li Bien is her family’s secret recipe for life. Well, it sounds bogus to most people (Isn’t that obvious?).

Saul Petrov, a photographer and a temporary lover of CC, thinks the same. CC is married (to Richard) and has a daughter (Crie). She does not give a damn about her family, and sleeping with people for benefit is nothing new to her.

Crie, even with her extraordinary results, barely fits anywhere. All because of her overweight and out-of-proportion body. She is bullied at her school, and even her mother is ashamed of her.

No wonder Saul hates CC. But what else could he do other than sleep with this old hag? He is struggling to move forward with his art, and CC can be the golden egg. In his mind, Saul has killed CC thousands of times.

With the vision of ruling the market someday with her philosophy and product, CC settles down at Three Pine. It is a picturesque village in Quebec. Christmas comes with all the beauty in Three Pine. People welcome this festival with open hearts and celebrate the nights with warmth.

Even in this festive season, CC fails to make a place of her own in the town. Her neighbors already hate her because of her pretentious and rude behavior.

People of Three Pines & The Curling

Clara and Peter Morrow, both artists, have lived in Three Pines for quite some time now. Though Peter’s career has started to take off, no one is interested in Clara. It is so naive of her when she approaches CC for a career boost.

CC, being CC, insults Clara indirectly when they are at Ogilvy’s. Ruth, a friend of Clara, and CC have launched their books at that store. Heartbroken, Clara shares her emotions with Ruth and Myrna. Both console her by calling CC a bitch.

Apparently, everyone in Clara’s circle hates CC. Mother, the spiritual guru, can’t stand that woman. She refuses to accept Li Bien as a philosophy.

Kaye also despises this Li Bien character and wants to maintain a distance from her. Émilie, the closest friend of Mother and Kaye, shares the same feelings but pity CC for her attitude.

Even though Three Pines hates CC to the bones, they can’t just outcast this bitch. So, there she is, at the curling, with her family.

The midnight service begins, and everyone is stunned to hear a child sing with angelic purity.

Suddenly, CC starts yelling at the child, telling her to stop. It turns out it is CC’s daughter, Crie. Even though everyone feels sad for Crie at this point, no one can do anything really. I mean, who would argue with CC?

A Murder at The Curling!

The following day, Gamache receives a call. There has been a murder at Three Pines Christmas curling.

When Gamache rushes to the scene, the victim, our very own CC, is long dead. She was electrocuted in a crowded curling. But how?

It is snowing, and everyone is wearing rubber boots. Dying out of electrocution sounds odd! Soon, Gamache realizes that killing is possible only if the murderer can bring the odds together.

The criteria are simple. Our murderer has to ensure four things:

a. CC has to be standing on a watery surface. b. She has her gloves off. c. She has touched something that can cause electrocution, and d. Her boots are not insulated.

When inspecting the murder scene, the police discover strains of anti-freezing liquid, and surprisingly, CC’s boots have metal claws hanging out of them.

The coroner says that CC has niacin in her system. Anyone with a high dose of niacin will have hot flashes, and he/she will take her gloves quite frequently, no matter how cold it is.

With a little digging, Gamache gets the medium of electrocution, too. CC was sitting on a metal chair. Someone hooked a cable to the chair from the generator and killed CC.

Gamache has cracked the perfect murder. But the question is, who has gone this far to kill CC? Who has this much hate for her? And why did CC come to Three Pines? It is not that this village is famous or anything.

The Suspect List

CC poses a direct competition to Ruth. Both are writers, and they have launched their books together. Not to mention, Ruth has written too many poems on death, the afterlife, and revenge. It just proves her as a sadist.

The Suspect List

Richard is also on the list. It is clear that CC and he are not in the best relationship. CC was dominating, and any husband would divorce such a wife by now.

The inspectors investigate Saul, too. He was the photographer of CC and covered the entire curling. Saul’s film has all the photos of the event except for the time of the murder.

Mother has enough reasons to kill CC, too. She hates the bogus philosophy CC was preaching.

Clara has also made it to the suspect list, too. She was distraught when CC insulted her at the bookstore. Clara took it to heart and thought God was telling her to stop.

But among them, who has the real motive for killing CC?

Revealing The Face of The Killer

Soon, Gamache figures that Three Pine is home to CC, and her mother is from this town. This was the reason CC bought a home here. CC’s mother, El, was a friend of the Three Graces (Mother, Kaye, and Émilie).

They received spiritual training together, and El used to call her philosophy Li Bien.

This family secret still does not explain the murder of CC. A letter from Émilie makes everything clear as day to Gamache. Émilie says she, with Mother and Kaye, has killed CC to save Crie from such a monstrous mother. Gamache knew the Three Graces were lying.

They had missed a major detail from the murder scene in the letter. But thankfully, the letter has made it very obvious that Crie is the killer.

She hates her mother and attempts to hurt her out of self-defense. Crie is only 14, and CC treats her as nothing less than a trash can. She is a brilliant kid, but mentally disturbed for sure. Otherwise, who would have staged such a perfect murder that too, of her own mother?

