Gamache Goes Abroad – A Rule Against Murder

In this week’s installment of “Gamache Goes Abroad”, we visit the German edition of A Rule Against Murder. Titled Lange Schatten, the German title directly translates to Long Shadows. It’s interesting to note that while the fourth book in Louise’s series takes place in the summer, the German edition clearly highlights the red maple leaves commonly associated with the fall. 

In this book, Armand and Reine-Marie celebrate their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse (for more about the real place that inspired the manor, click here), and both the US and German covers reference this idyllic setting. While the German edition clearly shows a picturesque manor in the countryside, the US cover’s depiction of a set of cracked stone stairs might suggest a darker side of the estate. 

Which title do you think best represents the story? 

Why do you think the Germans chose to overlay fall-colored maple leaves when the book is set in the summer? 

62 replies on “Gamache Goes Abroad – A Rule Against Murder”

I like the German cover best. I think they put the maple leaves in to make it clear the action takes place in Canada.

As I Canadian living in Switzerland, it is clearly evident that Europeans associate Canada with the red Maple leaf. Almost all of the of Gamache series written in German have the red maple leaves in the upper corner of the cover.

I had to google it, and it appears that in Europe tree leaves turn yellow.
I agree, I think the red maple leaves are a nod to the Canadian setting.

I’ve the German cover as i live in Canada I would find it very appealing and draws us to the setting which is integral to this book

I do appreciate the “nod” to Canada with the German cover. However, I think the US cover let’s us know that the path is leading to something ominous!

I totally agree – the US cover gives the “ominous” sense that is underpinned in the story. The German cover is to “nice” for me, and the Maple Leaves – despite everyone saying they are a nod to Canada, make no sense to me at all – they don’t fit with the photo, or the “Long Shadows” title.

I live in the US and I definitely like US cover; reminds me of the type of setting you would see in Canada; also so much more mysterious. The mountains on the German cover don’t look Canadian at all; art work does not look at all like what one would expect on a mystery. We cruised the Danube in October and there are no red leaves, only yellow so it appears to be a nod to Canada. Hoping they find the perfect actors to play the characters in the upcoming videos and that they remain true to the books not the way the butchered Elizabeth George’s books in every way.

The German cover makes me think this is a travel book. The Canadian cover draws me into a mystery. Since I’m a fan of mysteries I’m going with the Canadian cover.

The red band at the spine is what gives it that feeling, even more so than image. Pulling back to reveal the whole image gives the lodge in the lower right a feeling of loneliness and isolation. But, still, the combination seems less ominous than the U.S. cover.

I like both covers. I also think the red maple leaves are there to signal the Canadian affiliation.

I like the German cover as I am drawn to read the book not only because it is a Louise Penny/ Gamache series but also the idyllic settting and the title are at odds and have piqued my curiosity. Whereas the US cover doesn’t seem to think that the title of the book is enough of a draw to read it and so must show something ominous.
Yes the maple leaves say “Canada”!

Manoir Bellechasse in my imagination does not look anything like the German cover, which is a picture of the Prince of Wales Hotel, high on the hilltop, overlooking the lake in Waterton National Park in Southern Alberta.

I am German and a HUGE FAN but read all of your books in English.
However, the German publisher Kampa set the whole Gamache Series in „Canadian Red“. Red border on the left and the red Maple leafs somewhere on the cover! (I just checked this as I don’t have any German editions).
I agree with many of you that this is just done to indicate its Canadian origin.
I like the German cover(s).

Hello Christina. I’m from Canada and I am learning German. I have ordered the first book of the series in German “Das Dorf in den roten Wäldern”. I confirm that all the covers are the same with red maple leaves. I’m looking forward to reading my first book in German even though I know my level is not good enough. Tschüss

I love the US cover, the colors and the steps. But I think the German cover more accurately shows the setting of the book. The leaves say Canada.

Even though I’m American I like the German cover best. To me it does express the setting best.

Having visited the Eastern Townships and the setting that inspired the story, the stone steps and flagstones are perfect.

I also think the leaves depict Canada. But the picture is so serene, there is no mysteriousness ( is that a word) ? About it. US cover for me.

I like the landscape of the German edition, IF it is illustrative of what’s in the story. The darker, American cover, is more mysterious.

The German cover depicts a scene in southern Alberta…a long way from my beloved Eastern Townships where I grew up. The familiar location is one of the many reasons I read Louise Penny’s mysteries and I can’t wait for her next one! I much prefer the American cover.
Thank you Louise for your creative talents.

The German cover is beautiful, and I like the title, but the U.S. cover is atmospheric. The stairs leading up to darkness is evocative of mystery and ominous. U.S. cover

I prefer the Canadian cover. I agree with the person who said the German cover looks like a travel book.

While I feel the Red Maple leaves are a beautiful nod to Fall and to Canada…the broken, mossy steps lead to a more sinister side of the idyllic nature and setting of the beautiful Manor. Really enjoyed the book

I like the German cover picture, as it appears much as I imagined the book’s setting.
Since the book is set during a hot summer, the only reason for the red maple leaves must refer to Canada; but I think they’re extraneous.

My vote goes to the US cover. The German cover does give one a sense of isolation, and I think each member of the Finney/Morrow family is isolated in his or her own way. That said, the US cover speaks to dark (hidden, buried) mysteries in a way the German cover does not. Also I don’t envision the Manior Bellechasse being on such a steep slope above the water.It would be hard to see the Manior from the dock and vice versa.

The German cover is too idyllic. There is a hint of mystery and darkness as you visually ascend the steps on the U.S. cover. I don’t think that the idea of it being set in Canada should be the focus of the artwork. I think the twists and turns of the mystery should be the focal point and that can only be achieved with a hint of some dark overtones.

I prefer the Canadian (US) cover. The German cover would not entice me at all. And I agree with others who said that the red maple leaves were a nod to Canada, since that appears on our flag.

At first glace I think the red maple leaf might be representative of Canada. Not relating to the fall at all.
The American cover is dark to be sure and lends itself to the story. Also having visited Quebec & Montreal 2 years ago I see the stairs very representative of the region.

I’d like the steps which seem to lead to something secretive. Does something jump out and get you or do you slip on the slate stone steps?

I love the darker US cover for the sense of mystery and foreboding it conveys. The brighter, pretty photo on the German cover with red maple leaves provides no indication of the intrigue within. The name Louise Penny on the cover would be the compelling feature as always! Irresistible!

I don’t get the “Long Shadows” title in the German cover and much prefer the American cover and title. That said I am currently re -reading “The Murder Stone” which seems to be the same story with Manoir Bellechasse and yet a different cover. This copy is published by a U.K. publishing house but printed and bound in Canada so I have no clue where the cover design originates. That said, my copy with an old and big white coloured house with large pillars overlooking a swampy looking lake suggests somewhere in the American south. None of the three covers does it for me but I sure love the story!

I think the US. cover is much more indicative of the tone of the book, but I would love to visit wherever that German picture was taken.

I appreciate the German cover, but wish it filled up the entire book like the other version. ☮️

My first read , the title was The Murder Stone. I like the US cover as those steps do lead to something ominous. At La Bellechase there are stairs and stone steps but no statue. I highly recommend a visit to North Hatley and perhaps La Bellechasse, a Chateau et Relais 5 ⭐️ Inn. Lovely people lovely food. Great atmosphere.

The German cover is attractive and may draw a new reader. Thanks to the person that explained the German covers all depict maple leaves and a reddish stripe. I think the American cover is true to the story. I prefer true over pretty. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to chat with other Three Pines fans.

I’m drawn in and filled with curiosity by the American title with ‘Murder’ in it as well as the air of mystery and intrigue posed by the cracked, worn steps leading to…..?? where exactly?! Someplace dark you dare not go….

I prefer the US cover. The steps lead up and into darkness, just as I hope the story will take me into the mystery. I don’t want the cover to indicate location to draw me into the book. I want anticipation.

I certainly feel that the US cover says “mystery”, the steps almost inviting you into the book.

I like the American version, as it gives a foreshadowing of what is to occur, and after all, it is a mystery.

I agree with many that the maple leaves are a symbol of Canadian identity (and beautiful, too). But the US cover is more in tune with the mystery and and suspense genre.

Just curious why books get re-named. “A Murder Stone” became “A Rule Against Murder” became “Long Shadows”? (German cover art is a nod to the Canadian Maple Leaf.) (And I as a southwestern US person have really enjoyed learning about northeastern Canada through this series.)

I Love the American photography. I always do. (And that was why I bought my first book at Powell’s Books in Portland) and your Excellent Writing kept me reading All the previous books. But I have to say, sometimes the American covers have to go around a bend and then a corner in order to reveal the novel.

I like the English-language cover, not because the German book’s mountains don’t look like the Appalachian chain but because it looks more mysterious. The book I bought from Amazon in France was different, with a person vaguely outlined farther along the path. The title was different, too: “The Murder Stone,” which is also quite mysterious. I like the German idea of “Long Shadows,” which is a recurrent theme in the Gamache books.

PS, by the word “it” in “because it looks more mysterious,” I meant the picture on the English-language cover

The Murder Stone is how I know the book, I am a Québécoise living in London UK, I believe both titles are apt. Sure made me understand Peter Morrow a bit better, what a ghastly family, especially his poisonous mother.♥️

I agree with everything set up the US cover somewhat ominous. The Manoir is old and elegant, and you can imagine these steps somewhere up to a side garden, and showing us that things are not always as they seem.

Thank you, Christina Ortmann, for explaining how all of the books in the series are published with the red border and maple leaves That would make me prefer the German version in this case

I am just picking up the book to read tonight. At first glance I like the US version – again the stark white and red coloring doesn’t make me think “mystery book” let’s go read. I like the old step, going or coming from somewhere with history, suspense – it makes me think that this should be interesting. Will write again once done with books in a day or so about my further thoughts and idea about the leaves.

I just finished the book and agree with my first thoughts – American cover. Each step represents closer to the murderer.

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