“I am overjoyed and overwhelmed. And humbled”, says Louise Penny, former Westmount resident and award winning author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series of mystery novels. Louise will be installed into the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour, on February 17 in Ottawa.
The award is the result of a conspiracy nomination by her friend Shelagh Rogers, of the CBC and the Chancellor of the University of Victoria and herself an Order of Canada winner, and her now late husband Michael Whitehead. A great beginning for a new year that follows a 2016 that was …well… bittersweet.
On one hand, the newest and twelfth volume in the series, A Great Reckoning, was released on August 30 and was quickly a number one hit on the New York Times bestseller list and number one on the Canadian Globe and Mail bestseller list, making it the top book in North America. It is also number one on ebooks and audio. Publishers Weekly in the United States named A Great Reckoning one of the best books of 2016 and the book was named one of the top 10 books of 2016 by Indigo Books, the largest bookseller in Canada.” I am overjoyed! Thank you, thank you – for being such champions of Gamache and the books!” she says.
But in the extreme opposite, the love of her life, husband Michael Whitehead, passed away on September 18, barely two weeks after the launch, after a courageous battle against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Louise distinguishes Michael, Professor Emeritus at McGill University, former head of hematology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and senior investigator into childhood cancer for the International Pediatric Oncology Group, as the inspiration for the fictional Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec
Congratulations Louise. Well earned, well deserved and much enjoyed.