A Fatal Grace Honest Review: I Loved This Murder Mystery But…

Unlike many other authors, Penny did not mindlessly choose a title for her book. Instead, A Fatal Grace title is inspired by Clara’s Three Grace painting.

Clara has portrayed Em, Kaye, and Mother as symbols of faith, hope, and charity. These three graces have taken the blame for murder to save the granddaughter of their old friend.

There is nothing to complain about Penny’s writing style and delivery. She had maintained a soothing tone from beginning to end. Yup, the novel might sound too poetic to some people. But come on! Those verses have enhanced the beauty of this novel and deepened the mystery.

Coming to the plot, Penny did an amazing job pulling off an almost perfect murder. Not only that. She was quick to build the story. Instead, Penny took it slow, giving readers enough time to absorb the storyline.

The opening line confirmed the murder of CC and gave a hint of the murderer. But as the plot unfolds, you will quickly realize there is no way you could have guessed the killer.

When Gamache suspected the entire village, I doubted Clara and Crie. However, as the investigation moved forward, I once thought maybe Mother killed CC out of jealousy.

The murder plot was truly mind-blowing. It was nearly impossible to stage this kill for an individual. But Crie managed to do it because of the Three Graces. I know what Crie did is a sign of mental illness, and I am not supporting her. But I feel pity for this kid.

Penny has portrayed the village Christmas scene in the books with such details that I could see myself at the curling. She has done an excellent job of showing the bonds, too. Friends get on each other’s throats, and neighbors gossip about the silliest things!

Isn’t this what we do on holidays? I have missed home and Christmas while reading this novel.

Well, it is too obvious that I like A Fatal Grace. But I feel some lackings. First, I wish Crie had more pages. She is ignored throughout the book, and suddenly, she is the killer. More of her trauma would make the ending more sympathetic and emotional.

Second, there were too many characters with too little involvement (Or is it just me who wants more from everyone?). Yes, the more people, the longer the suspect list and the more interesting the game.

But don’t you think there was no solid motive for any of the villagers to kill CC? Penny could have brought more skins to the murder scene, spicing the plot. No?

The Star Characters from A Fatal Grace Analyzed!

A Fatal Grace is the second book of the Gamache series. Hence, you might meet many characters from Still Life.

A Fatal Grace Characters Analyzed

The most hated, Agent Nichol, does a return on this book. She has been helpful to Gamache, but who knows for how long (I hope she is not in The Cruelest Month). Our lovable Agent, Robert Lemieux, might also go against Gamache for some reason.

Anyway, let’s talk about only those characters that mattered in A Fatal Grace.

Armand Gamache: The Star Chief Inspector

Gamache has shown his worth in The Still Life book, and his reputation persists with A Fatal Grace. At first glance, you will find nothing exceptional in Gamache. He is just like any other inspector; except he has an eye for detail and a brain that can beat computers (not literally).

You will see fans of Gamache in the book. But in reality, most of them are jealous of this supercop. They envy how Gamche can solve a crime without breaking a sweat.

But our Chief does not give a damn to anyone because he is good at two things, shutting people up and solving cases.

CC de Poitiers: The Victim (!)

How can a character have a little screen time and still get so much hate? If you think about it, CC got murdered very soon. But in those few pages, Penny made us loathe this character.

What is there to say about CC? She is nothing but a self-obnoxious bitch. CC’s world revolves around her, and she treats people like garbage.

For a moment, I can excuse her behavior towards Saul and Clara. But the way she approaches Crie has made me angry. No wonder I cheered on her murder.

The Three Graces

There is nothing much to say about Em, Kaye, and Mother. They shared a wonderful friendship. I believe they are the ones who have glued together Three Pines.

Mother is a little sensitive. But aren’t we all? I have found Kaye very cute because of her rebellious acts. Émilie was just another character for me in the novel. I felt no real connection to her.

The Three Graces have taught us the value of friendship indeed. They are ready to sacrifice everything to save one of their own. Do we call it heroic or foolish?

Should You Read A Fatal Grace Book?

Yes, please. Louise Penny’s A Fatal Grace is my first read, and I am already looking forward to reviewing more of her works. What if I tell you Penny has written this novel getting inspired by an actual incident? Will you be interested then?

Fatal Grace Louise Penny

See, to me, this novel is almost flawless. The complexity of the murder had made me think continuously, and there was no way I could have guessed the murder. And the best part was the mood Penny had set in the book! A murder mystery on Christmas.

What could be more pleasing than sipping hot chocolate and reading this novel in this snowy holiday season? Trust me, and grab this book! You will thank me later.

It is okay if you are not a reader but still want to enjoy this mystery! Go and binge-watch Three Pines. The series is based on the Gamache books, and you can experience the thrill on the screen! If you are looking for book suggestions, do visit our Homepage. Happy Holiday to you all!