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A great reckoning

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2016
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James, P. D. — Both Penny and James write police procedural mysteries that are character driven and explore the psychological affects of crime on individuals and the moral ambiguity in people. Their stories create a strong sense of place, but the mystery is revealed slowly. -- Merle Jacob
Leon, Donna — The mysteries of Louise Penny and Donna Leon have strong secondary characters who allow the protagonist to become fully human - more than a stock detective. Both series bring their location to life, enhancing the plot through a rich setting. -- Rebecca Sigmon
Bowen, Gail, 1942- — Canadian mystery authors Louise Penny and Gail Bowen offer a strong sense of place (in Quebec and Saskatchewan, respectively) and feature interesting secondary characters, intellectual puzzles, and social issues alongside the crime. Penny's police detectives have well-rounded personalities, with lives as interesting as that of Bowen's Joanne Kilbourn, a university professor. -- Katherine Johnson
Christie, Agatha, 1890-1976 — Louise Penny offers contemporary versions of the classic detective novel popularized by Agatha Christie. If Penny's intelligent but intuitive detective and his skill at drawing information out of suspects appeals to you, you may want to try the novels of Agatha Christie, especially those starring Hercule Poirot. -- Shauna Griffin
Dexter, Colin — Dexter writes puzzle novels that are as intelligent as Penny's, filled with the same attention to detail, cultural depth, and atmosphere. -- Krista Biggs
Albert, Susan Wittig — Susan Wittig Albert's amateur detective China Bayles lives in a town in Texas (Pecan Springs) as appealing as Penny's Three Pines, Quebec, both populated with a variety of engaging people and shops that lure the reader again and again to visit. -- Maureen O'Connor
Deverell, William, 1937- — Although William Deverell's books focus on trials rather than on police investigations, both are Canadian authors who write intricately plotted, witty, and suspenseful character-driven mysteries featuring intelligent and eccentric protagonists, well-developed characterization, and vividly atmospheric depictions of rural Canada. -- Derek Keyser
Todd, Charles — Both of these authors share the ability to create a sense of place and time period from just a few details. Their languidly-paced mysteries focus on both the story and the complex characters that they create. -- Krista Biggs
Robinson, Peter, 1950- — The character of Alan Banks in Peter Robinson's Yorkshire mystery series is reminiscent of Louise Penny's Armand Gamache: they are both endowed with a thoughtful intelligence, a strong moral fiber, and a genuine concern for their staff. -- Maureen O'Connor
Strange, Marc — Marc Strange and Louise Penny write complex police procedurals set in small Canadian towns. These slow moving stories are character driven and feature a large cast of secondary characters. The personal and professional lives of the sleuths are explored in these absorbing stories with a strong sense of place. -- Merle Jacob
Crombie, Deborah — As they weave and then unravel their stories, both Crombie and Penny bring to the fore the psychological complexities of human behavior in individuals and in society at large, emphasizing personal relationships while constructing elaborate puzzle mysteries. -- Maureen O'Connor
Blunt, Giles — Giles Blunt and Louise Penny write complex police procedurals set in small Canadian towns. These character driven mysteries feature a strong male lead detective with an interesting secondary team. The plots build slowly as the personal lives and relationships of the police and the suspects are revealed. -- Merle Jacob

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