Saturday, September 12, 2009
Louise Penny has done it again. This latest story of a murder investigation set in the village of Three Pines outside of Quebec continues our acquaintance with the inhabitants of these small town, and with the crack homicide investigating team of the Surete Quebec, led by the urbane Chief Inspector Gamache. New characters are added, and old ones we've met in previous books in this series come under suspicion when an old man is found dead in the village bistro. No one will admit to knowing who he was or how he came to be there. Penny's stories are not the run of the mill mysteries. They include elements of fantasy, psychology, history, art, poetry, and politics. Like previous ones in this series, this one is incredibly plotted, with several suspects, and a richly developed cast of characters (including the resident lunatic poet who dresses her pet duck in different outfits everyday). Gamache and his team must not only identify the deceased, but determine the motivation that led to his murder. The quest takes him from Quebec all the way to the northernmost islands off British Columbia. Thru that trek, we are treated to the history of early inhabitants of the island. This is one of her best, and there's no way to explain the plot without doing spoilers. If you enjoyed her earlier Gamache mysteries, you won't be disappointed in this one. If you've not read Penny before, starting here is as good as it gets.