Thursday, January 19, 2012


Pages: 371
Date: 18/01/2012
Grade: 5+
Details: no. 6 Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

This is a book of three stories.
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is on leave in Quebec City where he gets drawn into a murder in the library where he is conducting historical research. It soon becomes clear that in order to solve the present day mystery he has to look at the mysteries surrounding the founding of Quebec and Canada. In a place where the tension between the English and French populations has lead to violence in the past, the present still holds some of that tension.
Jean-Guy Beauvoir, also on leave, finds himself in Three Pines, taking another look at the murder of the Hermit and the possibility that the wrong man may have been convicted and sentenced for that crime.
And finally there is the story behind that reason that both Gamache and Beauvoir are on leave trying to recover from both physical and psychological wounds that run very deep.
Working separate cases in different locations both Gamache and Beauvoir have to try and concentrate on the present while the recent past is constantly intruding. And while Gamache has to find a way of living with the decisions he made and the responsibility he feels for what happened as a result of them, Beauvoir has to investigate in a place he doesn’t like, using methods he doesn’t approve of or believe in.

This was a fascinating story and about so much more then the mysteries the characters investigate. Those mysteries, while fascinating, well plotted and credibly resolved take a back-seat to the personal challenges Gamanche and Beauvoir have to face.
This is a story about going on living despite being surrounded by death, about finding the will to go on when curling up in a ball and retreating from the world seems a much better and easier solution.
The story is as level-headed and sedate as is its main character. Yet there is a constant underlying urgency to get to the answer, an urgency that keeps the reader turning the pages while the thoroughness of the investigation makes the reader slow down to make sure he catches every word and nuance. And, to top it all off, the beauty of the language and images in this book makes the reader want to linger, close their eyes for a minute to picture it clearly before rushing back to read the rest of the story.

Louise Penny writes excelent books. They’re good mysteries, they’re well written novels and they’re subtle page-turners. Her characters feel like friends after six books, people I know, like and would love to meet.
Penny’s novels are always a pleasure and a treat to read.

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