by Louise Penny
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Fiction
When a mysterious figure appears on the village green on a cold November day in Three Pines, Armand Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, knows something is seriously wrong. Yet he does nothing. Legally, what can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.
From the moment its shadow falls over Three Pines, Gamache suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. When it suddenly vanishes and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.
In the early days of the investigation into the murder, and months later, as the trial for the accused begins in a Montreal courtroom on a steamy day in July, the Chief Superintendent continues to struggle with actions he’s set in motion, from which there is no going back. “This case began in a higher court,” he tells the judge, “and it’s going to end there.”
And regardless of the trial’s outcome, he must face his own conscience.
In her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.
As always, I must warn you that this post may contain spoilers. I don't find that I have much of a filter when it comes to these things.
Honestly, I don't think I will ever not like a Louise Penny book. I'm only sorry I didn't read this one sooner, and that when I did start reading it, I didn't give it the attention it deserved. I adore the world that Louise Penny has created in these books. Not just Three Pines, and not just because it's set in the region where I live... I love the people as if they were my own friends and neighbours, and I love the atmosphere, and I love the attention she gives to food.
So before I read it, I saw a ton of reviews that toted this novel as her "best one yet" and everyone saying it was their favourite... I won't say that, but I will say that it took on a slightly different feel, and I liked it. It made me cry, and that's usually a sign of a very good book. (Or maybe I was just an emotional wreck when I was reading it... Who knows?)
The story goes back and forth between the events leading up to a murder that took place in Three Pines in November, and the Montreal courtroom in July, where the case is being tried and Armand is giving his testimony.
Of course there is more to the story than the murder itself. In previous books, Louise dealt with corruption in the government; in this one she addresses drug cartels. In order to stop this one significant source of crime and death in Quebec, Gamache and his team must launch a huge top secret undercover operation which results in many more deaths, and crimes that they themselves must commit, for the greater good. The line between right and wrong is not always clear.
I mentioned it in my Goodreads review, but I'll say it again here, the last three chapters were really what got me. The major action scenes happen then (which were what made me cry), we finally discover who the murderer was, as well as the identity of the head of the drug cartel, and we are left in suspense to find out whether or not Armand Gamache will maintain his title as Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec!
My Goodreads rating: